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 During a dead ball, Hogan sidled up to a talkative player in need of a lesson in sportsmanship. John Branch, New York Times, "A Referee Pursues Her Calling in the Men’s Game," 7 Dec. 2020 One unnamed player reportedly was banned from competing for 12 months and all players must take a sportsmanship course. Ryan Gaydos, Fox News, "Florida HS football game that featured Blue Lives Matter flag, anthem kneeling ends in brawl," 6 Dec. 2020 Calais Campbell is the team’s nominee for the seventh annual Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award, which recognizes players who exemplify outstanding sportsmanship on the field. Daniel Oyefusi,, "Ravens QB Robert Griffin III ‘insisted’ on playing through hamstring injury vs. Steelers," 3 Dec. 2020 The three-minute video was approaching 10,000 views on Twitter when the NFL announced Thursday that Joey Bosa had been nominated for its highest award for sportsmanship. Jeff Miller, Los Angeles Times, "In drop-the-mic performance, Chargers’ Joey Bosa exudes that he’s a good sport," 3 Dec. 2020 At the start of sessions, the coaches set up activities other than golf that promote teamwork, sportsmanship, interpersonal skills and physical fitness. Vincent T. Davis,, "Lifelong educator uses golf to teach children about life," 23 Nov. 2020 Mullen was issued a reprimand by the Southeastern Conference and fined $25,000 for violating SEC bylaws governing sportsmanship following Saturday’s football game between the University of Missouri and University of Florida. Wally Hall, Arkansas Online, "OPINION | WALLY HALL: Gators coach escalated melee by charging onto field," 2 Nov. 2020 Each team nominates one player presented each year to an NFL player who best demonstrates the qualities of on-field sportsmanship, including fair play, respect for the game and opponents, and integrity in competition. Dan Labbe, cleveland, "Browns Nick Chubb nominated for Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award; 3 Browns players lead in Pro Bowl voting," 4 Dec. 2020 Sometimes hatred, bitterness, self-pity or disappointment override any notion of sportsmanship. Bruce Jenkins,, "Is Tom Brady losing it? An all-time great showing signs of unraveling," 27 Nov. 2020

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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Time Traveler for sportsmanship

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The first known use of sportsmanship was in 1897

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Statistics for sportsmanship

Last Updated

23 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sportsmanship.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on sportsmanship

Nglish: Translation of sportsmanship for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sportsmanship for Arabic Speakers

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