Hardball definitions

härd'bôl'
Baseball.
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The use of any means, however ruthless, to attain an objective.
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Any ruthless, aggressive, highly competitive form of politics, business, etc.
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A kind of baseball characterized by hard-thrown overhand pitching.
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The ball typically used in this game;
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Of or characterized by ruthlessness, competitiveness, coercion, etc.

Hardball business practices.

adjective
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(sports) In baseball, a type of ball and baseball game, as opposed to softball.
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Tough or ruthless behavior, especially in combat, politics or business.
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Origin of hardball

hard +‎ ball