Idiom:  the ball's in someone’s court

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


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!


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

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