• synonyms


  1. a loud noise or clamor, especially of a disturbing or confusing kind; din; uproar: The traffic made a terrible racket in the street below.
  2. social excitement, gaiety, or dissipation.
  3. an organized illegal activity, such as bootlegging or the extortion of money from legitimate business people by threat or violence.
  4. a dishonest scheme, trick, business, activity, etc.: the latest weight-reducing racket.
  5. Usually the rackets. organized illegal activities: Some say that the revenue from legalized gambling supports the rackets.
  6. Slang.
    1. an occupation, livelihood, or business.
    2. an easy or profitable source of livelihood.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to make a racket or noise.
  2. to take part in social gaiety or dissipation.
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Origin of racket1

1555–65; 1890–95 for def 6; metathetic variant of dial. rattick; see rattle1
Can be confusedracket racquet




  1. a light bat having a netting of catgut or nylon stretched in a more or less oval frame and used for striking the ball in tennis, the shuttlecock in badminton, etc.
  2. the short-handled paddle used to strike the ball in table tennis.
  3. rackets, (used with a singular verb) racquet(def 1).
  4. a snowshoe made in the form of a tennis racket.
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Also rac·quet (for defs 1, 2, 4).

Origin of racket2

1490–1500; < Middle French raquette, rachette, perhaps < Arabic rāḥet, variant of rāḥah palm of the hand
Related formsrack·et·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for rackets

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • As long as I ignore their rackets they accept me in their midst, talk freely with me around.

    This One Problem

    M. C. Pease

  • Towards the end of the game Cresswell and Cartwright walked up with their rackets.

    Follow My leader

    Talbot Baines Reed

  • The wings are of a purple-brown, as is the tail; but the rackets are black, shot with green.

    The Western World

    W.H.G. Kingston

  • We had to take our rackets off, for it was so rocky and uneven that we could not use them.

    Ben Comee

    M. J. (Michael Joseph) Canavan

  • I lit a pipe and waited for Henry to finish his game of rackets.

    Happy Days

    Alan Alexander Milne

British Dictionary definitions for rackets


  1. (functioning as singular)
    1. a game similar to squash played in a large four-walled court by two or four players using rackets and a small hard ball
    2. (as modifier)a rackets court; a rackets championship
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  1. a noisy disturbance or loud commotion; clamour; din
  2. gay or excited revelry, dissipation, etc
  3. an illegal enterprise carried on for profit, such as extortion, fraud, prostitution, drug peddling, etc
  4. slang a business or occupationwhat's your racket?
  5. music
    1. a medieval woodwind instrument of deep bass pitch
    2. a reed stop on an organ of deep bass pitch
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  1. (intr often foll by about) rare to go about gaily or noisily, in search of pleasure, excitement, etc
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Word Origin

C16: probably of imitative origin; compare rattle 1



  1. a bat consisting of an open network of nylon or other strings stretched in an oval frame with a handle, used to strike the ball in tennis, badminton, etc
  2. a snowshoe shaped like a tennis racket
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  1. (tr) to strike (a ball, shuttlecock, etc) with a racket
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See also rackets

Word Origin

C16: from French raquette, from Arabic rāhat palm of the hand
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 rackets



"loud noise," 1560s, perhaps imitative. Klein compares Gaelic racaid "noise." Meaning "dishonest activity" (1785) is perhaps from racquet, via notion of "game," reinforced by rack-rent "extortionate rent" (1590s), from rack (n.1).

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"handled paddle or netted bat used in tennis, etc.;" see racquet.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper