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See also: Marbles


Karl Witkowski, Game of Marbles


marbles pl (plural only)

  1. Any of several children's games played with small balls (made of marble or more commonly glass).
    Egyptian boys played marbles before the days of Moses.
  2. (figurative, usually in a limited number of expressions) Sanity.
    Synonyms: buttons; see also Thesaurus:sanity
    Grandpa's lost his marbles, but at least he still recognizes us.
    Granny's still got all her marbles.
    His lack of marbles is becoming ever more apparent.
    • 1960, P[elham] G[renville] Wodehouse, chapter XXI, in Jeeves in the Offing, London: Herbert Jenkins, →OCLC:
      “A nice imbroglio you've landed me in. Thanks to you ...”
      “Yes, sir.”
      “Don't say ‘Yes, sir.’ Thanks to you I have been widely publicized as off my rocker.”
      “Not widely, sir. Merely to your immediate circle now resident at Brinkley Court.”
      “You have held me up at the bar of world opinion as a man who has not got all his marbles.”
      “It was not easy to think of an alternative scheme, sir.”
    • 2005, Sue Henry, The Serpents Trail, page 86:
      There are times when you are certain that the person speaking to you has completely misplaced his marbles. As I leaned away in reaction I felt confident [] Ed had lost his.
    • 2012, J. T. Petty, Bloody Chester, First Second, →ISBN, page 63:
      —Her daddy's crazy. [] Think she's looking for something?
      —Treasure, I expect. That or maybe her daddy's marbles.
  3. (motor racing) Bits of rolled-up rubber shed by the tires of race cars that accumulate at the edges of the track, especially at the corners.
    • 2014, Amen Zwa, Going Nowhere Fast In Assetto Corsa (2015-05-01), →ISBN, page 395:
      Some corners are littered with marbles, off the racing line.

Derived terms[edit]




  1. plural of marble
    Marbles were among the treasures found buried in the ruins of Pompeii.



  1. third-person singular simple present indicative of marble

Further reading[edit]