A ball is a round object (usually spherical, but can sometimes be ovoid)with various uses. It is used in ball games, where the play of the game follows the state of the ball as it is hit, kicked or thrown by players. Balls can also be used for simpler activities, such as catch or juggling. Balls made from hard-wearing materials are used in engineering applications to provide very low friction bearings, known as ball bearings. Black-powder weapons use stone and metal balls as projectiles.
Although many types of balls are today made from rubber, this form was unknown outside the Americas until after the voyages of Columbus. The Spanish were the first Europeans to see the bouncing rubber balls (although solid and not inflated) which were employed most notably in the Mesoamerican ballgame. Balls used in various sports in other parts of the world prior to Columbus were made from other materials such as animal bladders or skins, stuffed with various materials.
As balls are one of the most familiar spherical objects to humans, the word "ball" may refer to or describe spherical or near-spherical objects.
"Ball" is used metaphorically sometimes to denote something spherical or spheroid, e.g., armadillos and human beings curl up into a ball, we make a ball with our fist.
The first known use of the word ball in English in the sense of a globular body that is played with was in 1205 in Laȝamon's Brut, or Chronicle of Britain in the phrase, "Summe heo driuen balles wide ȝeond Þa feldes." The word came from the Middle English bal (inflected as ball-e, -es, in turn from Old Norse böllr (pronounced [bɔlːr] ; compare Old Swedish baller, and Swedish boll) from Proto-Germanic ballu-z (whence probably Middle High German bal, ball-es, Middle Dutch bal), a cognate with Old High German ballo, pallo, Middle High German balle from Proto-Germanic *ballon (weak masculine), and Old High German ballâ, pallâ, Middle High German balle, Proto-Germanic *ballôn (weak feminine). No Old English representative of any of these is known. (The answering forms in Old English would have been beallu, -a, -e—compare bealluc, ballock.) If ball- was native in Germanic, it may have been a cognate with the Latin foll-is in sense of a "thing blown up or inflated." In the later Middle English spelling balle the word coincided graphically with the French balle "ball" and "bale" which has hence been erroneously assumed to be its source. French balle (but not boule) is assumed to be of Germanic origin, itself, however. In Ancient Greek the word πάλλα (palla) for "ball" is attested besides the word σφαίρα (sfaíra), sphere .
A ball, as the essential feature in many forms of gameplay requiring physical exertion, must date from the very earliest times. A rolling object appeals not only to a human baby, but to a kitten and a puppy. Some form of game with a ball is found portrayed on Egyptian monuments, and is played among aboriginal tribes at the present day. In Homer, Nausicaa was playing at ball with her maidens when Odysseus first saw her in the land of the Phaeacians (Od. vi. 100). And Halios and Laodamas performed before Alcinous and Odysseus with ball play, accompanied with dancing (Od. viii. 370). The most ancient balls in Eurasia have been discovered in Karasahr, China and are 3.000 years old. They were made of hair-filled leather.
Among the ancient Greeks, games with balls (σφαῖραι) were regarded as a useful subsidiary to the more violent athletic exercises, as a means of keeping the body supple, and rendering it graceful, but were generally left to boys and girls. Of regular rules for the playing of ball games, little trace remains, if there were any such. The names in Greek for various forms, which have come down to us in such works as the Ὀνομαστικόν of Julius Pollux, imply little or nothing of such; thus, ἀπόρραξις (aporraxis) only means the putting of the ball on the ground with the open hand, οὐρανία (ourania), the flinging of the ball in the air to be caught by two or more players; φαινίνδα (phaininda) would seem to be a game of catch played by two or more, where feinting is used as a test of quickness and skill. Pollux (i. x. 104) mentions a game called episkyros (ἐπίσκυρος), which has often been looked on as the origin of football. It seems to have been played by two sides, arranged in lines; how far there was any form of "goal" seems uncertain.It was impossible to produce a ball that was perfectly spherical; children usually made their own balls by inflating pig's bladders and heating them in the ashes of a fire to make them rounder, although Plato (fl. 420s BC – 340s BC) described "balls which have leather coverings in twelve pieces".
Among the Romans, ball games were looked upon as an adjunct to the bath, and were graduated to the age and health of the bathers, and usually a place (sphaeristerium) was set apart for them in the baths (thermae). There appear to have been three types or sizes of ball, the pila, or small ball, used in catching games, the paganica, a heavy ball stuffed with feathers, and the follis, a leather ball filled with air, the largest of the three. This was struck from player to player, who wore a kind of gauntlet on the arm. There was a game known as trigon, played by three players standing in the form of a triangle, and played with the follis, and also one known as harpastum, which seems to imply a "scrimmage" among several players for the ball. These games are known to us through the Romans, though the names are Greek.
The various modern games played with a ball or balls and subject to rules are treated under their various names, such as polo, cricket, football, etc.
Several sports use a ball in the shape of a prolate spheroid:
Bocce, sometimes anglicized as bocce ball, bocci or boccie, is a ball sport belonging to the boules family, closely related to British bowls and French pétanque, with a common ancestry from ancient games played in the Roman Empire. Developed into its present form in Italy, bocce is played around Europe and also in other areas with Italian immigrants, including Australia, North America, and South America, principally Argentina and Rio Grande do Sul. Initially played only by the Italian immigrants, the game has slowly become more popular with their descendants and more broadly.
