a heavy iron ball fastened by a chain to a prisoner’s leg.
a burdensome restraint:
The steady accumulation of small debts was a ball and chain to his progress.
Facetious Slang: Often Offensive. a person’s spouse or romantic partner, especially a female.
(formerly) a heavy iron ball attached to a chain and fastened to a prisoner
a heavy restraint
(slang) a wife
a type of prisoner’s restraint, 1818; as “one’s wife,” 1920.
A burden and restraint, as in Karen regarded her job as a ball and chain, but she needed the money. The term, dating from the early 1800s, alludes to chaining a heavy iron ball to a prisoner’s leg. Later it was transferred to other kinds of restraining burden.
- Ball-and-claw foot
a foot having the form of a bird’s claw grasping a ball. Historical Examples He used the ball-and-claw foot with the cabriole leg: this was succeeded by the straight leg. The Old Furniture Book N. Hudson Moore
- Ball and ring
a simplified bead-and-reel turning, used especially in English and American furniture of the 17th century.
- Ball-and-socket joint
Also called enarthrosis. Anatomy, Zoology. a joint in which the rounded end of one bone fits into a cuplike end of the other bone, allowing for relatively free rotary motion, as at the hip or shoulder. Also called ball joint. a similar joint between rods, links, pipes, etc., consisting of a ball-like termination on one […]
- Ball bearing
a bearing consisting of a number of hard balls running in grooves in the surfaces of two concentric rings, one of which is mounted on a rotating or oscillating shaft or the like. any of the balls so used. Historical Examples So that they cannot be injured by waste oil from the ball bearing, or […]