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

What Michael enjoyed doing most in his spare time was coaching youth football and basketball in Tolland. Hartford Courant,, "Michael J. Cannizzaro," 8 July 2018 Oldest son Bryce pitched and played football and basketball for the Tigers and went on to play baseball at Xavier. Scott Springer,, "Loveland baseball stays in the Tiger family with hiring of Steve Plitt," 2 July 2018 The basketball player crashed into the singer and his model-author-actress wife, and there are photos. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Chrissy Teigen and John Legend's Date Went Horribly, Hilariously Awry," 10 Apr. 2019 Jon Wilner has been covering college sports for decades and is an AP top-25 football and basketball voter as well as a Heisman Trophy voter. Jon Wilner Pac-12 Hotline, The Seattle Times, "Way-too-early Pac-12 football predictions: Can Washington rule the North once again?," 23 Jan. 2019 Separately, the university said the NCAA found no violations in how the football and basketball teams responded to assault allegations against players. Fox News, "NCAA clears Michigan State in Nassar sexual-assault scandal, school says," 30 Aug. 2018 Wascha had played football and basketball and run track in high school. Dearbea Walker,, "WR Aaron Wascha key for Soul against Albany," 6 July 2018 Ending the 20-year drought is a sign that TCU is becoming a threat in football and basketball since joining the Big 12. Drew Davison, star-telegram, "Top six moments for TCU’s six-year anniversary since joining the Big 12," 5 July 2018 Rhymes, who was a football and basketball standout at Phoenix Union in the 1960s, coached his brother Billy at Phoenix Union. Richard Obert, azcentral, "Carl Hayden's Argie Rhymes receives National HS Basketball Coach of the Year honor," 28 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of basketball

1892, in the meaning defined above

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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

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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).


a strong desire or propensity

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