Idiom:  drop the ball


Idiom:  drop the ball

  • to stop working on something before a goal or project is completed
  • to forget or neglect doing something at a critical point
  • to make a mistake or fail in some way

Note:  This idiom comes from sports. It describes someone dropping, not catching or failing to grasp a ball during play. 

Example sentences

We lost the contract when I went on vacation because my coworkers dropped the ball and didn’t submit all the documents for the proposal.

You dropped the ball making sure your children did their homework so it's no surprise they didn't do well this semester. 

Let's organize a meeting and set up a schedule so that nobody drops the ball for this year's annual conference.

My final grades weren't great this semester. I dropped the ball after I did well on midterm exams and didn't complete all the problems sets the rest of the semester. 

I just received an email saying that NEA is no longer using our services. Who dropped the ball on this account? 

Records show that our sales team is dropping the ball at the end of the sales cycle.  Let's organize some training to help them close sales.  

Democrats really dropped the ball by not campaigning in Michigan until the last minute in the 2016 election.


  • mess up
  • screw up

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