football

noun

foot·​ball ˈfu̇t-ˌbȯl How to pronounce football (audio)
1
: any of several games played between two teams on a usually rectangular field having goalposts or goals at each end and whose object is to get the ball over a goal line, into a goal, or between goalposts by running, passing, or kicking: such as
a
British : soccer
b
British : rugby
c
: an American game played between two teams of 11 players each in which the ball is in possession of one side at a time and is advanced by running or passing
e
2
a
: an inflated oval ball used in the game of football
b
British : a soccer ball
3
: something treated roughly especially as the subject of a prolonged dispute
the issue became a political football in Congress
footballer noun

Did you know?

The game of US football evolved in the 19th century as a combination of rugby and soccer. The first intercollegiate match was played in 1869 between Princeton University and Rutgers College. In 1873, the first collegiate rules were standardized and the Ivy League was formed. Collegiate football grew into one of the most popular American sports. Professional football began in the 1890s, but did not become a major sport until after World War II. The National Football League (NFL) was formed (from an earlier association) in 1922; in 1966 it subsumed the rival American Football League (created in 1959). The NFL is now divided into an American and a National conference; the conference winners compete for the Super Bowl championship. A Football Hall of Fame is located in Canton, Ohio.

Example Sentences

He played a lot of football in high school and college.
Recent Examples on the Web Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) scores a touchdown as Carolina Panthers safety Xavier Woods (25) makes the tackle in the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, in Baltimore. Baltimore Sun Staff, Baltimore Sun, 20 Nov. 2022 Due to the heavy snowfall, a Sunday football game between the Buffalo Bills' and Cleveland Browns was moved to Detroit. CBS News, 20 Nov. 2022 Due to the heavy snowfall, a Sunday football game between the Buffalo Bills’ and Cleveland Browns was moved to Detroit. Time, 20 Nov. 2022 Playing a football game in Munich last week, at the home of soccer powerhouse Bayern Munich, was one of the most memorable games of Tom Brady’s life. Ben Volin, BostonGlobe.com, 19 Nov. 2022 The other side calls for a low-scoring, tight football game. Tanner Mcgrath, Chicago Tribune, 19 Nov. 2022 It's taken 14 years for Scooter Molander to get back to a state championship football game. Richard Obert, The Arizona Republic, 19 Nov. 2022 The Alabama Crimson Tide will play a football game today that means ... Arkansas Online, 19 Nov. 2022 A year after a disappointing loss in the San Diego Section 8-man football championship game, Victory Christian bounced back with a convincing 39-12 win over St. Joseph Academy on Saturday night. John Maffei, San Diego Union-Tribune, 19 Nov. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'football.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of football was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near football

Cite this Entry

“Football.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/football. Accessed 30 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

football

noun

foot·​ball ˈfu̇t-ˌbȯl How to pronounce football (audio)
1
: any of several games in which two teams try to advance a ball to the goals at each end of a large rectangular field: as
a
British : soccer
b
British : rugby
c
: an American game played between two teams of 11 players each in which the ball is advanced by running or passing
2
: the ball used in football

More from Merriam-Webster on football

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