Drop the ball


      • Make a mistake or fail to complete a task or responsibility
        Used to express disappointment or frustration when someone fails to perform their duties properly or causes an error or oversight in a situation.

      • Lose one's focus or concentration
        Used to describe someone who is not paying attention or is easily distracted, leading to mistakes or missed opportunities.

      • Let others down or disappoint them
        Used to express regret or remorse for causing disappointment or frustration to others, whether intentionally or unintentionally.

    Examples of Drop the ball

    • The project manager failed to deliver the project on time, causing the team to miss the deadline. It's like we dropped the ball.

      The idiom "drop the ball" means to make a mistake or fail to follow through with a task or responsibility. In this example, the project manager's failure to deliver the project on time is compared to dropping a ball, implying that a crucial element was mishandled or neglected.

    • The athlete missed the critical shot, costing the team the game. We really dropped the ball this time.

      In this example, the team's loss is attributed to a missed shot, which is compared to dropping a ball. This idiom is used to express disappointment and regret over a missed opportunity or error in judgment.

    • The CEO promised to launch the new product by the end of the year, but now it's December and we still haven't seen any progress. It's like we're still holding the ball from last year's Super Bowl.

      The idiom "holding the ball" refers to delaying or postponing an action or decision. In this example, the CEO's failure to launch the new product is compared to holding onto the ball from the previous year's Super Bowl, implying that the product is being held back or delayed unnecessarily.

    • The politician made a lot of promises during the campaign, but now that he's in office, he's failing to deliver on his promises. It's like he dropped the ball on his campaign promises.

      In this example, the politician's failure to fulfill his campaign promises is compared to dropping a ball. This idiom is used to express frustration and disappointment over broken promises or failed commitments.

    • The team was on a roll, winning every game, but then they lost their last three matches. It's like we dropped the ball and let it roll away.

      The idiom "drop the ball" is used in this example to describe a sudden and unexpected loss or setback. The comparison to a ball rolling away implies that the team's winning streak was interrupted or lost due to a mistake or misstep.


    The idiom "drop the ball" is often used to describe a situation where someone makes a mistake or fails to fulfill their responsibilities. It can also be used to describe a loss of focus or concentration, leading to errors or missed opportunities. Additionally, it can convey a sense of disappointment or regret in letting others down.

    In all of its meanings, "drop the ball" carries a negative connotation and implies a sense of failure or disappointment. It is often used in a colloquial or informal setting, and can be used to express frustration or disappointment towards oneself or others.

    Origin of "Drop the ball"

    The origin of the idiom "drop the ball" is uncertain, but it is believed to have originated in sports, specifically in American football. In the early days of the sport, a player who made a mistake or failed to catch the ball was said to have "dropped the ball." This phrase was later adopted in other sports and eventually became a commonly used idiom in everyday language.

    It is also possible that the idiom originated from the game of juggling, where dropping a ball would result in a mistake or failure. The phrase may have then been used metaphorically to describe other situations where someone makes a mistake or fails to fulfill their duties.

    Regardless of its exact origin, "drop the ball" has become a widely used idiom in English and is often used in a figurative sense to describe various types of mistakes or failures.