the ball is in court

the ball is in court

Meaning

  • the initiative for taking action lies with somebody
  • to initiate an action now lies with the party that has the ball in their court
  • it refers to the person who is responsible to make the next move, whether in an activity, game, incident or event
  • the responsibility of taking action lying with someone

Example Sentences

  1. The entire family has stood by his decision to move to another country but the ball is in his court if he decides to change his mind at the last minute.
  2. I have already agreed to meet this guy to hear his proposal out but he did not show up in time, the ball is still in his court.
  3. She had initiated the conversation but the ball is now is his court if he wants to consider her proposal of marriage.
  4. His family and friends have requested him to apologize to his boss to save his job. The ball is in his court now.

Origin

The idea of this metaphorical “ball” comes from the world of sports such as badminton and tennis. It shows the ball being thrown around and the person who is occupying the court has the responsibility to throw it off to the other side. The phrase also subtly hints towards getting rid of the ball (the task or the next move) as early and as swiftly as possible in the same context.

T 5 Comments

5 Comments

AuthorEnglish Guru writes on 21st July 2018

Syed Athaulla, we wouldn’t say ‘the ball is in its court’ or ‘the ball is in court.’ There must be a person (or people) who can take responsibility for the ball (which of course is not a ball at all except in tennis :-)). It’s common to say, “the ball is in your court.”

AuthorAnonymous writes on 31st May 2018

So big big sentences my God I can’t write only.

AuthorSyed Athaulla writes on 24th March 2018

The idiom ‘the ball is in court’ can be used for all the three categories of the Third person, the ball is in his court, the ball is in court, the ball is in their court, the ball is in its court.

Am I correct? Can anybody explain?

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AuthorAsha writes on 9th January 2018

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