English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

What does "run down a ball" mean?

Here's a past tense example, in this comment heard after a tennis match:

I can't believe you ran down the last ball.

share|improve this question
up vote 3 down vote accepted

To chase and capture

share|improve this answer
Also frequently used in baseball. – Kit Z. Fox May 26 '11 at 20:02
Correct. But the tennis version wouldn't be a chase and capture, but instead a chase and return (hit back). – John M. Landsberg Apr 16 '13 at 0:06

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.