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[ruhg-bee] /ˈrʌg bi/
a city in E Warwickshire, in central England.
a boys' preparatory school located there: founded 1567.
Also, rugby. Also called rugger, Rugby football. a form of football, played between two teams of 15 members each, that differs from soccer in freedom to carry the ball, block with the hands and arms, and tackle, and is characterized chiefly by continuous action and prohibition against the use of substitute players.
Origin of Rugby
probably earlier than 1835-40 for def 3 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for Rugby
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Courage educated into them at Eton or Rugby, in many a fight and 289 scuffle.

    An Orkney Maid Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr
  • The great window over the arch is a striking feature of the Rugby gateway.

    Tom Brown at Rugby Thomas Hughes
  • No; Rugby football is not much appreciated by the 9th Brigade.

  • You know that he and I were at Rugby together, and then at Oxford?

    Tom Gerrard Louis Becke
  • Rugby and Swindon have quadrupled their population in the same time.

    Lives of the Engineers Samuel Smiles
British Dictionary definitions for Rugby


Also called rugger. a form of football played with an oval ball in which the handling and carrying of the ball is permitted
(Canadian) another name for Canadian football
Word Origin
C19: named after the public school at Rugby, where it was first played


a town in central England, in E Warwickshire: famous public school, founded in 1567. Pop: 61 988 (2001)
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
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Word Origin and History for Rugby



type of football, 1864, after Rugby, public school where the game was played, from city of Rugby in Warwickshire, central England. The place name is Rocheberie (1086), probably "fortified place of a man called *Hroca;" with second element from Old English burh (dative byrig), replaced by 13c. with Old Norse -by "village" due to the influence of Danish settlers. Otherwise it might be *Rockbury today. Or first element perhaps is Old English hroc "rook." Rugby Union formed 1871. Slang rugger for "rugby" is from 1893.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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