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 There were 22 finalists and 11 winners in as many categories including recognition for educators, health-care workers, animal advocates, military heroes, personal triumphs, sportsmanship and more. Usa Today Network Ventures Staff, USA TODAY, 23 Dec. 2021 The award is handed out annually by each NFL team to the player who best exemplifies courage, inspiration and sportsmanship. Nate Atkins, The Indianapolis Star, 21 Dec. 2021 The award recognizes players around the league who exemplify outstanding sportsmanship on the field. Bob Mcmanaman, The Arizona Republic, 10 Dec. 2021 The award is presented annually to an NFL player who demonstrates on-field sportsmanship and integrity in competition. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, 9 Dec. 2021 Launched in 1954, the SI’s Sportsperson of the Year award has recognized the athlete, coach or team who best represents the spirit and ideals of sportsmanship, character and performance. Brett Shweky,, 30 Nov. 2021 The boys basketball team will be able to redeem their chance to host postseason contests in the 2022-2023 season if the sportsmanship workshop and game management training are completed, the district said. Kristen Taketa, San Diego Union-Tribune, 23 Nov. 2021 Cal can teach the world a lesson in honor, justice and sportsmanship. Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, 22 Nov. 2021 India captain Virat Kohli, a renowned firebrand, was applauded for his sportsmanship after India were upstaged by underdog Pakistan in the Champions Trophy final in 2017. Tristan Lavalette, Forbes, 22 Oct. 2021

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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The first known use of sportsmanship was in 1897

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Dictionary Entries Near sportsmanship



sports medicine

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Last Updated

24 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sportsmanship.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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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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