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the ball's in your court

This page is about the idiom the ball's in your court


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
a) the negotiation is over b) it's your turn to name a price c) you're demanding too much

Idiom of the Day

Contributor: Matt Errey