sports·​man·​ship | \ ˈspȯrts-mən-ˌship How to pronounce sportsmanship (audio) \

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 The objective of having fun, showing good sportsmanship and learning the game is met each and every week. Emmett Hall,, "Patriots put on explosive performance in Holiday Park flag football action," 7 Nov. 2019 Indeed, Bevin seems to have shown better sportsmanship than Laettner. Billy Kobin, The Courier-Journal, "'Laettner Before Bevin'? Kentucky governor is good sport after shirt takes a 'shot' at him," 29 Oct. 2019 Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson has been nominated for the NFL's Art Rooney sportsmanship award. Aaron Wilson, Houston Chronicle, "Texans' Deshaun Watson nominated for Art Rooney sportsmanship award," 14 Nov. 2019 Both teams took a knee, as has become customary as a show of good sportsmanship. Andrew Turner, Daily Pilot, "La Quinta football pulls out emotional win over Los Amigos," 10 Oct. 2019 Dirtybird’s Inaugural Spelling Bee The Dirtybird activities are meant to be experienced with a sense of humor and good sportsmanship. Morena Duwe, Billboard, "We Lost the Dirtybird Campout Spelling Bee and Other Festival Field Activity Reports," 8 Oct. 2019 She was also honored with the sportsmanship award this year. Los Angeles Times, "Sparks’ Chelsea Gray, Nneka Ogwumike selected All-WNBA again," 6 Oct. 2019 There’s nothing like a show of good sportsmanship to really get the tear ducts flowing. Megan Mccluskey, Time, "People Are Absolutely Here for Naomi Osaka Consoling Coco Gauff After Beating Her at the U.S. Open," 3 Sep. 2019 An anonymous Houston fan took out an ad that ran in the Washington Post after Game 4, to thank Nats fans for their good sportsmanship. Nr Editors, National Review, "The Week," 7 Nov. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of sportsmanship

1897, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sportsmanship

Time Traveler for sportsmanship

Time Traveler

The first known use of sportsmanship was in 1897

See more words from the same year

Statistics for sportsmanship

Last Updated

12 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sportsmanship.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for sportsmanship


How to pronounce sportsmanship (audio)

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 How to pronounce sportsmanship (audio) \

Kids Definition of sportsmanship

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on sportsmanship

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


to help to grow, develop, or succeed

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Intact Latin Quiz

  • roman tablet
  • What did focus mean in Latin?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

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!