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Compound of odd +‎ ball. Attested since the 1940s, with the adjective appearing earlier than the noun.


  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈɑːdˌbɔl/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɑːdbɔl


oddball (plural oddballs)

  1. An eccentric or unusual person.
    • 1964, Earl Warren et al., Report of the President's Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy[1], page 685:
      Miss Quinn thought that Oswald spoke Russian well in view of his lack of formal training; she found the evening uninteresting. Donovan, with whom she had a date later, testified that she told him that Oswald was “kind of an oddball.”
    • 1989, Maris Soule, Storybook Hero, page 5:
      "She's different, mister. A real oddball, if you know what I mean. But your little girl would love her. All kids love the Doll Lady."
  2. (neuroscience) A deviant stimulus that appears among repetitive stimuli during an experiment, to trigger an event-related potential in the participant.




oddball (not comparable)

  1. Exotic, not mainstream.
    • 1984, Steven K. Roberts, The Complete Guide to Microsystem Management:
      An oddball word processor, for example, might never be supported by such helpful tools as spelling checkers, indexing programs, footnote utilities,...