sports·​man·​ship ˈspȯrts-mən-ˌship How to pronounce sportsmanship (audio)
: conduct (such as fairness, respect for one's opponent, and graciousness in winning or losing) becoming to one participating in a sport

Example Sentences

He's a great player who's also admired for his sportsmanship.
Recent Examples on the Web He was renowned for his honesty and sportsmanship, as well as his brilliance as a pitcher. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, 15 May 2023 For 30 years — not counting the year the season was canceled on account of the pandemic — the league has been teaching neighborhood kids about teamwork, leadership and sportsmanship, qualities essential for success in the game and just about anything else. Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press, 1 May 2023 These actions included hosting an athletics and sportsmanship workshop, holding implicit bias training for athletes and coaches, and engaging all football players in a restorative justice process with assistance from the National Conflict Resolution Center. San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Jan. 2023 Videos have been shared on social media since the Cincinnati Bengals' 27-16 win against the Ravens of Baltimore players - particularly linebacker Roquan Smith - exhibiting what appears to be some questionable sportsmanship during the Week 18 game. Dave Clark, The Enquirer, 10 Jan. 2023 Back in 1998, the World Cup match between these two countries ended up as a demonstration of sportsmanship, helped along by some delicate choreography. Sune Engel Rasmussen, WSJ, 29 Nov. 2022 Crenshaw also addressed Nicklaus’ outstanding sportsmanship. Rob Oller, USA TODAY, 2 June 2022 Influencers and fans have praised Creator Clash for the positive energy, collaboration and good sportsmanship around the event. Daysia Tolentino, NBC News, 11 Apr. 2023 Despite the shady loss, Bron Breakker showed good sportsmanship and handed Hayes the NXT Championship. Alfred Konuwa, Forbes, 1 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sportsmanship.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1897, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of sportsmanship was in 1897

Dictionary Entries Near sportsmanship

Cite this Entry

“Sportsmanship.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2023.

Kids Definition


sports·​man·​ship ˈspō(ə)rt-smən-ˌship How to pronounce sportsmanship (audio)
: fair play, respect for opponents, and gracious behavior in winning or losing

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