Idiom:  the ball's in someone’s court

Picture of a female tennis player about to hit a tennis ball. The text says,

Definition

Idiom:  the ball is in someone’s court

  • the moment when someone has the responsibility of taking the next action or making the next decision


Note:  This idiom originates from the game of tennis. One player cannot take action until the other player hits the ball to their side of the court.


Example sentences

— I filled out the application and provided all the information they asked for so now the ball's in their court and all I can do is wait.

— I sent the agreement over for them to sign so the ball is now in their court

— I called the girl I met in a bar last night and left a message. The ball's in her court now.

— We have approved the invoice so the ball is now in the finance department's court so you might want to contact them directly.

— I have to admit the ball was in my court and I didn't respond in time so I'll have to reapply for the program next year.

— I'm sorry but the ball is not in my court.  I can't confirm any speakers until we have firm dates for the conference.

— The sale ends this Sunday. Don't miss it, the ball is in your court!

— I apologized profusely already. The ball is in my sister's court.

— Don't send any more messages. The ball is in their court and I'm sure they'll contact us again very soon.


Synonyms

  • it's someone's move
  • it's down to someone
  • someone needs to make the next move
  • fall/rest on someone's shoulders


Get our free idioms in pictures ebook


You might like these other idioms

More idioms will be added in the future so check back frequently or sign-up for my free newsletter to learn about new updates to my website.


  1. Home Page
  2.  ›
  3. Idiom Examples
  4.  ›
  5. Idiom: the ball is in someone’s court