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Idiom

The Ball’s in Your Court: Origin and Meaning

Meaning
It is your turn to take the next step by acting or making a decision. The possessive “your” can be changed to “my” “his” “her” “our” or “their” in different contexts.
Origin
The ball’s in your courtThis is a modern sporting metaphor, probably originating in the twentieth century. It is a reference to the sport of tennis, in which you hit the ball over the net to put it in your opponent’s court. You can only hit or play a ball that is in your court. Therefore if “the ball’s in your court”, it is your turn to play and react. The court could also refer to that used in other sports such as basketball, volleyball, badminton etc. “The ball’s in your court” is often used in business to mean that you need to make the next offer or in relationships to say that it is your turn to act. In advertising “the ball’s in your court” is used to mean that you should act now to take advantage of an excellent opportunity.
Examples
Bill: “We are offering £5,000,000 to buy your company. It really is an offer too good to refuse. Now the ball’s in your court.”
Rita: “Well, l it’s not only my decision to make, I’ll have to talk to my business partners and come back to you with an answer by the end of the day.”

Emma: “How’s it going with the guy you’ve been dating?”
Gina: “It’s going well – we’ve been on a couple of dates and last weekend it was my turn to choose, so I took him to my favourite restaurant. Hopefully he’ll ask me out again soon – the ball’s in his court now.”

Newspaper headline: The ball’s in your court – vote in tomorrow’s election to decide the next Mayor of London!”