to set the ball rolling

Idiom Definition

Idiom Definition - set the ball rolling

"to set the ball rolling"

to do something that starts an activity;

to start doing something in order to encourage other people to join in


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - set the ball rolling

Several colleagues are attending a meeting ...

Colleague 1:  Why is everyone just sitting around doing nothing?

Colleague 2:  Nobody wants to start.

Colleague 1:  Well, we all know we are here to present our ideas for the new advertising campaign.  I'll set the ball rolling by presenting my idea first.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - set the ball rolling

Two friends are talking in a bar ...

Friend 1:  Look at that poor piano player. He's been playing for hours and nobody has put any money in his tip mug.

Friend 2:  Perhaps people don't know what the mug is for. Why don't you set the ball rolling?

Friend 1:  I will.  I'll put a dollar in his mug and I'm sure others will follow.

to set the ball rolling - Usage:


to set the ball rolling - Gerund Form:

Starting the ball rolling is often the leader's responsibility.

to set the ball rolling - Examples:

1)  ... now that Autumn's here - maybe it's time to set the ball rolling and expose the myth of everyone loving Summer!

2)  Communication audits and employer branding surveys can set the ball rolling, and executive interviews and internal focus groups can be selectively added.

3)  ... it that you can do for very little cost, you can set the ball rolling right now.

4)  SpaceX was founded in part to try to set the ball rolling on the lowered launch cost.

5)  ... to $2 billion but realistically, $300 million might be enough to set the ball rolling with some creative financing after that.

6)  We need to set the ball rolling and keep the momentum.

7)  ... but you can set the ball rolling by working out a view pages to get the idea across. 

8)  I felt that if we set the ball rolling with this show idea, we wouldn't be standing alone for long.

9)  Once we set the ball rolling, the process was faster and scarier than we had initially anticipated.

10)  While Clinton set the ball rolling with sub-prime lending, Bush failed to bring in much tighter regulation.

11)  The service is free, but effectively you would be setting the ball rolling and it will tell you precisely what you need to do next.

12)  There's nothing to stop you from setting the ball rolling by being the first person to take the first step.

13)  There's a lot of talk around big data, but actually setting the ball rolling on how to deal with it is one of the biggest hurdles that enterprises are ...

14)  Thank you to all for setting the ball rolling and doing what the rest have only thought about.

15)  Fair point - though how about the Guardian Media Group setting the ball rolling by making a large donation?

16)  Once all the participants are assembled, the MC sets the ball rolling by drawing the name of the first recipient.

17)  Answering these two questions with some clarity sets the ball rolling. The outcome doesn't need to be all that clear at the outset ...

18)  ... preludes to set the tone, prepares lighting and props, and sets the ball rolling by singing a couple songs himself.

19)  I am sure that if an existing Wiki editor sets the ball rolling, then many others will be able to contribute to a complete and comprehensive biography ...

20)  Doing something? anything? sets the ball rolling and builds confidence that one does, in fact, have something to contribute.