the ball's in your court

Meaning: If someone you're negotiating with says "the ball's in your court", they think it's your turn to make a move or make an offer.

For example:

  • We've offered him ten thousand dollars a month, so the ball's in his court now.

  • They know our position, so the ball's in their court. If they want to pursue the matter, they'll have to make the next move.

Origin: Metaphorical, from sports such as tennis and badminton in which players take turns to hit a ball over a net into each other's end of the court.

Quick Quiz:

If you're bargaining with someone and they say "the ball's in your court" it means they think

a. the negotiation is over

b. it's your turn to name a price

c. you're demanding too much

Idiom of the Day

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Contributor: Matt Errey