It’s Wimbledon season at the moment so this week’s interesting word is tennis related. (I was lucky enough to go to Wimbledon this week – it was amazing!)
A moonball is a high lob made when playing tennis. It is often recognisable as a stroke that causes the ball to arc high into the air, often out of camera shot, and slows the pace of the game.
Its origin is simply the combination of ‘moon’ and ‘ball’. The OED lists the first use of moonball as taking place in 1975.
“Inside, on the first Monday of Wimbledon, hopes were as high as a moonball, as green as the immaculate grass.”
– The Independent, 27 June 1995
Source: The Oxford English Dictionary (online)