Ball, George Wildman, 1909-94, American lawyer and diplomat, b. Des Moines, Iowa. Admitted to the bar in 1934, he served (1942-44) as counsel in the Lend Lease Administration and the Foreign Economic Administration. An expert on economic foreign policy, Ball became (1961) Undersecretary of State for Economic Affairs and then served (1961-66) as Undersecretary of State. During that period he played a major role in formulating U.S. foreign aid and foreign trade policy and was the chief architect of the Trade Agreements Act of 1962. A persistent critic of U.S. military involvement in Vietnam, Ball left the State Department to become (1966-68) chairman of Lehman Brothers, a major investment banking firm. After briefly serving (1968) as U.S. representative to the United Nations, he returned to Lehman Brothers as a senior partner. Ball is the author of The Discipline of Power (1968).
Ball, John, d. 1381, English priest and social reformer. He was one of the instigators of the Peasant's Revolt of 1381 (see under Tyler, Wat). He was an itinerant for many years, acting independently of the influence of John Wyclif and advocating ecclesiastical poverty and social equality. Excommunicated in 1376, he was in prison at Maidstone when the rebels released him in 1381. After the dispersal of the rebels, Ball was captured at Coventry. He was taken to St. Albans, where he was hanged, drawn, and quartered. He is perhaps best remembered for giving currency to the couplet "When Adam delved and Eve span/Who was then the gentleman?" William Morris wrote one of his works on utopian socialism under the title The Dream of John Ball.
Ball, Lucille, 1911-89, American actress and producer, b. Celoron, N.Y. At first promoted by Hollywood as another glamorous movie star, Ball was often cast as a spunky sidekick in second features. In 1951, as one of the first movie stars to headline a television series, she scored a spectacular success with the comedy I Love Lucy, costarring her first husband, Desi Arnaz. For six seasons she was the most popular female star of the small screen, which was an ideal showcase for her comic energy, flair for slapstick, and gift for vocal mimicry. She went on to star in two subsequent but less successful sitcoms, the last of which ended in 1974. Ball also headed Desilu Productions (1962-67) and Lucille Ball Productions (1967-89). Her films include Stage Door (1937) and Mame (1974).

See biography by S. Kanfer, Ball of Fire (2003).

Ball, Thomas, 1819-1911, American sculptor, b. Charlestown, Mass.; son of a house and sign painter. Thomas Ball was also a singer of reputation, the first in the United States to sing the title role in Mendelssohn's Elijah. Although he lived many years in Florence, Ball's work remained distinctly American. He made portrait busts of many distinguished people. Among his works are the mounted figure of Washington in the Boston Public Gardens and a statue of Daniel Webster in Central Park, New York. His autobiography, My Three Score Years and Ten, appeared in 1890.
Balls are objects typically used in games. They are usually spherical but can be ovoid. In most games using balls, 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, marbles and juggling. Balls made from hard-wearing metal are used in engineering applications to provide frictionless bearings, known as ball bearings.

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 bouncing rubber balls (albeit 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.


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 in the phrase, "" The word came from the Middle English bal (inflected as ball-e, -es, in turn from Old Norse böllr (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.


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