on the ball

on the ball


  • knowledgeable and competent
  • alert, in command of senses, attentive
  • understands the situation well
  • quick to understand and react to a situation


  1. He was right on the ball regarding his assessment of the situation.
  2. I couldn’t sleep well last night, so am not on the ball today.
  3. When his opponent tried to sneak in a pass, the defender was right on the ball and stopped it well.
  4. This mess wouldn’t have happened had you been on the ball.
  5. “Are you alright? You don’t seem on the ball today.”
  6. This article about the current problems of the nation is right on the ball.
  7. He has been sick all week and wasn’t on the ball when I met him.
  8. He has done a great job. He was really on the ball.

This phrase originated in sports, specifically in ball games where the players were asked to keep their “eyes on the ball”. The current usage of the phrase began in the 1900s.

O 5 Thoughts

5 Thoughts

I have an Example: I wasn’t on the ball because the night was loud.

- Jessica February 23, 2021

The term, On the ball” actually came from the Ball Watch Company. Ball made watches for train conductor’s and they were and still are today very precise tool watches. Next time you hear someone say, “on the ball” now ya know it means to be precise and on point as with the precision of timing and fine tuned instruments.

- Jeremy Kreaglewon Wilson November 23, 2020

Me sirvió para mi dictado

- Emqnuel August 23, 2018

That is good for schools

- Jony March 12, 2018

When submitting an idiom what is a captcha code?

- Tiffany Ma February 22, 2018

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loose cannon

Meaning: somebody whose activities are uncommon and out of control

Example: He was a loose cannon and could not be risked in front of the press. Read on


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