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sport, n.1

Forms:  late Middle English spoort, late Middle English spoorte, late Middle English sprot (transmission error), late Middle English–1600s sporte, late Middle English– sport; Scottish pre-1700 sporte, pre-1700 1700s– sport. (Show Less)
Frequency (in current use):  Show frequency band information
Origin: Formed within English, by clipping or shortening. Etymon: disport n.
Etymology: Shortened < disport n.
The sense development may have been influenced by association with classical Latin lūdus   play, game, recreation, amusement, amorous play, fun, frivolity, entertainment, show, (in plural, lūdī  ) public games, gladiatorial school, in post-classical Latin also hunting (late 2nd or early 3rd cent. in Tertullian) (see ludus n.), and classical Latin lūsus   action of playing, game, amorous play, entertainment, show, joke, prank. Classical Latin lūdus   was often used to denote a recreation chiefly of young men, involving physical exercise and military training. There were three types of public games called lūdī  : the lūdī circenses   ‘circus games’ which consisted of chariot-racing, the lūdī scaenicī   ‘theatrical games’, incorporating mime, pantomime, and plays, and (thirdly) gladiatorial combats. Classical Latin lūdī   was also occasionally used to denote public games of ancient Greece, such as the Olympic Games (lūdī Olympiī  ) which comprised various athletic contests, wrestling, boxing, and horse racing.
With the sense development compare also game n., play n.  
In sense 4   the English word has been borrowed into numerous other languages, as e.g. French sport   (1828), Italian sport   (1829), German Sport   (1828), Swedish sport   (1857), Dutch sport   (1866), Danish sport   (1866), etc. Compare also Spanish deporte   sport (late 19th cent.), specific use (after English sport n.1) of deporte  disport n.
 I. Senses relating to play, pleasure, or entertainment. Cf. older disport n.

 a. Diversion, entertainment, fun. Frequently with modifying adjective (as good, great, etc.). Now somewhat archaic.In quots. 1590   and 1645   personified.

a1425   Medulla Gram. (Stonyhurst) f. 37   Lecta, sporte of redynge.
a1500  (?a1425)    Ipomedon (Harl.) (1889) l. 601 (MED)   Whan they had take hyr sporte in halle, The kynge to counselle gan hyr calle.
?1518   Cocke Lorelles Bote sig. B.ij   To searche theyr bodyes fayre and clere Therof they had good sporte.
1548   Hall's Vnion: Henry VIII f. lxix   The Ladies had good sporte to se these auncient persones Maskers.
1590   E. Spenser Muiopotmos 290   Before the Bull she pictur'd winged Loue, with his yong brother Sport.
1609   W. Shakespeare Troilus & Cressida i. i. 115   But to the sport abrode are you bound thither?  View more context for this quotation
1645   J. Milton L'Allegro in Poems 31   Sport that wrincled Care derides, And Laughter holding both his sides.
1648   T. Gage Eng.-Amer. 193   The good Master thought it bad sport to see Swords at his breast.
1663   S. Patrick Parable of Pilgrim (1687) xxii. 232   Let them see that you can rest from your labours, and yet not spend your whole time in sport and play.
1725   E. Fenton in A. Pope et al. tr. Homer Odyssey I. iv. 850   Aside, sequester'd from the vast resort, Antinous sate spectator of the sport.
1759   S. Johnson Prince of Abissinia II. xliii. 121   This has been the sport and sometimes the labour of my solitude.
1809   B. H. Malkin tr. A. R. Le Sage Adventures Gil Blas II. v. i. 284   If I come across them to-morrow..they shall see such sport as will be no sport to them.
1821   J. Clare Village Minstrel I. lxxix. 42   Great sport to them was jumping in a sack.
1847   W. M. Thackeray Vanity Fair (1848) xv. 131   ‘I'm glad you think it good sport, brother,’ she continued.
1904   T. Hardy Dynasts: Pt. 1st 18   I saw good sport therein, and pâean'd the Will That It restrained so stultifying a move!
1984   N. Guild Berlin Warning (1985) ii. 24   Chasing Jerry fighters back across the Channel had been great sport.

a1425—1984(Hide quotations)


 b. Success, pleasure, or recreation derived from or afforded by an activity, originally and esp. hunting, shooting, or fishing. Frequently with adjectives expressing the level of success.

?a1450   Percy Poem on Falconry (Yale) l. 644 in Studier i Modern Språkvetenskap (1968) 3 30   A hoby is gode to the larke..Redely she wille gare hem darke... In hem gode sport þu shalt fynde.
1575   G. Gascoigne Noble Arte Venerie xl. 111   In such sorte as the houndes should not be able to sent it so well, but should ouershoote the chase, and that would marre the sporte.
1592   B. Rich Aduentures Brusanus ii. viii. 73   I can most fitly compare louers to hunters, that likes better of the sporte, then they doe of the game it selfe when they haue it.
1612   J. Webster White Divel sig. H   Yong Leuerets stand not long; and womens anger Should, like their flight, procure a little sport.
1629   L. Carlell Deserving Favourite iv. i. sig. I4 v   These old fat Deere make no sport at all.
1653   I. Walton Compl. Angler ii   I am..glad to have so fair an entrance to this day's sport .  View more context for this quotation
1735   W. Somervile Chace iii. 141   A chosen few Alone the Sport enjoy, nor droop beneath Their pleasing Toils.
1773   J. Cook Jrnl. 2 Apr. (1969) II. 115   Some [wild fowl] we killed and returned on board at 10 o'Clock in the evening when I learnt that the other party had but indiffert sport.
1787   T. Best Conc. Treat. Angling (ed. 2) 130   The higher an angler goes up the Thames,..the more sport, and the greater variety of fish he will meet with.
1828   W. Scott Fair Maid of Perth viii, in Chron. Canongate 2nd Ser. I. 218   I was thinking to see my hawks fly, and your company will make the sport more pleasant.
1838   G. P. R. James Robber I. ii. 21   Sir Walter desired me to compliment you, sir,..and to wish you good sport.
1864   J. H. Burton Scot Abroad I. iii. 114   The Scots lords were grieved..that these should return without having any sport..which the Border wars afforded.
1881   E. D. Brickwood in Encycl. Brit. XII. 202/2   When well-known winners entered for a race, other competitors withdrew, and sport was spoiled.
1885   ‘Mrs. Alexander’ At Bay iv. 62   Pressing Glynn to come down..for the twelfth of August, promising him good sport.
1915   J. Buchan Thirty-nine Steps vii. 178   We discussed sport..for he had hunted a bit in his day.
1972   Shooting Times & Country Mag. 27 May 17/3   The gun who took my place fared even worse than I did with regard to the amount of sport which he obtained.
1998   Falconers & Raptor Conservation Mag. Spring 7/2   The dog group had particularly good sport in the low ground rushes.

