- a tract of land where ball games, especially baseball, are played.
- a baseball stadium.
- Informal. being an approximation, based on an educated guess: Give me a ballpark figure on our total expenses for next year.
- in the ballpark, Informal. within reasonable, acceptable, or expected limits: The price may go up another $10, but that’s still in the ballpark.
- US and Canadian a stadium used for baseball games
- approximate rangein the right ballpark
- (as modifier)a ballpark figure
- informal a situation; state of affairsit’s a whole new ballpark for him
“baseball stadium,” 1899, from (base)ball + park (n.). Figurative sense of “acceptable range of approximation” first recorded 1954, originally in the jargon of atomic weapons scientists, perhaps originally referring to area within which a missile was expected to return to earth; the reference is to broad but reasonably predictable dimensions.
The result, according to the author’s estimate, is a stockpile equivalent to one billion tons of TNT. Assuming this estimate is “in the ball park,” clearly there is valid reason for urging candor on the part of our government. [Ralph E. Lapp, “Atomic Candor,” in “Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists,” October 1954]
Also, out of the ballpark. See under ballpark figure.