Ball of Fortune (A). One tossed, like a ball, from pillar to post; one who has experienced many vicissitudes of fortune.
"Brown had been from infancy a ball for fortune to spurn at." - Sir Walter Scott: Guy Mannering , chap. xxi.The ball is with you. It is your turn now.
To have the ball at your feet. To have a thing in one's power. A metaphor from foot-ball.
"We have the ball at our feet; and, if the government will allow it ... we can now crush out the rebellion." - Lord Auckland.To keep the ball a-rolling. To continue without intermission. To keep the fun alive; to keep the matter going. A metaphor from the game of bandy, or la jeu de la cross.
"It is Russia that keeps the ball rolling [the Servian and Bulgarian War, 1885, fomented and encouraged by Russian agents]." - Newspaper paragraph, 1885.To keep the ball up. Not to let conversation or fun flag; to keep the thing going. A metaphor taken from several games played with balls.
"I put in a word now and then to keep the ball up." - Bentham.To open the ball. To lead off the first dance at a ball. (Italian, ballaro, to dance.)
Balls The three golden balls. The emblem of St. Nicholas, who is said to have given three purses of gold to three virgin sisters to enable them to marry.
As the cognisance of the Medici family they probably represent three golden pills - a punning device on the name. Be this, however, as it may, it is from the Lombard family (the first great moneylenders in England) that the sign has been appropriated by pawnbrokers. (See Mugello for another account.)
Ballad means, strictly, a song to dance-music, or a song sung while dancing. (Italian, ballare, to dance, ballata, our ballad, ballet [q.v.]).
Ballads "Let me make the ballads, and who will may make the laws." Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun, in Scotland, wrote to the Marquis of Montrose, "I knew a very wise man of Sir Christopher Musgrave's sentiment. He believed, if a man were permitted to make all the ballads, he need not care who should make the laws" (1703).
Ballambangjan (The Straits of). A sailor's joke for a place where he may lay any wonderful adventure. These straits, he will tell us, are so narrow that a ship cannot pass through without jamming the tails of the monkeys which haunt the trees on each side of the strait; or any other rigmarole which his fancy may conjure up at the moment.
Ballast A man of no ballast. Not steady not to be depended on. Unsteady as a ship without ballast. A similar phrase is, "The man wants ballast."
Balle Prendre la balle au bond (French). Strike while the iron is hot; make hay while the sun shines. The allusion is to certain games at ball, which must be struck at the moment of the rebound.
Renvoyer la balle à quelqu'un (French) To pay one off in his own coin. Literally, to strike back the ball to the sender.
Ballendino (Don Antonio). Intended for Anthony Munday, the dramatist. (Ben Jonson, The Case Altered, a comedy.)
Ballet (pronounce bal-lay). A theatrical representation of some adventure or intrigue by pantomime and dancing. Baltazarini, director of music to Catherine de' Medici, was the inventor of modern ballets.
Balliol College Oxford, founded in 1263, by John de Baliol, Knight (father of Baliol, King of Scotland).
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