verb

[with object]
  • 1Squeeze or form (something) into a rounded shape.

    ‘Robert balled up his napkin and threw it on to his plate’
    • ‘Jackson shrugged, balling up the leftover scraps of his sandwich and stuffing them into his bag.’
    • ‘Jessie balled up a napkin and tossed it at Mitch.’
    • ‘A moment later, I catch the dishrag she'd balled up and thrown at me.’
    • ‘TJ balled up the card and tossed it into the waste basket.’
    • ‘Moisten the bread bit by bit, shredding and balling it until consistency is mushy yet firm.’
    • ‘Watts balled up the ticket, stuffed it between the officer's badge and chin and told him to ‘take care of it.’’
    • ‘‘Ash Stevens, I should have known,’ she muttered before balling up the paper and tossing it to the side.’
    • ‘‘I'm coming with you,’ she informed us, balling up her tie and shoving it roughly into her blazer pocket as she got nearer.’
    • ‘‘Let's get rid of this,’ Marcy said, and balled up the bloody rags and hurled them as far as she could.’
    • ‘Daisy fisted the front of my shirt for a moment, balling it in anger.’
    • ‘‘Yeah your mail,’ Sheldon said dryly as she balled up the paper in her hands and flung it at him.’
    • ‘I turn around and see Eric Chase laughing and balling up another piece of paper.’
    • ‘Kevin balled his shirt up and tossed it on the floor.’
    • ‘‘It worked,’ I said admiringly, balling the socks up again, and throwing them back to him.’
    • ‘She sighed heavily, while balling up the blue rubber glue stuff that stuck her poster to the wall.’
    • ‘‘You reminded me of Dieter,’ I choked, balling the pillow in my fists.’
    • ‘A whisper that had her, again, balling up the paper and setting it next to its brothers and sisters on the sill.’
    • ‘He grinned, balling the cloth napkin on the table and throwing it my way.’
    • ‘Unclasping the cloak, he caught it before it flew away and balled it untidily to tuck under his arm.’
    • ‘I snatched it between thumb and forefinger, balled it into a tight dot, threw it to the. floor.’
    • ‘Annabelle nodded, her hands balling her napkin in her lap.’
    1. 1.1 Clench (one's fist) tightly.
      ‘she balled her fist so that the nails dug into her palms’
      • ‘As they entered the dining room, everyone looked up to see who it was, and Claire looked at the floor, balling her hands into fists.’
      • ‘He balled his fists, squeezing them tightly in anger.’
      • ‘She walked out of the room and closed the door, balling her fists.’
      • ‘She balled her fist and gently tapped his forehead.’
      • ‘Steve balled his hands into fists and crossed his arms over his chest.’
      • ‘Her hands were sweating, but she balled them to contain her shivering.’
      • ‘Even though his arms were crossed I saw that his hands were balled into fists.’
      • ‘I screamed with rage, balling my fists and practically flying across the table.’
      • ‘Then I balled my fist and rammed it into his stomach.’
      • ‘Her hands were balled into fists and she slumped a little.’
      • ‘I met his angry gaze head on, balling my hands into fists.’
      • ‘I balled my fists at my sides, shouting, ‘Well, it's not like you would have cared!’’
      • ‘Her hands were balled into fists, and strands of golden hair fell in her eyes and around her face.’
      • ‘She quietly turned to look at the fountain, balling her fists at her sides.’
      • ‘He balled his hands into fists, gritting his teeth tightly.’
      • ‘She balled her hands into fists at her sides and clenched her teeth with rage.’
      • ‘He yawned and stretched his arms out, balling his hands into fists.’
      • ‘She threw her arms up in frustration, balling her hands into fists.’
      • ‘Alex winced with every dab and squeezed her eyes shut, balling her hands into tight fists.’
      • ‘The girl balled her tiny, fragile hands into fists, growling ferociously.’
    2. 1.2no object Form a round shape.
      ‘the fishing nets eventually ball up and sink’
      • ‘I shut my eyes and balled up, but felt nothing at all.’
      • ‘The flex between the plates allows for a better fit and helps prevent snow from balling up underneath (which will cork the points and cause you to slip).’
      • ‘Closer and closer, the lightning force that was balling up in between the two was slowly moving its way towards Maddy.’
      • ‘He ducked his head, balling up as the bike spun at a crazy angle and exploded by the forest; he impacted the men, crushing their necks and spines.’
      • ‘The man gave a scream of agony, balling up to clutch at his injury.’
      • ‘Tiny mussels balled around the oysters, keeping them small and making them unfit for market.’
    3. 1.3 Wrap the root ball of (a tree or shrub) to protect it during transportation.
      • ‘Harvesting of balled, live trees may begin after completion of growth in late August or early September if soil moisture conditions are favorable.’
      • ‘Nursery-bought trees will be either in containers or balled and burlapped.’
      • ‘For container or balled & burlapped trees, carefully push a shovel under the root-ball and pry it upward while lifting up on the lower trunk.’
      • ‘Spring is best for planting, but you can put balled and burlapped or container grown hollies in the ground in early spring or fall.’
      • ‘Some people buy live trees that are balled in burlap instead of a cut tree.’
      • ‘Plant balled and burlapped magnolias when they're dormant, or in late spring after growth has started.’
  • 2North American vulgar slang Have sexual intercourse with.

  • 3British no object (of a flower) fail to open properly, decaying in the half-open bud.