der·by | \ˈdər-bē, 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, 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

Pasadena Sportfishing Group already hosts youth fishing derbies twice a year, as well as other outreach efforts to introduce people of all ages to the sport. Christina Tkacik,, "Anne Arundel pilot project to loan fishing gear from libraries generates reel interest," 5 July 2018 Both eliminated from the tournament, the Saudis and Egyptians play each other Monday in Volgograd, in what promises to be a hotly contested Arab derby with the two sides keen not to leave the tournament without a win or at least a point. Hamza Hendawi,, "Salah in better health ahead of Egypt World Cup farewell against Saudi Arabia," 25 June 2018 Other events include go-kart competitions, movie science demonstrations and a veggie derby with vehicles made from real vegetables. Mark Davis, kansascity, "Fire, hammers and robots: Maker Faire Kansas City takes over Union Station," 23 June 2018 The soccer match, between Brezovica and Vrelo Sport in Serbia’s fifth tier, was something of a local derby. James Montague, New York Times, "Leading Serbia at World Cup, Nemanja Matic Has One Foot Rooted at Home," 22 June 2018 The photographers for The Indianapolis Star and Indianapolis News captured the mood of the city - from roller skating, soap box derby to fads like the hula hoop. Dawn Mitchell, Indianapolis Star, "Indianapolis in the '50s was filled with promise and growth," 13 June 2018 This weekend hosted a slew of activities including a pinewood derby at St. Arnold's Brewery, the Children's Festival, the Sugar Land Food, and Wine Festival and more. Heather Leighton, Houston Chronicle, "Despite the cold, Houstonians got out for local events, festivals this weekend," 9 Apr. 2018 Anglers must sign up before April 15 for the April 22-May 26 derby. D'arcy Egan,, "Fishing Report for March 23: Wet, warm weather a boost for river anglers," 23 Mar. 2018 The skills competition included the classic home run derby and a challenge for which infield can turn a series of double plays the fastest. Kyle Mcfadden, The Aegis, "At Blue Crab tournament, Ripken brothers continue youth initiative," 12 July 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

10 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for derby

The first known use of derby was in 1796

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English Language Learners Definition of derby

: a type of horse race that takes place every year

: a race or contest

: a game between local sports teams


der·by | \ˈdər-bē \
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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