?a1450—1998(Hide quotations)


c. Lovemaking, amorous play; (also) sexual intercourse; an instance of this, an amorous exploit. Obsolete.In later use frequently punning on sense 1b.

c1450  (c1400)    Sowdon of Babylon (1881) l. 2087 (MED)   xxxti maydens, lo..The fayrest of hem ye chese; Take your sporte.
c1475  (?c1300)    Guy of Warwick (Caius) l. 3176 (MED)   In-to the Chambre lete vs goo, Amonges the maydens some sportes to doo.
?c1500   Mary Magdalene (Digby) l. 459   Prynt yow in sportes whych best doth yow plese.
1568  (a1500)    Freiris Berwik 170 in W. T. Ritchie Bannatyne MS (1930) IV. 266   Than in hett luve thay talkit vderis till Thus at þair sport now will I leif þame still.
a1616   W. Shakespeare Othello (1622) ii. i. 227   When the blood is made dull with the act of sport .  View more context for this quotation
1617   F. Moryson Itinerary iii. 48   Italians love a fearefull wench, that often flies from Venus sport.
1697   J. Dryden tr. Virgil Georgics iii, in tr. Virgil Wks. 102   When now the Nuptial time Approaches for the stately Steed to climb;..Distend his Chine, and pamper him for sport .  View more context for this quotation
1772   T. Bridges Burlesque Transl. Homer (rev. ed.) i. 4   In England, if you trust report, Whether in country, town, or court, The parsons daughters make best sport.
1787   C. Morris Compl. Coll. Songs (ed. 5) ii. sig. *B   As he knew in our state that the women had weight, He chose one well hung for good sport, Sir.

c1450—1787(Hide quotations)


 a. An activity providing diversion, entertainment, or fun; a pastime.

c1443   R. Pecock Reule of Crysten Religioun (1927) 242 (MED)   If a man wone him silf bi summe þouȝtis or spechis..forto gendre into him desijr to heuenly placis, myrþis, sportis, dignitees and officis to be had in heuene, [etc.].
c1475   tr. Secreta Secret. (Tripolitanus abbrev.) (1977) 362 (MED)   Theise thinges folowinge ben counfortable to nature..good spoortes, to see richesse, to haue grete reuerence, [etc.].
1511   H. Watson tr. St. Bernardino da Siena Chirche of Euyll Men & Women sig. Bvv   Some cursed blynde folkes say that it is none yll for to playe, & that it is but a sporte.
1526   W. Bonde Pylgrimage of Perfection iii. sig. EEiii   Myrthe and sportes maketh the soule remyse, slacke, and neglygent.
1609   W. Shakespeare Pericles xxii. 63   Your present kindenes makes my past miseries sports .  View more context for this quotation
1678   Young Man's Calling 71   They are too commonly seeming sports, real vexations.
1780   S. Johnson Let. 10 June (1992) III. 271   The high sport was to burn the Jayls. This was a good rabble trick.
1790   W. Cowper Let. 2 May (1982) III. 374   I am still at the old sport; Homer all the morning and Homer all the Evening.
1831   W. Scott Count Robert ii, in Tales of my Landlord 4th Ser. I. 66   But I will settle this sport presently.
1899   Q. Rev. Apr. 456   The crowd..cheerfully joined the sport of priest-baiting.
1904   ‘O. Henry’ Cabbages & Kings Proem 7   It shall be a duty and a pleasing sport to wander with Momus beneath the tropic stars.
1998   Time 2 Mar. 68/3   Not even a rich child-queen can reign safely in this sport of revolving crowns.

c1443—1998(Hide quotations)


b. A theatrical performance; a show, play, or interlude. Obsolete.In quot. 1763   echoing Shakespeare's use.

c1475   in Coll. Ordinances Royal Househ. (Harl. 642) (1790) 17 (MED)   For which [feast] he slewe 40,000 kyne and oxen..and other wilde bestes of the woode..with much other purveyaunce of stuffe of vytayle, with many disguisinges, playis, minstralsye, and sportes.
1571   in A. Feuillerat Documents Office of Revels Queen Elizabeth (1908) 129   In sundry Tragedies, Playes, Maskes and Sportes.
1600   W. Shakespeare Midsummer Night's Dream iii. ii. 14   The shallowest thickskinne, of that barraine sort, Who Pyramus presented, in their sport, Forsooke his Scene.  View more context for this quotation
1608   W. Shakespeare Richard II iv. i. 280   Marke..the morall of this sport.
1645   L. Gatford Λόγος Ἀλεξιϕάρμακος 19   Any unecessary [sic] publique meetings or concourse of the people such as Wakes, Feasts, Theatricall sports, Campings, or Football-playes, Dauncings, or the like pastimes.
1763   G. Colman Fairy Tale i. i. 7   Most noble Duke, to us be kind; Be you and all your courtiers blind, That you may not our errors find, But smile upon our sport.

c1475—1763(Hide quotations)


 c. A piece of intellectual or literary playfulness; a jeu d'esprit; (also) a piece of writing characterized by this. With of and distinguishing word, as a sport of terms , a sport of wit , a sport of words , etc. Now rare.

1569   J. Sanford tr. H. C. Agrippa Of Vanitie Artes & Sci. xlvii. f. 61 v   Al this is nothinge els, but a certaine sporte of Allegories, the whiche idle men busied in letters, pointes, and numbers, which this tongue and manner of writtinge dothe easily suffer, accordinge to theire pleasure doo forge and reforge.
a1586   Sir P. Sidney Arcadia (1590) ii. ii. sig. P   My words being so passionate; and shooting so quite contrarie from the markes of Mopsaes worthinesse, she perceiued well enough, whither they were directed: and therefore being so masked, she was contented, as a sporte of witte to attend them.
1633   T. Heywood Eng. Traveller iv. i. sig. I4   What he did, Was but for his Young Master, I allow it Rather as sports of Wit, then iniuries.
1685   E. Stillingfleet Origines Britannicæ iv. 208   I cannot think Learned Men write these things any otherwise, than as Sports of Wit which are intended for the diversion..of the Reader.
1725   W. Broome in A. Pope et al. tr. Homer Odyssey II. ix. Observ. 329   An Author who should introduce such a sport of words upon the stage, even in the Comedy of our days, would meet with small applause.
1774   J. Bryant New Syst. II. 282   Clemens speaks of this Ogdoas, as the νοητος κοσμος: which is certainly a sport of terms.
1830   J. Mackintosh Life T. More in Wks. (1846) I. 423   Enabling the writer to call the whole a mere sport of wit.
1917   Amer. Church Monthly Dec. 256   That is, there inheres in the terms of the proposition itself something which is a negation of success; and to propose it at all is only a sport of words.

1569—1917(Hide quotations)


 a. A matter or incident providing entertainment, diversion, or amusement; a joke, a jest. Now archaic and rare.

