[bas-kit-bawl, bah-skit-]


a game played by two teams of usually five players each on a rectangular court having a raised basket or goal at each end, points being scored by tossing the ball through the opponent's basket.
the round, inflated ball, approximately 30 inches (76 cm) in circumference, used in this game.

Origin of basketball

An Americanism dating back to 1890–95; basket + ball1
Related formspro·bas·ket·ball, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for basketball

ball, B-ball

Examples from the Web for basketball

Contemporary Examples of basketball

Historical Examples of basketball

  • You know she was on the crew and the basketball team and the hockey team at college.


    Jane Abbott

  • "Yes—you had to win the basketball game," he nodded with a judicious appreciation.


    Jane Abbott

  • Many members were not interested in basketball, except to look on.

  • The boys won't dance with me, and the girls shut me out of basketball.


    Sewell Ford

  • He could teach them basketball and of course he could coach their baseball team.

    Tutors' Lane

    Wilmarth Lewis

British Dictionary definitions for basketball



a game played by two opposing teams of five men (or six women) each, usually on an indoor court. Points are scored by throwing the ball through an elevated horizontal metal hoop
the inflated ball used in this game
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 basketball

1892, American English, from basket + ball (n.1). The game was invented 1891 by James A. Naismith (1861-1939), physical education instructor in Springfield, Massachusetts, U.S.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper