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Difference between Drop the ball and Take up the ball

drop the balllet smth. go wrong; make an embarrassing error:

  • In my opinion, this is one area where Microsoft has really dropped the ball when it comes to spam filtering.


a) The expression is not equivalent in meaning to the phrase drop a brick—(sl.) do smth. foolish; say smth. stupid or indiscreet:

  • It was hinted to me pretty plainly that I had dropped a brick when I told my brother I didn’t like Mary.

b) The expression is not antonymous in meaning to the phrase carry the ball—assume the responsibility (taking the most important or difficult part in an action):

  • Who will carry the ball? Who will have responsibility for paying the bills and balancing the check book?

take up the ball —(also: pick up the ball and run with it) take one’s turn in smth.:

  • Unfortunately, it’s not likely I’ll be able to respond at greater length…. But perhaps others will take up the ball.