?1449   M. Paston in Paston Lett. & Papers (2004) I. 235   If þer myt ben purveyd any mene þat it myt ben dasched..it were a good sport, for þan he wold ben wode.
c1453  (c1437)    Brut (Harl. 53) 574   Sir Iohn Radclif did it for a sport, because it was Saint George day.
c1530   A. Barclay Egloges i. sig. Fiij v   Lo here is a sport, our bottell is contrary To a Cowes vtter [etc.].
1548   T. Cranmer Catechismus sig. Di   The name of God is taken in vayne, when..men make a trifle or a lawghynge sporte of the wordes of holy scripture.
1560   J. Daus tr. J. Sleidane Commentaries f. cxixv   It is a sporte and a pleasaunt syght to see, howe the Rauens wyll stryue amonges them selues for the carion.
1600   W. Shakespeare Merchant of Venice i. iii. 144   In a merrie sport..let the forfaite be nominated for an equall pound of your faire flesh.  View more context for this quotation
1625   F. Bacon Ess. (new ed.) 64   Especially, it is a Sport to see, when a Bold Fellow is out of Countenance.
1671   A. Marvell Let. in Poems & Lett. (1971) II. 323   On this they voted it a Libel, and to be burned by the Hangman. Which was done; but the Sport was, the Hangman burned the Lords, Order with it.
1701   M. Pix Czar of Muscovy ii. 21   Murders and Rapes are but a Sport to thee.
1792   T. Holcroft Anna St. Ives VI. cxv. 225   To deceive in countries where deception is a pastime, authorised, practised, and applauded, is I find something very opposite to what would seem the same thing, in this gloomy land of apathy and phlegm. There it is a sport and a pleasure.
1818   W. Scott Heart of Mid-Lothian ii, in Tales of my Landlord 2nd Ser. IV. 40   I was the same David Deans of whom there was a sport at the Revolution.
1993   P. Sangar Growth Eng. Trade under Mughals ix. 229   It was a sport to the travellers to see these ladies to fall out among themselves about ‘a chipp or a piece of pott’, scolding or railing for 5 or 6 hours at a stretch.

?1449—1993(Hide quotations)


b. Jesting, joking; merriment, mirth. Obsolete.

c1450   Alphabet of Tales (1904) I. 141   He knew sho was bod a symple thyng & ansswerd halfe in sporte & said; ‘Thai sall nevur be savid bod if þai crepe into a hate oven’.
?a1475   Ludus Coventriae (1922) 175 (MED)   Deth kan no sporte; wher I smyte, þer is no grace.
1566   W. Painter Palace of Pleasure I. xlix. f. 295v   The women vnderstanding those wordes, made as though they knewe nothing, and after a little sporte and laughter betweene them: they went to bed.
1589   T. Nashe To Students in R. Greene Menaphon sig. A3   I cease to expose to your sport the picture of those Pamphleters, and Poets, that make a patrimonie of In speech.
1632   F. Quarles Divine Fancies 130   The Persian Court Gave welcome to delights, and youthly sport.
1671   J. Milton Samson Agonistes 396   Thrice I deluded her, and turn'd to sport Her importunity.  View more context for this quotation
1778   F. Burney Let. 27 Aug. in Early Jrnls. & Lett. (1994) III. 105   Dr. Johnson..in the evening..was as lively & full of wit & sport as I have ever seen him.
1827   T. Carlyle Richter in Edinb. Rev. June 187   He thinks as a humourist, he feels, imagines, acts as a humourist; Sport is the element in which his nature lives and works.
1888   in G. Meyer River & People (1965) 168   The men and women are always full of sport; so different from the sombre character of the Argentine or Oriental.

c1450—1888(Hide quotations)


 a. An activity involving physical exertion and skill, esp. (particularly in modern use) one regulated by set rules or customs in which an individual or team competes against another or others. Frequently in plural.In early use the sense of ‘sport’ as a diversion or amusement is paramount; by the 18th and 19th centuries the term was often used with reference to hunting, shooting, and fishing (see blood, field sports at the first element). The consolidation of organized sport (particularly football, rugby, cricket, and athletics) in the 19th cent. reinforced the notion of sport as physical competition (for contact, motor-, racket, spectator, team, water sport, etc., see the first element).

1491   Acts Parl. Scotl. (1814) II. 226/2   In na place of the realme be vsit fut bawis gouff or vthir sic vnproffitable sportis.
?1523   J. Fitzherbert Bk. Husbandry f. liiii   But and thei played small game..than might it be called a good game, a good play, a good sporte, and a good pastyme.
1590   E. Spenser Faerie Queene i. xii. sig. L8   The fry of children yong Their wanton sportes and childish mirth did play.
1604   E. Grimeston tr. J. de Acosta Nat. & Morall Hist. Indies vi. xxviii. 492   The Prelates have laboured to take from them these dances;..but yet they suffer them, for that part of them are but sportes of recreation.
1660   S. Pepys Diary 19 Sept. (1970) I. 248   Some of us fell to Handycapp, a sport that I never knew before.
1697   J. Dryden tr. Virgil Pastorals x, in tr. Virgil Wks. 47   I..bend the Parthian Bow: As if with Sports my Sufferings I could ease.
1746   P. Francis tr. Horace Art of Poetry 546   Monarchs were courted in Pierian Strain, And comic Sports reliev'd the wearied Swain.
1764   O. Goldsmith Traveller 9   The sports of children satisfy the child.
1800   W. Windham Speeches Parl. (1812) I. 338   If we, who have every source of amusement open to us, and yet follow these cruel sports, become rigid censors of the sports of the poor.
1836   C. Dickens Pickwick Papers (1837) vii. 66   I..am delighted to view any sports which may be safely indulged in.
1873   Harper's Mag. Apr. 664/1   In Belgium, indeed, pigeon-racing is a national sport, like horse-racing in England.
1904   St. Nicholas May 667/1   The sports are mostly skating, and skeeing, which is very amusing.
1935   Amer. Girl July 36/3   M. Ducros makes us feel that waterskiing may have airy charms that the older sport, aquaplaning, lacks.
1961   Radio Times 14 Sept. 30/4   Behind the scenes at an international motor race to hear more about this exciting sport from top racing drivers.
1972   Daily Tel. 13 Oct. (Colour Suppl.) 10/3   In America the sport of ‘hang gliding’..is becoming extremely popular.
2007   Ultra Fit 17 v. 105   Modern Pentathlon is one of the world's most demanding sports.

1491—2007(Hide quotations)


 b. In plural. An occasion on which people compete in various athletic or other sporting activities. Cf. game n. 9b.In early use frequently referring to the ancient Olympic Games.

