noun, often attributive
bas·​ket·​ball | \ ˈba-skit-ˌbȯl How to pronounce basketball (audio) \

Definition of basketball

: a usually indoor court game between two teams of usually five players each who score by tossing an inflated ball through a raised goal also : the ball used in this game

Examples of basketball in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Kaavia's birth inspired Wade to retire from professional basketball in 2019. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Dwyane Wade Opens Up About Telling Gabrielle Union He Fathered a Child With Another Woman," 16 Feb. 2020 Bhatia has started his own nonprofit organization that raises money to build basketball courts and camps for kids in Canada and across the globe, according to Great Big Story. Amir Vera, CNN, "Toronto Raptors superfan Nav Bhatia to be in new gallery at the Basketball Hall of Fame," 15 Feb. 2020 In 24 hours, Bankers Life went form a basketball court to a rodeo arena. Grace Hollars, Indianapolis Star, "2 hours after the Pacers won, the fieldhouse began transforming into a rodeo," 14 Feb. 2020 That’s the mindset that Gabriel took with him to the basketball court. Jamie Goldberg, oregonlive, "Portland Trail Blazers’ Wenyen Gabriel hopes to pay it forward after his family’s sacrifices lead him to the NBA," 14 Feb. 2020 Allen Road Park, 5900 Lake Forrest Drive, currently has about three acres with basketball courts, a walking trail and a playground. David Ibata, ajc, "Sandy Springs buying land to expand park," 12 Feb. 2020 Guests can also enjoy a mini golf course, a basketball court, shuffleboard, a fire pit, an outdoor kitchen, terrace seating, and more. Kelly Corbett, House Beautiful, ""The Pool House"Airbnb Rental in Arizona Vows to Treat You Like a Star With Its Resort-Style Pool and Services," 10 Feb. 2020 Detroit Free Press When the media were allowed on the basketball court at the Detroit Pistons Performance Center early Wednesday afternoon, the scene looked normal. Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons NBA trade deadline primer: Here's the latest before 3 p.m. Thursday," 5 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'basketball.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of basketball

1892, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about basketball

Time Traveler for basketball

Time Traveler

The first known use of basketball was in 1892

See more words from the same year

Statistics for basketball

Last Updated

20 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Basketball.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for basketball


How to pronounce basketball (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of basketball

: a game in which two teams of five players bounce a ball and try to score points by throwing the ball through one of the raised nets at each end of a rectangular court
: a large rubber ball that is used in the game of basketball


bas·​ket·​ball | \ ˈba-skit-ˌbȯl How to pronounce basketball (audio) \

Kids Definition of basketball

1 : a game in which two teams try to throw a ball through a hanging net
2 : the ball used in basketball

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on basketball

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with basketball

Spanish Central: Translation of basketball

Nglish: Translation of basketball for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of basketball for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about basketball

Comments on basketball

What made you want to look up basketball? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!