sports·​man·​ship | \ ˈspȯrts-mən-ˌship \

Definition of sportsmanship

: conduct (such as fairness, respect for one's opponent, and graciousness in winning or losing) becoming to one participating in a sport

Examples of sportsmanship in a Sentence

He's a great player who's also admired for his sportsmanship.

Recent Examples on the Web

There have also been a whole array of adjacent conversations about sportsmanship, emotion, sexism and double standards. Jason Gay, WSJ, "Naomi Osaka Gets the Last Word," 9 Sep. 2018 But bad sportsmanship is too subjective a concept on which to base a potentially outcome-determinative penalty such as the loss of a game in a tennis match. Alan M. Dershowitz, WSJ, "Bad Sports Don’t Deserve to Lose," 13 Sep. 2018 Check out the amazing sportsmanship at the end of this Minnesota high school baseball final. Stefan Stevenson, star-telegram, "The best viral high school baseball video brings out worst in Internet," 12 June 2018 Green displayed some nice sportsmanship and attempted to help Harden to his feet. Andrew Joseph, For The Win, "James Harden had the pettiest reaction to Draymond Green's offer to help," 28 May 2018 Let Linden’s and the Rabbit’s Porta-Potty incidents serve as guideposts for what does not constitute sportsmanship. Marc Peruzzi, Outside Online, "The Unwritten Rules of Sportsmanship," 15 May 2018 Earlier in the month, Watt scored a 45-yard touchdown in the final minute of regulation as the other team pulled back its defense in a sign of good sportsmanship. Benjamin Brown, Fox News, "Blind Arizona high school football player scores two touchdowns," 19 Sep. 2018 There were the usual kerfuffles about sportsmanship. Michael Rosenberg,, "PyeongChang Winter Games Remind Us Just How Great These Olympians Are," 24 Feb. 2018 There’s an emphasis on teamwork and sportsmanship in Super Mario Party. Megan Farokhmanesh, The Verge, "Super Mario Party would like you to be nicer to your friends," 5 Oct. 2018

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

1897, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for sportsmanship

Last Updated

12 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for sportsmanship

The first known use of sportsmanship was in 1897

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More Definitions for sportsmanship



English Language Learners Definition of sportsmanship

: fair play, respect for opponents, and polite behavior by someone who is competing in a sport or other competition


sports·​man·​ship | \ ˈspȯrts-mən-ˌship \

Kids Definition of sportsmanship

: fair play, respect for opponents, and gracious behavior in winning or losing

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More from Merriam-Webster on sportsmanship

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sportsmanship

Spanish Central: Translation of sportsmanship

Nglish: Translation of sportsmanship for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sportsmanship for Arabic Speakers

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