[spawrts, spohrts]

adjective Also sport.

of or relating to a sport or sports, especially of the open-air or athletic kind: a sports festival.
(of garments, equipment, etc.) suitable for use in open-air sports or for outdoor or informal use.

Origin of sports

First recorded in 1910–15; sport + -s3


[spawrt, spohrt]


an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature, as racing, baseball, tennis, golf, bowling, wrestling, boxing, hunting, fishing, etc.
a particular form of this, especially in the out of doors.
sports, (used with a singular verb) such athletic activities collectively: Sports is important in my life.
diversion; recreation; pleasant pastime.
jest; fun; mirth; pleasantry: What he said in sport was taken seriously.
mockery; ridicule; derision: They made sport of him.
an object of derision; laughingstock.
something treated lightly or tossed about like a plaything.
something or someone subject to the whims or vicissitudes of fate, circumstances, etc.
a sportsman.
Informal. a person who behaves in a sportsmanlike, fair, or admirable manner; an accommodating person: He was a sport and took his defeat well.
Informal. a person who is interested in sports as an occasion for gambling; gambler.
Informal. a flashy person; one who wears showy clothes, affects smart manners, pursues pleasurable pastimes, or the like; a bon vivant.
Biology. an organism or part that shows an unusual or singular deviation from the normal or parent type; mutation.
Obsolete. amorous dalliance.

adjective Also sports.

of, relating to, or used in sports or a particular sport:sport fishing.
suitable for outdoor or informal wear: sport clothes.

verb (used without object)

to amuse oneself with some pleasant pastime or recreation.
to play, frolic, or gambol, as a child or an animal.
to engage in some open-air or athletic pastime or sport.
to trifle or treat lightly: to sport with another's emotions.
to mock, scoff, or tease: to sport at suburban life.
Botany. to mutate.

verb (used with object)

to pass (time) in amusement or sport.
to spend or squander lightly or recklessly (often followed by away).
Informal. to wear, display, carry, etc., especially with ostentation; show off: to sport a new mink coat.
Archaic. to amuse (especially oneself).

Origin of sport

1350–1400; Middle English; aphetic variant of disport
Related formssport·ful, adjectivesport·ful·ly, adverbsport·ful·ness, nounsport·less, adjectiveout·sport, verb (used with object)un·sport·ed, adjectiveun·sport·ful, adjective

Synonyms for sport

1. game. 4. amusement, fun, entertainment. See play. 19. romp, caper. 21. toy. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sports

Contemporary Examples of sports

Historical Examples of sports

  • Had you rather witness the sports of the gymnasia than the works of artists?


    Lydia Maria Child

  • He joined in their sports, and was too much interested to take note of time.

    Welsh Fairy Tales

    William Elliott Griffis

  • It had been the most exciting, the most savage of all sports—a man hunt!

  • Edwin and Imogen had been united in the sports of earliest infancy.


    William Godwin

  • Why, yes, there are plenty of ‘sports’—of a kind—in this place.

    The Law-Breakers

    Ridgwell Cullum

British Dictionary definitions for sports



(modifier) relating to, concerned with, or used in sportssports equipment
(modifier) relating to or similar to a sports carsports seats
Also called: sports day British a meeting held at a school or college for competitions in various athletic events



an individual or group activity pursued for exercise or pleasure, often involving the testing of physical capabilities and taking the form of a competitive game such as football, tennis, etc
such activities considered collectively
any particular pastime indulged in for pleasure
the pleasure derived from a pastime, esp hunting, shooting, or fishingwe had good sport today
playful or good-humoured jokingto say a thing in sport
derisive mockery or the object of such mockeryto make sport of someone
someone or something that is controlled by external influencesthe sport of fate
informal (sometimes qualified by good, bad, etc) a person who reacts cheerfully in the face of adversity, esp a good loser
informal a person noted for being scrupulously fair and abiding by the rules of a game
informal a person who leads a merry existence, esp a gamblerhe's a bit of a sport
Australian and NZ informal a form of address used esp between males
  1. an animal or plant that differs conspicuously in one or more aspects from other organisms of the same species, usually because of a mutation
  2. an anomalous characteristic of such an organism


(tr) informal to wear or display in an ostentatious or proud mannershe was sporting a new hat
(intr) to skip about or frolic happily
to amuse (oneself), esp in outdoor physical recreation
(intr often foll by with) to dally or trifle (with)
(tr often foll by away) rare to squander (time or money)sporting one's life away
(intr often foll by with) archaic to make fun (of)
(intr) biology to produce or undergo a mutation
See also sports
Derived Formssporter, nounsportful, adjectivesportfully, adverbsportfulness, noun

Word Origin for sport

C15 sporten, variant of disporten to disport
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 sports

atheltic games and contests, by 1660s, from sport (n.). Meaning "sports section of a newspaper" is 1913. Sports fan attested from 1921. Sportswear is from 1912. Sports car attested by 1914; so called for its speed and power:

I have just returned from the south of France, passing through Lyons, where I visited the [Berliet] works with my car, and was shown the new model 25 h.p. "sports" car, and was so impressed with this that I immediately ordered one on my return to London. [letter in "The Autocar," Jan. 7, 1914]



c.1400, "to take pleasure, to amuse oneself," from Anglo-French disport, Old French desport "pastime, recreation, pleasure," from desporter "to divert, amuse, please, play" (see disport). Sense of "to amuse oneself by active exercise in open air or taking part in some game" is from late 15c. Meaning "to wear" is from 1778. Related: Sported; sporting.



mid-15c., "pleasant pastime," from sport (v.). Meaning "game involving physical exercise" first recorded 1520s. Original sense preserved in phrases such as in sport "in jest" (mid-15c.). Sense of "stylish man" is from 1861, American English, probably because they lived by gambling and betting on races. Meaning "good fellow" is attested from 1881 (e.g. be a sport, 1913). Sport as a familiar form of address to a man is from 1935, Australian English. The sport of kings was originally (1660s) war-making.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper