Get the Ball Rolling – Idiom, Meaning and Origin

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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.

To get the ball rolling means to start an action or process to ensure that it continues or develops. For example, if you were organizing a community event, you might hold a kickoff meeting to get the ball rolling on planning and logistics. This idiom has sports origins, suggesting the start of a game or match when the ball is first put into play.

Idioms, such as get the ball rolling, are unique expressions in English where the words don’t directly translate to the overall meaning. They play a crucial role in adding depth and color to our conversations, allowing us to convey complex ideas or emotions in a relatable manner.

Dive deeper into this article to understand the nuances of this phrase and explore more examples of its use in everyday dialogue.

Get the Ball Rolling Meaning

Get the Ball Rolling – Idiom Meaning and Origin

Get the ball rolling is an idiom that means initiating an action, making the first move, or taking a starting step in a process or series of events. It’s the proverbial nudge that sets things into motion, ensuring that tasks, events, or processes commence.

I get the creative ball rolling when I sit down to write by doing a few quick writing exercises. This kickstarts my imagination and puts me in the right mindset to begin working on my book.

You might come across other versions of the phrase like set the ball rolling or start the ball rolling. They’re not as common, but they do hold the same meaning.

Get the Ball Rolling Origin and Etymology

Get the Ball Rolling Ngram
Get the ball rolling usage trend.

The phrase get the ball rolling originated in the 1800s and is rooted in sports that use balls. In most of these sports, a player or a referee would start the game by rolling a ball into the middle of the field. Now, we use it metaphorically to describe instances that need a little nudge to get started.

Get the Ball Rolling Synonyms

  • Start the ballgame
  • Kick things off
  • Set in motion
  • Jumpstart the process
  • Begin the endeavor

Examples of Get the Ball Rolling in a Sentence

Get the Ball Rolling – Idiom Meaning and Origin 1

  • Let’s get the ball rolling by finalizing the event date so we can send out invitations.
  • She always knows how to get the ball rolling in team meetings.
  • If we want a successful book launch, we need to get the ball rolling on marketing right now.
  • He got the ball rolling on the project, even before receiving official approval.
  • To speed things up with the renovation, I tore out my old kitchen this weekend to get the ball rolling.
  • “What steps have you taken to get the ball rolling on your application?” the counselor asked.
  • The company’s generous donation got the ball rolling for our annual charity drive.
  • She’s hoping her initial research will get the ball rolling for deeper study into the subject.
  • The introductory offer is just to get the ball rolling; the real deals come afterward.

Keep Rolling!

Get the ball rolling epitomizes the initial energy and enthusiasm needed to kickstart anything worthwhile. Its sporty undertones and the universal understanding of beginnings make it a common idiom used in conversations. Please have a browse of our other idiomatic guides right on our site!