1535   Bible (Coverdale) 2 Macc. iv. 4   What tyme as the Olympiades sportes were played at Tyrus (the kynge him selfe beinge presente).
1594   T. Kyd tr. R. Garnier Cornelia iv. i. 134   Like them that (stryuing at th' Olympian sports To grace themselues with honor of the game) Annoynt theyr sinewes fit for wrestling.
1655   Duchess of Newcastle Worlds Olio iii. iii. 207   Their Sports like the old Olympick Games.
1697   J. Dryden tr. Virgil Æneis v, in tr. Virgil Wks. 330   That Day with solemn Sports I mean to grace.
1723   R. Blackmore Alfred iv. 120   None made more bold Efforts To gain the Prize at old Olympick Sports.
1736   T. Gray Let. 8 May in Corr. T. Gray & W. Mason (1853) 3   Oft in Pisa's sports, his native land Admired that arm.
1860   Chambers's Encycl. I. 519   Athletic sports were first witnessed at Rome 186 b.c.
1892   Isis 27 Apr. 3/1   The Oxford and Cambridge Sports, which were kept at Kensington.
1909   Westm. Gaz. 5 May 12/4   The green committee did not consider that golf was a game likely to be benefited by inclusion in any programme of the Olympic Sports.
1929   Times 4 Feb. 10/2   The crowd..pours into the dale in August to see the fell runners and wrestlers at the Grasmere sports.
1968   G. M. Williams From Scenes like These iii. 54   The first time he'd really noticed her was at the school sports.
1997   A. Smith Like (2001) 183   The field where the shows came in June and where they held the inter-school sports.

1535—1997(Hide quotations)


 c. Participation in activities involving physical exertion and skill, (now) esp. competitive activities regulated by set rules or customs; such activities collectively.

1793   C. Smith Old Manor House I. ii. 48   Her room was in a turret over a sort of lumber-room, where the game-keeper kept his nets and his rods, and where Orlando used to deposit his bow, his cricket-bats, and other instruments of sport.
1863   Meliora Oct. 195   If recreation is found, or pastime is sought in activity or change,..it is called diversion; and if we set ourselves to take part in the amusement,..it constitutes sport.
1884   Longman's Mag. Mar. 492   All other branches of athletic sport..have their ruling bodies, and so has cycling.
1885   ‘Mrs. Alexander’ At Bay iii. 46   I..found he was well up in sporting, or rather turf, matters. There is very little sport in them.
1913   Sat. Evening Post 16 Sept. 16/1   Another indication of the Internationalization of sport may be read in the track games held for Chinese undergraduates of American schools and universities.
1941   Faugh-a-Ballagh 34 84/1   The Company still lives up to its laurels, and in sport is still outstanding. Its cross-country team has won nearly every Inter-Company event, while the soccer team is undefeated.
1989   M. Coren Gilbert iii. 43   Gilbert attempted the game of golf, and was confirmed in his view that sport was not his particular vocation.
2000   Big Issue 20 Mar. 40/2 (advt.)    Down-to-earth SBF..slim and attractive, enjoys sport, interior design, reading, music and adventure.

1793—2000(Hide quotations)

 5. With of, †to.

 a. Something tossed about by natural forces, esp. the wind or waves, as if a plaything.

1594   W. Jones tr. J. Lipsius Sixe Bks. Politickes iii. vi. 49   I Haue shewed you the plaine, and easie wayes, wherein our Counsellers may safely set sailes; but..they may easily become a sport, and pastime to the winde.
1625   T. Adams Three Serm. i. 22   Dust, the sport of the winde, the very slaue of the beesome.
?1644   J. Howe Psal. 4, Vers. 7 2   Those ships..were notwithstanding torne by common Tempests, and made the sport of an ordinary wave.
1667   J. Milton Paradise Lost ii. 181   While we..Caught in a fierie Tempest shall be hurl'd Each on his rock transfixt, the sport and prey Of racking whirlwinds.  View more context for this quotation
1697   J. Dryden tr. Virgil Æneis vi, in tr. Virgil Wks. 365   But, oh! commit not thy prophetick Mind To flitting Leaves, the sport of ev'ry Wind.
1705   J. Addison Remarks Italy 7   When the Winds in Southern Quarters rise, Ships, from their Anchors torn, become their sport.
1788   Massachusetts Spy 2 Oct. 3/3   For 24 hours she was the sport of the waves.
1837   T. Carlyle French Revol. I. iii. viii. 155   Blown, like a kindled rag, the sport of winds.
1887   C. Bowen tr. Virgil Æneid i, in tr. Virgil in Eng. Verse 92   Long tossed on the waves, and a sport by the hurricanes made.
1908   W. Campbell Morning v. i, in Poet. Trag. 246   Why am I The spite and sport of ice and wind and snow, A palsied spectre?
1994   P. Riley tr. F. Fénelon Telemachus vi. 86   May you perish in the midst of the sea, while you are beholding it at a distance; and may your body, after being the sport of the waves, be cast upon the shore of this island.

1594—1994(Hide quotations)


 b. An object of amusement, mockery, ridicule, etc.; a plaything, a laughing stock; the butt of a joke.

1598   N. Ling Politeuphuia (new ed.) f. 201   Man is the example of imbecillity, pray of time, sport of fortune and enuy, the image of vnconstancy, and the very seate of fleame, choller, and rewmes.
1615   A. Stafford Heavenly Dogge 4   Man,..the son of Calamity, the example of Imbecility, the spoyle of Time, the sport of fortune, the image of Change.
1693   Humours & Conversat. Town 80   They cannot see how they are the Sport and Laughter of ev'ry Company they come into.
1694   T. Southerne Fatal Marriage ii   Am I then the sport, The Game of Fortune, and her laughing Fools?
1711   A. Pope Ess. Crit. 30   And while Self-Love each jealous Writer rules, Contending Wits become the Sport of Fools.
a1766   F. Sheridan Hist. Nourjahad (1767) 147   Live thyself a prey to remorse and disappointment, the slave of passions never to be gratified, and a sport to the vicissitudes of fortune.
1796   J. Morse Amer. Universal Geogr. (new ed.) I. 330   Rhode Island was doomed to be the sport of a blind and singular policy.
1853   F. D. Maurice Prophets & Kings Old Test. xii. 205   Those who treated the divine covenant as a fantasy and a fiction, became themselves the sports of every fantasy and fiction.
1898   T. Watts-Dunton Aylwin xi. iii   You, whom Destiny..has taken in hand as a special sport.
1944   Times 12 May 3/2   They were allowed on the hatchways once a day, when they became the sport of the Japanese soldiers, who inflicted indescribable indignities on them from the decks above.
1990   A. Stevens On Jung vi. 146   He no longer saw himself as a sport of cruel nature.

1598—1990(Hide quotations)


 a. A plant (or part of a plant), animal, etc., which exhibits abnormal or striking variation from the parent type, esp. in form or colour; a spontaneous mutation; a new variety produced in this way. Cf. sport v. 8, sport of nature at Phrases 4a.

