football, baseball etc.


Senior Member
Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
I read the following passage, and this made me wonder how common it is to just say 'a football' when referring to 'a football ball,' or 'a baseball' when referring to 'a baseball ball.' Is it common?
We threw a football around in my front yard. We each had the Tiparillos in our mouths --- mine lit, your unlit. We let Timmy play football with us. ('And You Know You Should Be Glad' by Bob Greene)
  • Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Very common; in fact, standard. It's not a "football ball;" it's a football. Ditto for a baseball or a basketball. I would find a reference to a "basketball ball" quite odd-sounding.

    In other cases, the ball is written as two words: tennis ball, golf ball, soccer ball, polo ball ... I think the determining factor is whether the "ball" part is included in the name of the sport. If it's not, "ball" is the basic noun and the name of the sport is used as an adjective to modify it.


    American English
    The only other sports (besides football, baseball, and basketball) that I can think of that are named for their balls are softball and volleyball. There are also ninepins and duckpins, where, I think, the thing you knock down is a ninepin or a duckpin; I'm sure it's not a "ninepin pin" or a "duckpin pin."

    It's not a standard sport, but there is also a trademarked hollow plastic ball with holes in it that doesn't go very far when hit with a bat. The company with the trademark calls it a "Wiffle Ball™," but there are references to the game of "whiffleball." In any case, the game has the same name as the sphere, and the word "ball" is not repeated in referring to the object that is batted, thrown, etc.


    Senior Member
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    Yes, come to think of it, it's football, baseball, basketball, volleyball etc. I was thinking of tennis ball, and that the name of sport and 'ball' are coupled. That made me falsely think football ball, baseball ball, volleyball ball etc. are the way.

    Again, yes, it's football, baseball, basketball etc. Thanks for your help.

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