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on the ball Informal

Meaning: If you're on the ball, you're alert and you know what's going on around you.

For example:

  • I didn't get much sleep last night so I'm not really on the ball today.

  • My brother is always on the ball, so it's hard to trick him or catch him unawares.

Quick Quiz:

Someone really needs to be on the ball if they work as
  1. a life model in a painter's studio
  2. a dishwasher in a restaurant
  3. an air-traffic controller at an airport

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