1834   Paxton's Mag. Bot. 1 190   This and the three preceding [varieties of chrysanthemum] doubtless sport mutually into each other, and are perpetuated by cuttings of their respective sports.
1854   Poultry Chron. 1 282   The common variety [of peafowl] and the white, which latter is, I presume, an albinosport’ from the former.
1884   Harper's Mag. Aug. 465/1   Dinsmore, born of bony..New England, was yet like a ‘sport’ of some far-descending Visigoth strain.
1890   Hardwicke's Sci.-gossip 26 32   The nectarine, which is usually regarded as only a sport from the peach.
1957   M. Hadfield Brit. Trees 151   The Lombardy poplar was once generally held to be a sport from the southern European black poplar. It is now said to be a true species.
1980   K. Thear in K. Thear & A. Fraser Small Farmer's Guide to Raising Livestock & Poultry (U.S. ed.) ii. 48/2   Buff geese originally appeared as sports from the common grey goose.
1996   Pract. Gardening June 18/2   [Lavatera] ‘Barnsley’ is a sport of ‘Rosea’ and is apt to revert in time.

1834—1996(Hide quotations)


 b. figurative.

1889   Daily News 14 Feb. 4/8   That grotesque ‘sport’ of scientific development, Professor Tyndall.
1893   Nation 56 66/1   They belong with Emily Dickinson's verses—the ‘sports’ of literary decadence.
1954   N. R. Ker in Ancrene Riwle p. xii   If the whole method of writing and the orthography of the Caius manuscript were typically English the aberrant r could be explained..as a ‘sport’ by an English scribe in a period of experiment and change.
1971   Lancet 9 Oct. 811/1   I found myself immersed in a tangle of phys- words... Except for a few sports like ‘physbuttock’ (from fizz) they all come from two roots.
1989   N. Sherry Life Graham Greene I. v. 70   The pack drives out the ‘sport’; society finds its scapegoat.

1889—1989(Hide quotations)

 7. A person concerned with or interested in sport; a sportsman or sportswoman.

 a. U.S. slang. A gambler, a betting man. Cf. sportsman n. 1b.

1856   Harper's Mag. Dec. 60/1   The very word [sic] ‘sport’ and ‘sportsman’ have been perverted from their old English significations to mean gaming and gamblers.
1861   W. H. Russell My Diary North & South (1863) I. 40   Some dozen of the most over-dressed men I ever saw were pointed out to me as ‘sports’; that is, men who lived by gambling-houses and betting on races.
1874   Hotten's Slang Dict. (rev. ed.) 305   Sport, an American term for a gambler or turfite—more akin to our sporting man than to our sportsman.
1892   Welsh Rev. 1 689   ‘Unhappy Mr. Collings, the victim of a thousand sports,’ I murmured, americanising my language for the nonce.
1952   J. Lait & L. Mortimer U.S.A. Confidential iv. xxxi. 375   Now Coast Haoles—native slang for mainland whites—have taken over with aloha shirts, fat dames in mink coats and..gamblers and sports.
a1994   D. Barker Buddy Bolden & Last Days of Storyville (2000) ii. 61   There was a racket that was very embarrassing to the young pimps, hustlers, gamblers and sports.

1856—a1994(Hide quotations)


 b. A person who follows or participates in sport. Now rare.

1873   C. G. Leland Egyptian Sketch-bk. 69   Such hardened sinners as old pigeon-shooting sports.
1890   Pall Mall Gaz. 30 June 3/3   All modern sports will be delighted with the picture of the cosy parlour in which the ancient sports are enjoying themselves after the fatigues of the ‘First.’
1894   J. D. Astley Fifty Years of my Life II. 93   There was a houseful of ‘sports’ of both sexes.
1914   E. A. Powell End of Trail xiii. 370   In Victoria almost any one can be a sport, if not a sportsman.
1953   S. Bellow Adventures of Augie March viii. 153   I..could talk firmly and knowingly to rich young girls, to country-club sports and university students.

1873—1953(Hide quotations)


 c. A fair-minded, generous, or sportsmanlike person; a lively, sociable person. Also (with modifying adjective): a person who responds well (poorly, etc.) to teasing, defeat, or a similarly trying situation, esp. in a good sport .

1881   Ld. Rhondda Let. 30 Oct. in D. A. Thomas Viscount Rhondda ii. 24   X—— didn't make herself particularly unpleasant to me, though no doubt she was annoyed about something. I think she is rather a sport because she is such a good type of a certain class of character.
1915   R. H. Davis With Allies viii. 159   All that was asked of the stranded Americans was to keep cool and, like true sports, suffer inconvenience.
1916   N.Y. Tribune 2 Mar. 11/1   Miss Eastman refuses to take alimony, which is to say that women are good sports, which they are.
1918   C. Mackenzie Early Life Sylvia Scarlett i. ii. 64   You're no sport, Maudie. You've got the chance of your life and you're turning it down.
1937   L. Bromfield Rains Came i. iii. 24   For a moment he came very near to doing what she had meant him to do—lose his temper and show himself a bad sport.
1942   A. Christie Body in Library ix. 85   I did like her. I thought she was a good sport.
1975   S. Bellow Humboldt's Gift 310   Don't be a bad sport.
1990   P. Ustinov Old Man & Mr Smith v. 51   Mr Smith took them. ‘Swiss francs. You are a sport’.
1997   R. Tremain Way I found Her (1998) i. 11   Lewis is a good sport, you know.

1881—1997(Hide quotations)


 d. U.S. A young man; a fellow. Now rare.

1897   C. M. Flandrau Harvard Episodes 215   ‘I don't suppose they're “cheap” sports,..not the way you mean.’ ‘Expensive sports, then?’
1901   D. B. Hall & A. Osborne Sunshine & Surf i. 4   A small club, called the University, which is chiefly kept up by the young men—the ‘sports’, as they are called in this part of the world.
1903   A. H. Lewis Boss 205   Just as a sport finds himself on easy street.

1897—1903(Hide quotations)


 e. Chiefly Australian and New Zealand. Used as a friendly form of address, esp. between men who do not know each other. Also occasionally in plural. Cf. old sport n. at old adj. Compounds 5b.

1923   G. S. Beeby Conc. Ordinary People 305   All right, sport. No offence meant.
1943   K. Tennant Ride on Stranger v. 48   The small boy rose and said rapidly: ‘Fair go, sports.’
1951   E. Lambert Twenty Thousand Thieves (1952) i. 29   ‘Have a swig, sport.’ He took the bottle..and helped himself to a mouthful. ‘Thanks, sport.’ He handed the bottle back and idly he noted that he had never called a man ‘sport’ before.
1959   G. Slatter Gun in my Hand 50   Ya looking for somebody, sport?
1975   R. Beilby Brown Land Crying 80   ‘Come on, sport,’ the doorman was saying patiently. ‘You can't stop here. You've had a skinful.’
2004   Age (Melbourne) (Nexis) 30 July 3 (headline)    Us, like Yanks? Fair go, sport!

