Ball vs. Bawl and Balling vs. Bawling – Difference & Meaning

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

Some words and terms sound the same but have different meanings and spellings. These words, such as ball vs. bawl, are called homophones, and I see them get mixed up all the time.

Is it bawling or balling? What is the difference between these two words? Let’s break down the definitions of ball and bawl and how to use these homophones in a sentence.

httpsgrammarist.comhomophonesball vs bawl

What Does Ball Mean?

The definition of ball is a spherical object used in different games. This noun can refer to a golf ball, basketball, soccer ball, or even a steel ball. It can also be capitalized and used as a sir name, like Robert Stawell Ball.

Another meaning of ball is a social gathering dance. Cinderella and her stepsisters, for instance, were invited to a ball.

What Does Bawl Mean?

Bawl is a homophone for ball, which means they have the same sounds but different spellings and meanings. As a noun, it means a loud noise. As a verb, bawl means to shout or scream loudly. Others use this verb to mean to cry loudly.

Is It Ball or Bawl My Eyes Out?

The correct expression is to bawl one’s eyes out. This idiom means to cry loudly for a long time.

Ball in a Sentence

Here are some examples of how to properly use the word ball in a sentence.

  • Keep your eye on the cricket ball.
  • My grandpa attached a tennis ball to the end of his cane.
  • A formal dance is also called a ball, according to my mother. 
  • Don’t forget the beach ball when we leave this afternoon!
  • I pulled a huge ball of wax from my ear this morning. 

The Al Rihla is the official match ball for the FIFA World Cup 2022 while the Al Hilm is the official ball for the final in Qatar. Know every ball used in FIFA World Cups since 1930. (Olympics)

“Finally got to touch the ball. Feel like I hadn’t played in so long,” Ball said. “The shot’s not going anywhere, so now it’s just about getting the legs right.” (NBC Sports)

Bawl in a Sentence

Here are some examples of using the word bawl in a sentence.

  • The terrifying shout was a bawl I’d never heard before.
  • My cat let out a loud bawl when I stepped on its tail.
  • When she received the news of her father’s horrific passing, she let out a terrifying bawl and fell to the floor.

While our movies have introduced a bunch of male characters, who made us bawl like a toddler, it has also blessed us with several women characters who made a warm space in our hearts. (Scoop Whoop)

Someone always falls asleep during the sermon. Babies bawl and a toddler finds their way to the altar to inspect the crib. People who never usually sing perform Silent Night with emotion. (Image)

Balling vs. Bawling

The difference is simple; balling is a verb that means to make a fist or crumple a piece of paper to form a rounded shape. Bawling is the act of crying or screaming out loud. Here, I’ll show you what I mean with a few sentence examples.

  • Janine has been bawling her eyes out in the bathroom for over an hour. 
  • I was balling my hands into fists with every aggravating word he spoke. 

Ball vs. Bawl Summary

Using ball instead of bawl or vice versa is a common mistake among English writers. But I hope this guide clarifies your confusion with bawl vs. ball and balling vs. bawling. Remember:

  • Bawl with a W means to cry or scream loudly.
  • Ball with two Ls means a round object or a gala event.

What other homophones confuse you?