• synonyms


[dur-bee; for 1, 2 also British dahr-bee]
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  1. a city in Derbyshire in central England.
  2. Derbyshire.
  3. a city in S Connecticut.


[dur-bee; British dahr-bee]
noun, plural Der·bies.
  1. a race for three-year-old horses that is run annually at Epsom Downs, near London, England: first run in 1780.
  2. any of certain other important annual horse races, usually for three-year-old horses, especially the Kentucky Derby.
  3. (lowercase) a race or contest, usually one open to all who wish to enter and offering a prize for the winner.
  4. (lowercase) any endeavor or venture regarded as a competition: to win the gubernatorial derby.
  5. (lowercase) Also called bowler. a stiff felt hat with rounded crown and narrow brim, worn chiefly by men.

Origin of Derby2

First recorded in 1830–40; after Edward Stanley, 12th Earl of Derby (died 1834), who instituted the race
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for derby

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • The latest proprietor of those times was James, Earl of Derby.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

  • But about the Derby, I have reasons for wishing to win that race, reasons other than the money.


    W. A. Fraser

  • It's just three days till the Derby, an' we've got to give him a strong workout.


    W. A. Fraser

  • The day before the Derby, the 12th of the month, Alan asked his day's leave and got it.


    W. A. Fraser

  • A thought flashed through his mind that it might be the Derby.


    W. A. Fraser

British Dictionary definitions for derby


noun plural -bies
  1. US and Canadian a stiff felt hat with a rounded crown and narrow curved brimAlso called (in Britain and certain other countries): bowler


  1. the Derby an annual horse race run at Epsom Downs, Surrey, since 1780: one of the English flat-racing classics
  2. any of various other horse races
  3. local Derby a football match between two teams from the same area

Word Origin

C18: named after the twelfth Earl of Derby (died 1834), who founded the horse race at Epsom Downs in 1780


  1. a city in central England, in Derby unitary authority, Derbyshire: engineering industries (esp aircraft engines and railway rolling stock); university (1991). Pop: 229 407 (2001)
  2. a unitary authority in central England, in Derbyshire. Pop: 233 200 (2003 est). Area: 78 sq km (30 sq miles)
  3. a firm-textured pale-coloured type of cheese
  4. sage Derby a green-and-white Derby cheese flavoured with sage


  1. Earl of. title of Edward George Geoffrey Smith Stanley. 1799–1869, British statesman; Conservative prime minister (1852; 1858–59; 1866–68)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for derby


type of hat," manufactured in U.S. 1850, name appears 1870, perhaps from annual Derby horse race in England, where this type of hat was worn. Race was begun 1780 by the 12th Earl of Derby; the name was used for any major horse race after 1875. Derby the English shire is Old English Deorby "deer village," from deor "deer" + by "habitation, homestead," from a Scandinavian source (see bylaw).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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