1923—2004(Hide quotations)


 8. A cinematographic film about sport. rare.

1913   Techn. World 19 464   Sunday feature pictures, sports, and advertising are all made in this dark room.

1913—1913(Hide quotations)


 9. colloquial. A sports car; a sports model of a motor car. Chiefly in plural with singular agreement.

1919   N.Y. Times 14 Sept. 58 (advt.)    Stutz 1918 Speedster, 16 valve. Stutz 1918 Sport, 16 Valve. Stutz 1918 Coupe, 16 valve.
1952   A. R. D. Fairburn Strange Rendezvous 50   Epicene Sir Giles..plays at Walton Heath, and drives a sports.
2001   Daily Tel. 5 May 14   I now have a mint-green XJS Jaguar sports. It's my baby. I love it.

1919—2001(Hide quotations)


 10. colloquial (originally U.S.). The sports pages or sports section of a newspaper.Chiefly plural in American use and singular in British.

1923   Nation (N.Y.) 17 Oct. 25/1   Crime and comic strips, sports and ‘columns’—the Leader provides them all.
1940   A. J. Jenkinson What do Boys & Girls Read? iv. 67   Two newspapers, in which he read the news and the sport.
1955   W. Tucker Wild Talent v. 65   He asked, ‘Can I have the sports?’ Conklin pulled the section from the paper.
2000   Times-Picayune (New Orleans) (Nexis) 16 July 1 i1   My husband leaves for work after one cup of coffee and reading the sports, obituaries and the police reports in the newspaper.

1923—2000(Hide quotations)

II. Senses relating to solace.

 11. Solace, consolation. Cf. sport v. 16. Obsolete.

▸ 1440   Promptorium Parvulorum (Harl. 221) 470   Spoort [?a1475 Winch. Spoorte], or solas, Solacium.
a1450   Partonope of Blois (Univ. Coll. Oxf.) (1912) l. 6598 (MED)   Of hym they had no Comfort, Ne none of them Cownde other sprot [a1500 BL Add. sporte].
a1500  (c1435)    J. Lydgate Daunce Machabree (Lansd.) (1931) l. 300 (MED)   All my richesse can make me now no sporte.

1440—a1500(Hide quotations)




 a. in sport: in jest, jokingly; for fun or diversion, not seriously or in earnest. Now somewhat archaic.In quot. 1785   used predicatively.

c1450 [see sense 3b].
1535   Bible (Coverdale) Prov. xxvi. C   I dyd it but in sporte.
a1577   Ferrers in G. Gascoigne Princelie Pleasures Kenelworth sig. A.iij, in Whole Wks. (1587)    And as my loue to Arthure dyd appeere, so shalt to you in earnest and in sport.
a1616   W. Shakespeare As you like It (1623) i. ii. 26   Loue no man in good earnest, nor no further in sport neyther, then [etc.] .  View more context for this quotation
1668   P. M. To Author of Ephesian Matron sig. H, in W. Charleton Ephesian & Cimmerian Matrons   Having in sport thrown you into the river, and finding you unable to bear up against the impetuous torrent of Feminine prejudice,..I am resolved to leap in after.
1748   S. Richardson Clarissa VII. xc. 331   I should be sorry, if I could not say, that what you have warned me of in sport, makes me tremble in earnest.
1785   W. Cowper Task ii. 369   He doubtless is in sport, and does but droll.
1829   Chapters Physical Sci. 317   The inexhaustible variety of shades which nature, as in sport, has diffused over the surface of different bodies.
1879   F. W. Farrar Life & Work St. Paul I. v. xvi. 299   I have assumed that the name was given by Gentiles, and given more or less in sport.
1910   W. Boyle Mineral Workers iv. 99   You asked me if I knew anyone who hated Mr. O'Reilly hot enough to lend you money. I suggested her—in sport.
1951   R. Graves Poems & Satires (1997) 192   Let them not whisper, even in sport: ‘His Majesty's turned parsimonious And keeps no whore now but his Consort’.
1988   D. Smyth Guide Irish Mythol. 88   He said in sport, ‘Deirdre, the look of a ewe between two rams is that look thou givest me and Eogan.’

c1450—1988(Hide quotations)


 b. to make a sport of : to make a joke or mockery of. Now archaic.

1535   Bible (Coverdale) Prov. x. C   A foole doth wickedly & maketh but a sporte of it.
1535   Bible (Coverdale) 1 Esdras i. 51   Loke what God spake vnto them by his prophetes, they made but a sporte of it.
1600   W. Shakespeare Much Ado about Nothing ii. iii. 151   He would make but a sport of it, and torment the poore Lady worse.  View more context for this quotation
1678   A. Behn Sir Patient Fancy iv. ii. 58   You have Sir, you wou'd say, made a sport and May-game of the ingagement of your word.
1704   C. Darby Bk. Psalms lix. 89   But thou, O Lord shalt laugh at them, And make of them a sport.
1791   H. B. Dudley Woodman iii. 67   I have met with no one except a savage train of hunters, and they made but a sport of my distress!
1830   Times 14 Aug. 2/1   I have never made a sport of my word, and with me the obligation of an oath has always been sacred.
1865   B. Gray Matrimonial Infelicities 200   He did not come to Allen-Dale to be made a sport of.
1915   ‘W. Bamfylde’ Midsummer Magic xvii. 195   Fate was making a sport of him.
1992   H. H. Rudnick in A.-T. Tymieniecka Elemental Dialectic of Light & Darkness v. 309   Deconstruction is making a sport of received values that function as markers of orientation at least for those students who are trying to understand the basic tenets of the human condition.

