noun, often capitalized
rug·​by | \ˈrəg-bē \

Definition of rugby 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: a football game in which play is continuous without time-outs or substitutions, interference and forward passing are not permitted, and kicking, dribbling, lateral passing, and tackling are featured


geographical name
Rug·​by | \ˈrəg-bē \

Definition of Rugby (Entry 2 of 2)

town on the Avon River in Warwickshire, central England population 71,000

Examples of rugby in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Both have mastered the game, while still playing rugby. Richard Obert, azcentral, "From refugee camp to football stardom, Kwete twins making it big at Central," 1 May 2018 In addition to playing on the same rugby team, they were also honored as members of the elite group of seniors tasked with exercising discipline at the school. Maria Pasquini,, "Meghan Markle Supports Prince Harry at Polo Match on Princess Diana's Birthday," 1 July 2018 Goalkeeper Khadim N’Diaye led the group in what looked like a much sunnier version of the menacing haka performed by New Zealand’s All Blacks rugby team. Christopher Clarey, New York Times, "African Team, African Coach: Senegal Is Making a Strong Statement in Russia," 24 June 2018 The United States rugby team extended its record unbeaten streak against Canada to nine with a 42-17 victory in Halifax, Nova Scotia., "Shelby Houlihan wins US outdoor 1,500-meter title," 24 June 2018 Another inspiration — this time for the fascistic tableaux in the court of Voldemort — came from an unlikely source: the New Zealand national rugby team. Patrick Pacheco,, "Steven Hoggett, the 'Cursed Child' choreographer making magic with Hogwarts capes," 7 June 2018 When not cooking or eating, Bruno chafes at red tape, worries about an ambitious policewoman, and mentors a star player on the local women’s rugby team. Adam Woog, The Seattle Times, "If you can’t get to France, maybe these set-in France crime novels will tide you over?," 5 June 2018 Lampkin plays for Team Rise wheelchair rugby club in Irving. Rick Mauch, star-telegram, "Former Bell standout still chasing greatness despite physical challenges," 25 June 2018 Today there are hundreds of volunteers and participants, in addition to offshoot programs that center on golf, rugby, cricket and shinty. Michael Ego, Smithsonian, "A New Therapy Has People With Dementia Sharing Baseball Memories," 30 Mar. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of rugby


1864, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for rugby


Rugby School, Rugby, England

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about rugby

Dictionary Entries near rugby



rug brick



Rugby game

Rugby League

Statistics for rugby

Last Updated

4 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for rugby

The first known use of rugby was in 1864

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for rugby



English Language Learners Definition of rugby

: a game played by two teams in which each team tries to carry or kick a ball over the other team's goal line

More from Merriam-Webster on rugby

Spanish Central: Translation of rugby Encyclopedia article about rugby

Comments on rugby

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


playful or foolish behavior

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!