Definition of play ball in US English:

play ball


  • 1informal Work willingly with others; cooperate.

    ‘if his lawyers won't play ball, there's nothing we can do’
    • ‘We imagine they won't be willing to play ball on this front.’
    • ‘And what I give him credit for is playing ball with congressional Republicans and having mildly conservative economic policies on trade, on taxes, on regulation.’
    • ‘But his officials believe the vice-chancellors are willing to play ball.’
    • ‘If the contractor is willing to play ball, then you can launch the project immediately.’
    • ‘I catch an early train to the Lake District in the morning, and the camera gets the full test, as long as the weather plays ball.’
    • ‘Yet profits are likely to suffer over time as additional pension contributions mount up, especially if the employees don't play ball.’
    • ‘It was clear that it had to be done under conditions of confidentiality or Craig wouldn't be willing to play ball.’
    • ‘Even Government departments are playing ball.’
    • ‘If the tourism board wants to refuse to play ball, then the government will intervene.’
    • ‘The council must know the hazards and risks but they are not playing ball.’
  • 2Baseball
    The umpire's command to begin or resume play.

    • ‘Shouts of "play ball" ringing from the home plate umpire are only about a month away at Amgen Field in Thousand Oaks.’
    • ‘The batter must take her position in the batter's box within 10 seconds after the umpire has declared, "Play Ball."’