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 Sister Mary Alice Ann Gradowski, who as a principal could be seen cheering, with fierce loyalty, in the bleachers at basketball games. Matt Sedensky, Star Tribune, "'How many of us will be left?' Catholic nuns face loss, pain," 8 Apr. 2021 Because the teams split football and boys basketball games in 2018-19 and no baseball game was played due to COVID-19, the coveted Bruce-Mahoney trophy was split between both campuses this school year. Mitch Stephens, San Francisco Chronicle, "SHC's Tyrice Ivy Jr. has grown into a two-way football standout," 8 Apr. 2021 However, basketball games are played on hardwood, where Fowler out-toughed the Wolves enough to win and advance. Tom Lang, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan high school girls basketball: Bellaire advances to first-ever state title game," 7 Apr. 2021 His bank shot at the buzzer vs. UCLA capped one of the most riveting college basketball games ever. Eddie Pells, Anchorage Daily News, "Baylor obliterates Gonzaga to win NCAA men’s basketball title," 6 Apr. 2021 Theoretically, vaccines could be mandated for fans attending Utah Jazz basketball games, but not for University of Utah games. Bryan Schott, The Salt Lake Tribune, "New Utah law blocks vaccine passports for state government, including colleges and universities," 6 Apr. 2021 His bank shot at the buzzer vs. UCLA capped one of the most riveting college basketball games ever. Eddie Pells, Chron, "Baylor beatdown: Bears win title by routing Gonzaga," 6 Apr. 2021 His bank shot at the buzzer capped one of the most riveting college basketball games ever. Eddie Pells,, "Baylor ends Gonzaga’s quest for perfect season with NCAA championship game rout," 5 Apr. 2021 Ratliff, a North Carolina native, became known on UA's campus as the most visible fan at Crimson Tide basketball games. Emily Hopkins, The Indianapolis Star, "County, state investigating COVID-19 exposure after reports of an NCAA fan dying of virus," 3 Apr. 2021

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

17 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Basketball.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for basketball



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

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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