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American railroad term that described one of two positions of the ball of a ball signal. Compare highball.[1]



  1. Significantly below the actual cost or value.
    • December 13 2021, Molly Ball, Jeffrey Kluger and Alejandro de la Garza, “Elon Musk: Person of the Year 2021”, in Time Magazine[1]:
      In April, NASA selected SpaceX to build the lunar lander for the Artemis program, thanks in part to a lowball $2.9 billion bid.


lowball (plural lowballs)

  1. The position of the ball on an American railroad ball signal that indicated Stop.
  2. (poker) A form of poker in which the lowest-ranking poker hand wins the pot. Usually the ace is the lowest-ranking card, straights and flushes do not count making the best possible hand being A, 2, 3, 4, 5 regardless of suits (in contrast to deuce-to-seven lowball.)
  3. A form of cribbage in which the first to score 121 (or 61) is the loser.
  4. An unmixed alcohol drink served on ice or water in a short glass.

See also[edit]


lowball (third-person singular simple present lowballs, present participle lowballing, simple past and past participle lowballed)

  1. (transitive) to give an intentionally low estimate of anything, not necessarily with deceptive intent.
    • 2020, Trump's ambitious plan as the US becomes the COVID-19 pandemic's new epicentre (Planet America)‎[2], ABC News In-depth (YouTube), spoken by John Barron (John Barron):
      It may be, but it is worth noting that if the mortality rate is as low as 0.7% as some experts now hope rather than between 3 and 5% as the data suggests so far, that is still a lot of dead Americans. Californian health officials are bracing for a 56% infection rate. In New York, they are talking about a range of between 30% and 80%, so if we just lowball that, that is close to seven hundred thousand dead Americans as a result of COVID-19. Modeling based on current social and economic disruption actually puts the number at 1.2 million people dying, all the way up to 2.2 million if no measures are taken to reduce contagion and the virus is allowed to run its course.
  2. (transitive) To give (a customer) a deceptively low price or cost estimate that one has no intention of honoring or to prepare a cost estimate deliberately and misleadingly low.
  3. (transitive) To make an offer well below an item's true value, often to take advantage of the seller's desperation or desire to sell the item quickly.




  1. ^ Anthony J. Biancull (2001) Trains and Technology: The American Railroad in the Nineteenth Century, →ISBN