foot·ball | \ˈfu̇t-ˌbȯl \

Definition of football 

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

d Australia : australian rules football

e Canada : canadian football

2a : 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

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Other Words from football

footballer \ˈfu̇t-ˌbȯ-lər \ 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.

Examples of football in a Sentence

He played a lot of football in high school and college.

Recent Examples on the Web

Today, the 3,600 rental units Berrada's companies own cover 3.2 million square feet, roughly the size of 55 football fields. Kevin Crowe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'He'll evict you in a minute.' Landlord quietly becomes a force in Milwaukee rental business...and eviction court," 13 July 2018 The Dolphins, meanwhile, are close to getting back on the football field. Jordan Mcpherson, miamiherald, "What would Miami Dolphins-themed soccer kits look like? Here’s a look," 13 July 2018 Responsible for the beginning of the wave of believing a little too much that football was coming home., "England: Who Is to Blame?," 12 July 2018 Buckeyes football was strong once again, going 12-2, winning the Cotton Bowl and the Big Ten Conference. Patrick Brennan,, "Ohio State tops CBS Sports 'Best in College Sports' rankings," 11 July 2018 But football will not be coming home, and there will be no title to match the 1966 triumph at Wembley Stadium. Ronald Blum,, "Croatia upend England in extra time to reach their first-ever World Cup final," 11 July 2018 The 2018 Coventry High School commencement was moved from the football field to the school auditorium due to the threat of rain. Melanie Savage, Courant Community, "Coventry High School Graduates 118," 3 July 2018 This is what football's all about: one-upping Cristiano Ronaldo, who had previously held our top spot with... 2. Tom Philip, GQ, "Every Goal From the 2018 World Cup, Ranked," 2 July 2018 Yes, hopefully someone has hidden the football, by the salads or something, in the White House. Recode Staff, Recode, "Full transcript: Pod Save America’s Dan Pfeiffer on Recode Media," 2 July 2018

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.

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First Known Use of football

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for football

Last Updated

28 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for football

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

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More Definitions for football


foot·ball | \ˈfu̇t-ˌbȯl \

Kids Definition of football

1 : a game played with an oval ball on a large field by two teams of eleven players that move the ball by kicking, passing, or running with it

2 : the ball used in football

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