drop the ball

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drop the ball

1. To make a mistake. I think she really dropped the ball when she decided to quit that promising internship.
2. To forget about or neglect someone or something. I know I dropped the ball today—I just got swamped at work and completely forgot about picking the kids up from school.
See also: ball, drop
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

drop the ball

 
1. . Lit. [in a ball game of some type] to let the ball get away or fall out of one's grasp. Good grief! Bill dropped the ball, just as he was about to score!
2. Fig. to make a blunder; to fail in some way. Everything was going fine in the election until my campaign manager dropped the ball. You can't trust John to do the job right. He's always dropping the ball.
See also: ball, drop
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

drop the ball

Make an error; miss an opportunity. For example, She really dropped the ball when she forgot to call back, or He dropped the ball, turning down their offer. This expression comes from sports where a player who fails to catch a ball is charged with an error. Its use for more general kinds of mistakes dates from about 1950.
See also: ball, drop
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

drop the ball

mainly AMERICAN
If someone drops the ball, they make a mistake or do something silly. Some say the Academy dropped the ball last year by failing to recognise Linklater's film in the Best Animated Feature category. There are people who'd like to see me fall, I know that. But I'm not afraid. I won't drop the ball.
See also: ball, drop
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

drop the ball

make a mistake; mishandle things. North American informal
See also: ball, drop
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

drop the ˈball

(American English, informal) make a mistake and spoil something that you are responsible for: I could use some help. I don’t want to drop the ball on this one.He thinks that you dropped the ball on the Swiss project.
See also: ball, drop
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

drop the ball

tv. to fail at something; to allow something to fail. I didn’t want to be the one who dropped the ball, but I knew that someone would flub up.
See also: ball, drop
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

drop the ball

To make a mistake or fail to do something important.
See also: ball, drop
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
There is no doubt that Martinez satisfied the secure possession part of the rule, but since he fell down and dropped the ball despite holding on to it for five seconds, it was not ruled a legal catch because he was unable to voluntarily release the ball.
A mistake from Town keeper Chris Weale gifted Darlington the lead when he dropped the ball at the feet of Barry Conlon, who fired home.
The striker netted with a simple tap-in after luckless `keeper Jamie McVitie had dropped the ball at his feet.
"It's a strange rule because if I'd dropped the ball on the marker and it hadn't moved it's no penalty.
The England man dropped the ball at the feet of Kevin Davies who tapped the first into an empty net after 30 minutes.
Connacht had gone behind after an embarrassing and record-breaking 45 seconds when centre Mark McHugh dropped the ball from the kick-off and Dragons skipper Jason Forster capitalised.
Cambridge conceded just before the break when goalkeeper Shaun Marshall dropped the ball in front of Matt Tipton who rammed it home.
United's rookie keeper Roy Carroll dropped the ball under pressure from Jon Parkin but he recovered to claim at the second attempt.
SHIA Labeouf was disappointed by the recent Indiana Jones revival - insisting moviemakers "dropped the ball" and let fans down.
The left-hander did that and dropped the ball, which stayed still for five seconds before rolling towards the green.
But he dropped the ball well short and Tony Naylor gobbled up the gift, lobbing over the stranded Fettis.
Raul struck in the 19th minute of the shock defeat by AC Milan at the Bernabeu after goalkeeper Dida dropped the ball at his feet.
He failed to hold a cross from Beagrie and dropped the ball at Carruthers' feet, just six yards out, and the striker made no mistake.
Raul's magic moment came when Dida dropped the ball at his feet, and he scored to match Mueller's 32-year-old tally - set with Bayern Munich in three European competitions.
FRANCE coach Bernard Laporte tore into Christophe Dominici after the winger dropped the ball under no pressure when attemping to score a touchdown.