baseball


baseball

noun

  1. a game of ball between two nine-player teams played usually for nine innings on a field that has as a focal point a diamond-shaped infield with a home plate and three other bases, 90 feet (27 meters) apart, forming a circuit that must be completed by a base runner in order to score, the central offensive action entailing hitting of a pitched ball with a wooden or metal bat and running of the bases, the winner being the team scoring the most runs.
  2. the ball used in this game, being a sphere approximately 3 inches (7 cm) in diameter with a twine-covered center of cork covered by stitched horsehide.
  3. Cards. a variety of five-card or seven-card stud poker in which nines and threes are wild and in which threes and fours dealt face up gain the player either penalties or privileges.

noun

  1. a team game with nine players on each side, played on a field with four bases connected to form a diamond. The object is to score runs by batting the ball and running round the bases
  2. the hard rawhide-covered ball used in this game
n.

in the modern sense, 1845, American English, from base (n.) + ball (n.1). Earlier references, e.g. in Jane Austen’s “Northanger Abbey,” refer to the game of “rounders,” of which baseball is a more elaborate variety. Legendarily invented 1839 by Abner Doubleday in Cooperstown, N.Y. Base was used for “start or finish line of a race” from 1690s; and the sense of “safe spot” found in modern children’s game of tag can be traced to 14c. (the sense in baseball is from 1868).

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