to drop the ball

Idiom Definition

"to drop the ball"

to make a mistake or fail - often because of carelessness or inattention

Idiom Definition - drop the ball


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - drop the ball

It is Monday morning. Your term paper was due last Friday. You did not hand in your term paper. Your professor wants to see you in his office:

Professor:  Good morning.  I see that you did not hand in your term paper.

You:  I know, Professor.  I forgot.

Professor:  Is your term paper completed?

You:  Yes, sir.  I finished it last Wednesday.

Professor:   What happened?

You:   I became distracted by my friends because they wanted to go out and party on Friday night.

Professor:   Is that a valid excuse?

You:  No, sir.  I dropped the ball.

Professor:  Very well then.  Give me your paper now.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - drop the ball

Ned and Grace are driving in their car. They are going camping for the long weekend. All of a sudden their car breaks down and stops running. They pull over to the side of the road:

Grace:  What happened, Ned?

Ned:  Well, isn't it obvious, the car broke down!

Grace:  I can see that.  Did you service the car like I asked you to?

Ned:  Hmmm.  Did you ask me to service the car?

Grace:  Yes, I did!  I asked you to check the oil and antifreeze and the belts.

Ned:  I suppose I dropped the ball, then, because I completely forgot.  Sorry.

to drop the ball - Usage:


Usage Frequency Index:   1,398   click for frequency by country

to drop the ball - Gerund Form:

Dropping the ball can cause many problems in your life.

to drop the ball - Examples:

1)  I drop the ball when I purposefully avoid my work.

2)  You drop the ball when you become distracted.

3)  He drops the ball when he forgets.

4)  She drops the ball when she feels pressure to complete a project.

5)  The government drops the ball every time it does not address the homeless issue.

6)  We drop the ball if we fail in our task.

7)  You (all) drop the ball when you (all) choose to delay doing the work.

8)  They drop the ball when they have too much work to do.

9)  This is one area where everyone can agree that Apple dropped the ball.

10)  And while it may be true that district administrators dropped the ball, it was still the state's responsibility to monitor this.

11)  Many media outlets I used to respect for their aggressive investigative reporting have dropped the ball this election cycle. 

12)  You can't look forward to anything like that, or you'll drop the ball and not stay to the course.

13)  Other issues / projects caused me to drop the ball

14) To drop the ball there is to give an incomplete message. 

15)  Dropping the ball is forgetting the sandwiches on your picnic.

16)  I achieve more in less time and I no longer worry about dropping the ball.

17)  I just always felt like I was dropping the ball somewhere -- never really succeeding at any of the roles that I was filling.

18)  I've been downright unreliable, dropping the ball here and there and everywhere.

19)  If the public sector drops the ball, why not the private sector?

20)  When someone is injured because the state drops the ball, the state can't be sued.