Difference between Bawl and Ball

Key Difference: The word ‘bawl’ has two main meanings. One is to shout loudly and noisily, while the other means to cry loudly and noisily. On the other hand, the term ‘ball’ primarily refers to a round toy that kids play with.

The words bawl and ball sound quite similar but in fact are two completely different words that mean completely different things. Just because they sound similar, people assume that they must mean something similar as well. However, that is not the case. The meanings of the words bawl and ball do not overlap anywhere.

The word ‘bawl’ has two main meanings. One is to shout loudly and noisily, while the other means to cry loudly and noisily. While both these definitions mean to do something loudly and noisily, they actually differ in themselves. One is to shout and the other is to cry; neither one is related to the other. It does not mean that the person has to do both. It can be one or the other, or rarely both. The term, bawl, can also be used to refer to the actual shout.

Let’s look at examples: He bawled at his child. I heard a loud bawl. The child was bawling. In the first example, the man is shouting at his child. In the second, I heard a loud shout, while in the third, the child was loudly crying.

On the other hand, the term ‘ball’ primarily refers to a toy that kids play with. Example: he was playing with the blue ball. The term ball can also be used to refer to shape of the toy, which is round and/or can also be referred to as a sphere. For example: I rolled the shirt into a ball. The term ‘ball’ can also be used to refer to the action of rolling something into the shape of a ball, i.e. I balled up the shirt.

There is another definition of ball, one that has nothing to do with the toy, the shape, or the action. Here the term refers to a formal dance. For example: Are you going to the ball? I can’t wait to dance at the ball. The ball is a formal dance.

Another difference between the two terms is that bawl is primarily used as a verb, which means that it is something someone does, i.e. shout or cry. Whereas, the term ball is primarily used as a noun, which means that it is the name of an object, i.e. the ball children play with. However, there are cases where ‘bawl’ is used as a noun to refer to the actual shout. Whereas, ‘ball’ can be used as a verb to describe the action of rolling something up in the shape of a ball. Still, these cases are rarer than the norm.

Comparison between Bawl and Ball:

 

Bawl

Ball

Definition (Oxford Dictionaries)

  • Shout or call out noisily and unrestrainedly
  • Weep or cry noisily
  • A loud, unrestrained shout

 

  • A solid or hollow spherical or egg-shaped object that is kicked, thrown, or hit in a game
  • A spherical object or mass of material
  • Squeeze or form (something) into a rounded shape

Article of speech

Verb, noun

Noun, verb

Description

To shout or cry

Something to play with

Examples

  • Don't bawl in public!
  • She bawled uncontrollably.
  • Your baby has been bawling for hours.
  • John bawled at me across the road.
  • The ball rolled into the corner.
  • The ball was big and red.
  • The children are playing with a ball.
  • The cake is in the shape of a ball.

Image Courtesy: livemocha.com, how-to-draw-cartoons-online.com

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