Drop the ball

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The idiom to drop the ball came into use in the mid-1900s. An idiom is a figure of speech that is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. We will examine the definition of the expression drop the ball, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

To drop the ball means to make an error, usually involving a missed opportunity through carelessness or insufficient attention. When someone drops the ball, it often involves letting others down. The expression drop the ball came into use in the 1940s-1950s, and is related to a sport that involves the carrying of a ball. However, which sport is unknown. Related terms are drops the ball, dropped the ball, dropping the ball.


Agriculture Minister Michael Creed has urged the Irish meat industry “not to drop the ball” if it wants to maintain a good trade relationship with China. (The Independent)

If CyberConnect2 really did drop the ball when it came to Square Enix’s expectations, and the company now has to rebuild all of those mistakes, that might explain the remake’s absence this year. (Newsweek)

“Somebody dropped the ball, but I just thank God that I’m out of here,” said the married father of one. (The Miami Herald)

“After two years of discovery and an extensive investigation, I can say unequivocally that everybody in the situation dropped the ball a million times,” said Lyndsay Markley, the attorney for the 19 plaintiffs. (The Chicago Sun Times)

“When the local government drops the ball on something they should be doing, the communities have to pick up the slack.” (The Minneapolis Star Tribune)

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