The Germanic languages are a branch of the Indo-European language family spoken natively by a population of about 515 million people mainly in Europe, North America, Oceania and Southern Africa. The most widely spoken Germanic language, English, is also the world's most widely spoken language with an estimated 2 billion speakers. All Germanic languages are derived from Proto-Germanic, spoken in Iron Age Scandinavia.
Hockey is a sport in which two teams play against each other by trying to manoeuvre a ball or a puck into the opponent's goal using a hockey stick. There are many types of hockey such as bandy, field hockey, ice hockey and rink hockey.
Boules is a collective name for a wide range of games similar to bowls and bocce in which the objective is to throw or roll heavy balls as close as possible to a small target ball, called the jack in English.
A football is a ball inflated with air that is used to play one of the various sports known as football. In these games, with some exceptions, goals or points are scored only when the ball enters one of two designated goal-scoring areas; football games involve the two teams each trying to move the ball in opposite directions along the field of play.
Proto-Germanic is the reconstructed proto-language of the Germanic branch of the Indo-European languages.
A ball is a spherical round object with various uses.
La soule, later choule or sioule, is a traditional team sport that originated in Normandy and Picardy. The ball, called a soule, could be solid or hollow and made of either wood or leather. Leather balls would be filled with hay, bran, horse hair or moss. Sometimes the balls had woolen pompons.
In etymology, two or more words in the same language are called doublets or etymological twins or twinlings when they have different phonological forms but the same etymological root. Often, but not always, the words entered the language through different routes. Given that the kinship between words that have the same root and the same meaning is fairly obvious, the term is mostly used to characterize pairs of words that have diverged at least somewhat in meaning. For example, English pyre and fire are doublets with merely associated meanings despite both descending ultimately from the same Proto-Indo-European (PIE) word *péh₂ur.
Medieval football is a modern term used for a wide variety of the localised informal football games which were invented and played in Europe during the Middle Ages. Alternative names include folk football, mob football and Shrovetide football. These games may be regarded as the ancestors of modern codes of football, and by comparison with later forms of football, the medieval matches were chaotic and had few rules.
Sherrin is a brand of football used in Australian rules football and is the official ball of the Australian Football League, designed to its official specifications. It was the first ball designed specifically for the sport.
Harpastum, also known as harpustum, was a form of ball game played in the Roman Empire. The Romans also referred to it as the small ball game. The ball used was small and hard, probably about the size and solidity of a softball. The word harpastum is the latinisation of the Greek ἁρπαστόν (harpaston), the neuter of ἁρπαστός (harpastos), "carried away", from the verb ἁρπάζω (harpazo), "to seize, to snatch".
The English word god comes from the Old English god, which itself is derived from the Proto-Germanic *ǥuđán. Its cognates in other Germanic languages include guþ, gudis, guð, god, and got.
A football, soccer ball, football ball, or association footballball is the ball used in the sport of association football. The name of the ball varies according to whether the sport is called "football", "soccer", or "association football". The ball's spherical shape, as well as its size, weight, and material composition, are specified by Law 2 of the Laws of the Game maintained by the International Football Association Board. Additional, more stringent standards are specified by FIFA and subordinate governing bodies for the balls used in the competitions they sanction.
In archaeology, a stone ball or petrosphere is the name for any spherical man-made object of any size that is composed of stone. These mainly prehistoric artifacts may have been created or selected, but altered in some way to perform their specific function, including carving and painting.
Ground billiards is a modern term for a family of medieval European lawn games, the original names of which are mostly unknown, played with a long-handled mallet, wooden balls, a hoop, and an upright skittle or pin. The game, which at least three cue-sports historians call "the original game of billiards", developed into a variety of modern outdoor and indoor games and sports such as croquet, pool, snooker, and carom billiards. Its relationship to games played on larger fields, such as hockey, golf, and bat-and-ball games, is more speculative. As a broader classification, the term is sometimes applied to games dating back to classical antiquity that are attested via difficult-to-interpret ancient artworks and rare surviving gaming artifacts.
Football is a family of team sports that involve, to varying degrees, kicking a ball to score a goal. Unqualified, the word football normally means the form of football that is the most popular where the word is used. Sports commonly called football include association football ; gridiron football ; Australian rules football; rugby football ; and Gaelic football. These various forms of football share to varying extent common origins and are known as football codes.
Episkyros was an ancient Greek ball game. Highly teamwork oriented, the game was played between two teams of usually 12 to 14 players each, with one ball and the rules of the game which allowed using hands.
Balloon, baloun, balloon-ball or wind-ball was a game similar to the modern game of volleyball in which a leather ball would be batted by the fist or forearm to prevent it from touching the ground. The game was played in ancient Rome where it was known as follis— the Latin word for a leather bag. Such a ball made of leather was quite heavy and so protection might be used such as a leather gauntlet or wooden bracer.
In Canada and the United States, a football is a ball, roughly in the form of a prolate spheroid, used in the context of playing gridiron football. Footballs are often made of cow hide leather, as such a material is required in professional and collegiate football. Footballs used in recreation, and in organized youth leagues, may be made of rubber or plastic materials.