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 Her fifth grade son, Gavin, plays basketball and volleyball. Kyle Neddenriep, The Indianapolis Star, "We asked you to nominate Sports Moms of the Year. Read about these amazing women.," 8 May 2021 South Alabama has added an eighth Division I basketball transfer in the current cycle, this one from an in-state player. Creg Stephenson |, al, "North Alabama basketball transfer Emanuel Littles headed to South Alabama," 8 May 2021 In 1997, Orioles owner Peter Angelos provided the funding for the baseball diamonds, dugouts, basketball courts, playground and lighting system at a park in West Baltimore named for Leon Day. Jeff Barker,, "Baltimore Negro Leagues star Leon Day to be featured at new exhibit; It’s ‘awesome,’ says O’s Cedric Mullins," 8 May 2021 After graduating from Chapman University in Orange, California, Bramlett spent several years working as a touring vocalist, ghost writer and logistics coordinator for a major high school basketball tournament. Michael Alberty | For The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "Vidon Vineyard makes wine history with hiring of Tiquette Bramlett," 8 May 2021 Steinmetz also is praising Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers and a Warren County sheriff deputy who worked the crash for pitching in to buy the boys a basketball hoop to replace one destroyed by the errant driver. Jeanne Houck, The Enquirer, "Officers declare 9-year-old Warren County boy a hero for saving his little brother's life," 8 May 2021 Around 1,500 players currently reside in the portal for men’s basketball. Edgar Thompson,, "For better or worse, NCAA transfer portal has forever changed college basketball," 8 May 2021 However, knockoffs and competition ate into Vans' profits, along with misguided efforts to expand the range of its offerings with specialized shoes for football, basketball, skydiving and even breakdancing. Robert Jablon, ajc, "Vans co-founder Paul Van Doren dies at 90," 8 May 2021 Selections were made via a statewide vote of girls basketball coaches. Jason Frakes, The Courier-Journal, "2021 Kentucky All-State girls basketball team: Meet the 10 first-team selections," 7 May 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

11 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Basketball.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 May. 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

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

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu jedi training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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