1. (orig. milit.) a blunder, an error.
|Dict. of Sl., Jargon and Cant.|
|Mint (1955) 61: The biggest balls-up ever.|
|(con. WWI) Goodbye to All That (1960) 125: ‘Tomorrow’s going to be a glorious balls-up.’ [Ibid.] 127: ‘What’s happened?’ I asked. ‘Bloody balls-up.’.|
|(con. 1917) Canvas Falcons (1970) 276: Usual airforce ballsup.‘A Flier’s War’ in Longstreet|
|Coming Up For Air (1998) 127: You couldn’t go on regarding society as something eternal and unquestionable, like a pyramid. You knew it was just a balls-up.|
|None But the Lonely Heart 244: You can’t make a bigger balls than what they done.|
|Swag, the Spy and the Soldier in Lehmann Penguin New Writing No. 26 51: ‘What do you make of this case, corporal?’ ‘Bleeding balls-up, between you and me.’.|
|Sel. Letters (1992) 166: This evening I painted the sight of the garden from the dining room window in water colours. This started all right in a vicar’s-daughter way but finished as rather a balls up.letter 30 July in Thwaite|
|Transvaal Episode 108: This is the biggest balls-up of a raid I ever heard of.|
|Poor Cow 77: I could feel the tears come into my eyes. What a balls up!|
|Psychotic Reactions (1988) 231: I moved in on him and commenced my second misinformed balls-up of the evening.in|
|Too Many Crooks Spoil the Caper 18: Yuh bound ter make a balls up of it, Ed.|
|Only Fools and Horses [TV script] It means there was a balls-up at the factory and they put the wrong chimes in!‘A Touch of Glass’|
|Holden’s Performance (1989) 286: There was a balls-up at Foreign Affairs.|
|Muzukuru 10: He’d once been a lootie in a honky unit – all our officers were honkies – but he’d made such a drastic balls-up that he’d been sent on to us.|
|Indep. Rev. 28 June 1: You would not enjoy making a balls-up of the lamb dopiaza under her imperious gaze.|
|Everyday Eng. and Sl. [Internet] Balls (n): to mess up, e.g. I made a balls of that job.|
|Turning (2005) 17: It was the usual Uncle Ernie balls-up.‘Abbreviation’ in|
2. attrib. use of sense 1.
|Breaks 55: Madison countered with a balls-up move [...] No sale.|
|Golden Orange (1991) 252: I’m a real balls-up guy.|
to make a mistake, to get into trouble.
|DSUE (1984) 44: since 1890.|
|Of Love And Hunger 95: The bastard made a balls of it.|
|Out After Dark 101: You’re making a balls of it. Wrong end of the stick.|
|Last of the High Kings 88: Just do your best [...] but make a balls of things and I’ll fracture your skull.|
|(con. 1970) Dazzling Dark (1996) I iii: Yer man made a balls of the wiring trying to do it himself. Langer.Danti-Dan in McGuinness|
(Irish) to make a fool of oneself.
|Tarry Flynn (1965) 105: Ah, dry up and don’t be making a barney balls of yourself.|