1535—1992(Hide quotations)

 P2. to make sport .

 a. To provide entertainment or diversion for a person. Chiefly with person as indirect object, or with for, †to.

c1475   Mankind l. 268   Men haue lytyll deynte of yowr pley Because ȝe make no sporte.
1481   in H. E. Malden Cely Papers (1900) 74   Ȝe have a fayre hawke... I trwste to God sche schall make yow and me ryught grehyt sporte.
1592   Arden of Feversham iii. i. 85   He will murther me to make him sport.
1598   W. Shakespeare Love's Labour's Lost iv. i. 98   This Armado is..one that makes sport To the Prince and his Booke-mates.  View more context for this quotation
1600   Chester Plays (Harl. 2013) 2   Interminglinge therewith onely, to make sporte, Some thinge, not warranted by any writt.
1616   J. Lane Contin. Squire's Tale xi. 196   Hee that makes them sport shall have their hartes.
1663   A. Cowley Cutter of Coleman-St. ii. ii. 15   'Twill make us excellent sport at night.
1738   G. Lillo Marina i. ii   Winds and waters, In their vast tennis-court, have, as a ball, Used me to make them sport.
1785   W. Cowper Task vi. 386   To make him sport..are causes good And just, in his account, why bird and beast Should suffer torture.
1867   J. T. Trowbridge Neighbours' Wives xxviii. 254   Prudence took the stand, and made sport for the Philistines.
1909   Mrs. H. Ward Daphne ii. 47   That little Yankee girl had really made good sport all the way home.
1974   I. Opie & P. Opie Classic Fairy Tales 48   It would seem safe to think that Shakespeare knew a tale of blood-sniffing giants, such as those who made sport for nimble Jack.

c1475—1974(Hide quotations)


 b. To amuse or entertain oneself; to find diversion in; to be amused at or with; to make fun of, toy with. Chiefly with at, of, with.

1525   Ld. Berners tr. J. Froissart Cronycles II. clx. f. clxxviiv/2   For all that they wolde not abstayne to daunce and to caroll and to make sporte [Fr. en dances en scarolles & en esbatemens] amonge the ladyes and damoselles of Auignon.
1565   J. Jewel Replie Hardinges Answeare x. 428   Nowe, if M. Hardinge, as his manner is, wil cal al these, Naked Signes, and Bare Figures, let him then remember, he maketh sporte, & game at S. Ambrose, his owne Doctour.
a1616   W. Shakespeare Comedy of Errors (1623) ii. ii. 30   When the sunne shines, let foolish gnats make sport .  View more context for this quotation
a1616   W. Shakespeare Merry Wives of Windsor (1623) iii. iii. 144   If I suspect without cause, Why then make sport at me, then let me be your iest.  View more context for this quotation
1667   S. Pepys Diary 28 June (1974) VIII. 299   How sad a thing it is when we come to make sport of proclaiming men traitors.
1699   T. Brown Let. 27 June in 4th Vol. Wks. (1711) 129   I..leave the Dr. and you to make what Sport you shall think fit with me.
1709   J. Strype Ann. Reformation I. xxxvii. 424   These men..sometimes he makes sport with..and sometimes declaimes and exclaimes upon them.
1761   A. Murphy Old Maid ii. 52   There is harm done—I am made sport of—exposed to derision—Oh!
1853   J. H. Newman Hist. Sketches (1873) II. i. i. 28   The energy of these wild warriors made sport of walled cities.
1888   Mrs. H. Ward Robert Elsmere I. i. ii. 46   Among this grim and earthy crew, there was one exception, a ‘hop out of kin’, of whom all the rest made sport.
1909   A. Meynell Ceres' Runaway 56   Making sport of the Philistines with a proper national sense of enjoyment of..such natural difficulties, or such misfavour of fortune, as may beset the alien.
1973   Times 18 Dec. 1/3   He made sport of Mr Healey's implications that there should have been some direct taxation.
1998   M. Booth Industry of Souls iv. 73   They had made sport with him, firing deliberately wide, or short.

1525—1998(Hide quotations)


 P3. to show sport : to provide a spectacle, entertainment or diversion; (now) esp. (of a master of foxhounds) to provide good hunting. Also: (esp. of a quarry) to provide good sport by demonstrating spirit and courage. Chiefly Hunting after 17th cent.

1579   S. Gosson Ephemerides Phialo sig. ☞7v   If idle Drones assayle me, let them know that I shewe no sporte for them, my desire is, to seeke out meate for manly stomackes.
?1587   R. Southwell Epist. Comfort x. f.124v   It was an ordinarye pastime a monge the Romaines, for men to shew sporte in wrastelinge and striuing with Lions, and other wilde beastes, onlye for a vayne proofe, and bost of their valoure.
1607   E. Topsell Hist. Foure-footed Beastes 25   His Asse (being on a scaffolde to shew sport).
1699   G. Farquhar Love & Bottle iii. 36   Sir, I scorn to shew sport to any man.
1790   ‘P. Pindar’ Complimentary Epist. J. Bruce 34   Thus the Bag Fox (how cruelly, alack!) Turn'd out with turpentine upon his back, Amidst the war of hounds and hunters flies; Shows sport; but, luckless, by his fragrance dies!
1834   E. Bulwer-Lytton Last Days of Pompeii III. v. ii. 207   Eumolpus is a good second-rate swordsman;..doubtless they will shew sport. But I have no heart for the game.
1843   R. S. Surtees Handley Cross II. viii. 153   You..must know what a difficult thing it is to shew sport with fox-hounds.
1846   G. P. R. James Heidelberg i   This seems a wild boar of the forest. We must force him from his lair; and he will show sport, depend upon it.
1922   J. Eyton Dancing Fakir 52   The fox..could be relied on to show sport over any line of country; but he always baffled hounds in the finish.
1936   Times 28 Oct. 6/1   The five packs in the shires..are sure to find that his capacity for showing sport will divert a large proportion of the usual Leicestershire visitors to his corner of the county.
1985   Times 2 Nov. 29/6   The master of foxhounds..is appointed by an elected hunt committee to ‘show sport’.

1579—1985(Hide quotations)

 P4. Noun phrases with of.

 a. sport of nature: (in literal sense) a game played by nature, or a result of this; spec. a freak of nature; a natural curiosity, esp. a fossil; = lusus naturae n.  Now chiefly historical. Cf. 6, sporting n. 3a.

1601   P. Holland tr. Pliny Hist. World I. viii. xii. 199   What reason should a man alledge of this so mortall warre betweene them, if it be not a very sport of Nature, and pleasure that she takes, in matching these two so great enemies together, and so euen and equall in each respect? [L. quam quis aliam tantae discordiae causam attulerit nisi naturam spectaculum sibi paria componentem?]
1635   G. Hakewill Apol. (rev. ed.) iii. ii. 230   Cockles, periwinkles and oysters of solid stone:..whither they have bin shellfish and living creatures, or else the sports of nature in her works.
1668   N. Culpeper & A. Cole tr. T. Bartholin Anat. (new ed.) i. xxvii. 64   Spigelius, because he could not somtimes find it, did count it a sport of Nature.
1759   A. Butler Lives Saints IV. 134   They seem either petrifactions or sports of nature in uncommon chrystallizations in a mineral soil.
[1773   J. Langhorne Fables of Flora (ed. 5) ix. 9   Thus Nature with the fabled elves We rank, and these her Sports we call.]
1822   J. M. Good Study Med. IV. 249   It is in this organ more especially that rudimental attempts at fetal organization, the mere sports of nature, are frequently found produced without impregnation.
1862   R. W. Thomson Amateur's Rosarium xiii. 92   Another variety of the Moss [rose], which owes its origin to a sport of nature.
1889   Mind 14 427   The possibility of thus pronouncing, that ‘white-skinned descendants of black men’ are a mere sport of nature.
1902   Geogr. Jrnl. 20 448   The Sarasins, discrediting the idea that the form of these islands can be accidental or a mere sport of nature, suggest a mechanical explanation.
1944   Times 28 Apr. 6/4   Delius... Beecham himself regards him as an unaccountable sport of nature.
2000   Guardian 29 Apr. (Saturday section) 9/6   If heat and light could magic living flesh from nothing, then it could also act upon ‘lapidifying forces’ to conjure up stony little jests, sports of nature, testaments to God's mysterious ways.

