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when the ball drops

Discussion in 'English Only' started by greatbear, Oct 21, 2012.

  1. greatbear Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi & English
    I heard this phrase referring to New Year's Eve/New Year (31 Dec/1 Jan) transition: what's this "ball" that is supposed to drop? Can this expression be used out of New Year contexts as well (any other kind of deadline, etc.)?

    Example sentence: "[FONT=&quot]This secret deal is only valid for those receiving this email, and ends when the ball drops on New Year’s Eve."[/FONT]

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    Penang
    American English
    It's from Times Square in New York. From the Wikipedia article on New Year's Eve ...

    Since 1907, the "ball drop" in New York City's Times Square has been a major component of the New Year's Eve celebration, and it has been seen by nearly a million people every year. The 11,875-pound (5,386 kg), 12-foot (3.7 m) diameter Waterford crystal ball located on the roof of One Times Square begins descending its tower at 11:59 pm, and triggers fireworks at the stroke of midnight when it reaches the bottom. (More on that link.)

    I wouldn't use "ball drop" in any other context myself.
     
  3. perpend Senior Member

    American English
    I agree with Copyright. That's the context.

    You could say in foosball "when the ball drops on(to) the table ...".

    Literally, "a ball dropping" means that it's falling from a higher to a lower level, which occurs in NYC on New Year's Eve, and when you play foosball, and the ball drops on(to) the table.

    In baseball, "when the ball drops" from high to low could mean a certain type of pitch.

    I can think of more examples, but will leave it at that.
     
  4. greatbear Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi & English
    Thanks a lot, Copyright! Perpend, I of course understand what's a ball and how does it drop: it was its relation to New Year that was confusing me; thanks, anyway!
     

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