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Origin of team

First recorded before 900; Middle English teme (noun), Old English tēam “child-bearing, brood, offspring, set of draft beasts”; cognate with Dutch toom “bridle, reins,” German Zaum, Old Norse taumr

grammar notes for team


in·ter·team, adjectiveun·der·teamed, adjectiveun·teamed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does team mean?

A team is a group of people who work together in a joint action, as in Our Academic Decathlon team was made up of some of the smartest kids in our school.

A team is also a group of people on one side of a contest or game, such as a soccer team or a trivia team.

A team is also two or more draft animals, such as horses, harnessed together to pull something, like a plow or a cart.

To team up is to form a group to work together, as in Miles and Lex teamed up to study for the big science test next month.

Example: My team is working hard on these software solutions for streaming platforms.

Where does team come from?

The first records of the term team come from before the 900s. It comes from the Old English tēam, meaning “a set of animals used to pull a load.” As time went on, the term for a group of animals was eventually expanded to also mean a group of people.

The most common use of team describes one side of a competition or sport, such as a football team or soccer team. Similarly, team can be used as an adjective as in team sport or team project.

When referring to draft animals, to team means to harness the animals together or drive them, as in When her tractor broke down, the farmer teamed her two horses to pull an old-fashioned plow in order to get the work done.

Did you know … ?

What are some other forms related to team

  • interteam (adjective)
  • underteamed (adjective)
  • unteamed (adjective)
  • teamer (noun)

What are some synonyms for team?

What are some words that share a root or word element with team

What are some words that often get used in discussing team?

How is team used in real life?

Team is a commonly used word to describe two or more people who are working together or playing on the same side of a game.

Try using team!

Which of the following is NOT a synonym for team?

A. squad
B. group
C. individual
D. crew

How to use team in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for team

/ (tiːm) /

noun (sometimes functioning as plural)

Word Origin for team

Old English team offspring; related to Old Frisian tām bridle, Old Norse taumr chain yoking animals together, Old High German zoum bridle
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