der·​by | \ ˈdər-bē How to pronounce derby (audio) , especially British ˈdä-\
plural derbies

Definition of derby

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : any of several horse races held annually and usually restricted to three-year-olds
2 : a race or contest open to all comers or to a specified category of contestants bicycle derby
3 British : a game between local sports teams … even when both clubs were going through trophy droughts, the derby was still treated like a European Cup final by the fans.Manchester Evening News
4 : a man's stiff felt hat with dome-shaped crown and narrow brim


geographical name
Der·​by | \ ˈdär-bē How to pronounce Derby (audio) , chiefly U.S. ˈdər-\

Definition of Derby (Entry 2 of 2)

city on the Derwent River in Derbyshire, north central England population 252,000

Illustration of derby

Illustration of derby


derby 4

In the meaning defined above

Examples of derby in a Sentence


a derby between Manchester United and Manchester City

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

On social media, the roller-derby cheerleaders are mocked—their manliness, fashion sense and dance skills questioned. Nina Adam, WSJ, "Female Roller Derby Skaters Are Fearless—So Are Their Male Cheerleaders," 7 Dec. 2018 But an important, less quantifiable component of the Heisman derby takes place during the offseason. Chris Johnson,, "The Most Intriguing Dark Horses of the Offseason Heisman Hype Machine," 17 May 2018 As Earhart would point out, the women still did better than the men had in their derby the previous year; of the nine men’s planes that took off from New York, only one reached Los Angeles. Elizabeth Winkler, WSJ, "‘Fly Girls’ Review: Freedom of the Air," 9 Aug. 2018 The notion of the derby as a detriment began with former Phillies outfielder Bobby Abreu. Scott Lauber,, "Phillies' Rhys Hoskins unconcerned about Home Run Derby impacting his swing," 12 July 2018 Finalists will be rewarded with the chance to take more swings Monday night at the MLB home run derby. J.c. Carnahan,, "Hagerty’s Riley Greene swinging for fence in high school home run derby," 14 July 2018 Maybe the Hawks are out of the Karlsson derby because of the likely $11 million a year cost for eight seasons. Steve Rosenbloom,, "Kicking around the idea of the Blackhawks trading for Erik Karlsson," 5 July 2018 Privacy - Terms Baseball America's JJ Cooper shared video of Matias' last home run in his round: Lexington's Seuly Matias hit 10 home runs in one round of the home run derby. Pete Grathoff, kansascity, "Watch Royals' minor-league star Seuly Matias take part in Class A Home Run Derby," 20 June 2018 Using average points totals of City and Utd per game and assuming same rate of points accumulation from now on, City win the title ... at the derby., "Current Average Points Totals Give Startling Revelation About Manchester Derby Title Possibility," 1 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'derby.' 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 derby


1796, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for derby


Edward Stanley †1834, 12th earl of Derby

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Dictionary Entries near derby






derby blue

Derby China

Statistics for derby

Last Updated

14 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for derby

The first known use of derby was in 1796

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More Definitions for derby



English Language Learners Definition of derby

: a type of horse race that takes place every year
: a race or contest
British : a game between local sports teams


der·​by | \ ˈdər-bē How to pronounce derby (audio) \
plural derbies

Kids Definition of derby

1 : a race for three-year-old horses usually held every year
2 : a race or contest open to anyone a fishing derby
3 : a stiff felt hat with a narrow brim and a rounded top

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More from Merriam-Webster on derby

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with derby

Spanish Central: Translation of derby

Nglish: Translation of derby for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about derby

Comments on derby

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


grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

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