1601—2000(Hide quotations)


  sport of kings n. (with the)  (a) hunting;  (b) warfare;  (c) horse racing (now the usual sense);  (d) surfing.

[a1668   W. Davenant Wks. (1673) i. 322   For I must go where lazy Peace, Will hide her drouzy head; And, for the sport of Kings, encrease The number of the Dead.
1702   E. Ward Bribery & Simony 11   War is the Sport of Kings and mighty Lords.]
1735   W. Somervile Chace i. 14   My hoarse-sounding Horn Invites thee to the Chace, the Sport of Kings, Image of War, without its Guilt.
1744   Review 12   Ths War to Britain sure Destruction brings, War Bane of Subjects, and the Sport of Kings.
1843   R. S. Surtees Handley Cross I. xiii. 253   'Unting is the sport of kings, the image of war without its guilt, and only five-and-twenty per cent. of its danger!
1859   H. H. Dixon Silk & Scarlet 85   The names of ‘Bolton’, ‘Queensberry’, and ‘Rockingham’ had, it is true, lent lustre to ‘the sport of kings’.
1886   Times 27 Mar. 4/1   The decay of hunting would be little short of a national calamity. The sport of kings exercises a healthy influence upon the national character, because it affords an opportunity of keen enjoyment to both gentle and simple.
1918   G. Frankau One of Them in Poet. Wks. (1923) II. xxi. 130   Weep for the King of Sports, the Sport of Kings;..On thousand tracks, unridden, desolate, Hay waves from winning-post to starting-gate.
1935   T. Blake Hawaiian Surfboard iii. 66   News reels and still cameramen will be on hand to shoot the thrilling rides that always accompany big surf, so the rest of the world may see the ‘sport of kings’ by picture.
1961   L. Mumford City in Hist. ii. 44   With concentration on war as the supreme ‘sport of kings’, an ever larger portion of the city's new resources..went into the manufacture of new weapons.
1968   W. Warwick Surfriding in N.Z. 1   Surfriding was practised almost exclusively by members of Hawaiian royal families: hence surfriding's now anachronistic title, ‘Sport of Kings’.
1998   T. Clancy Rainbow Six xxxii. 592   That was the real sport of kings, training a hawk to hunt off your fist for you. I might do some of that myself in a few years.
2007   Racing Rev. 124   Such is the popularity of the sport of Kings in Scotland, that..the Scottish racing industry as a whole contributes £213 million to the economy.

1735—2007(Hide quotations)


 P5. be a sport: (in optative use) act in a generous and sportsmanlike way.

1913   Punch 21 May 405   I say, old chap, I've not had a smoke for half-an-hour, so I think I'll go on top. Be a sport and go inside with the women, will you?
1931   W. Faulkner Sanctuary vi. 57   ‘Come on,’ Temple said. ‘Be a sport. It wont take you any time in that Packard.’
1945   E. Waugh Brideshead Revisited i. v. 104   Be a sport, handsome: no one's seen anything but you.
1996   R. Mistry Fine Balance (1997) i. 38   Wait, Hosa, wait, one more kabab, it's delicious, believe me, one more, come on, be a sport.

1913—1996(Hide quotations)



 C1. General attributive.Some of the more established compounds of this type are treated separately.

 a. With the first element in singular form.

a1586   Sir P. Sidney Arcadia (1593) iii. sig. Ll1v   Such a sport-meeting, when rather some song of loue, or matter for ioyfull melody was to be brought forth.
1755   Connoisseur (1756) No. 81. 304   He kept all Manner of Sport Hounds, that ran Buck, Fox, Hare, Otter, and Badger.
1898   A. B. Gomme Trad. Games II. 463 (heading)    Imitation of Sport Games. All a Row. Cock-fight. Hare and Hounds. Hunting. Knights. Puff in the Dart.
1913   Times 26 Mar. 22/2   The growing armoury of sport equipment may be made to supply examples for the illustration of dynamics and physics.
1989   D. Morrow & M. Keyes Conc. Hist. Sport in Canada 316   Distrustful sport fans believed that the Sun..‘ghost-wrote’ the cleverly worded letter.
1996   Lacrosse Talk Oct. 7/2   The society is calling for all sport coaches and teachers of dance to obtain a copy of the new booklet and to promote better bone health in these young women.

a1586—1996(Hide quotations)


 b. With the first element in plural form.

1870   W. Collins Man & Wife 82/2   The exhibition, out of doors (on Sports-day), of what the boys can do with their bodies.
1890   D. H. Edwards One Hundred Mod. Sc. Poets 119   He took..the silver medal for pole-vaulting at the Inter-University sports competition.
1916   Iowa City Citizen 6 Jan. 1/6   Cole was well known to sports fans.
1923   Daily Mail 12 May 12   True sportsfolk find an added delight in what may be called their ‘gear’.
1925   W. Deeping Sorrell & Son xvi. §4   He went..with a school-kit... He had his ‘sports-box’, and a pound in pocket-money.
1951   Collier's 15 Dec. 4   For many years sports historians have been searching unsuccessfully for a copy.
1976   Glasgow Herald 26 Nov. 28/8   The British team who won the Olympic Pentathlon event were named the sportsteam of the year.
1999   J. Updike More Matter (2000) 134   A wealth of special sports equipment—sleds, ice skates, skis, snowboards—emerges to harvest fun from the cold.
2008   Evening Post (Nottingham) (Nexis) 15 Feb. 6   Sports coaches are to get more funds to help them gain more qualifications.

1870—2008(Hide quotations)

 c. Designating clothing, shoes, etc., for informal or sporting wear. See also sportswear n.

 (a) With the first element in plural form, as sports clothes, sports skirt, etc.

1910   Times 5 Mar. 13/6 (advt.)    New shaped or pleated walking or sports skirt.
1922   Moving Picture Stories 23 June 23/2   A great many of the new sports clothes are shown with the divided skirt and pantalette cuff.
1930   J. Buchan Castle Gay xii. 191   At a small draper's..a jacket of rough tweed was purchased—what is known in the trade as a ‘sports’ line.
1942   Times 20 Apr. 2/6 (advt.)    Suede Sports Shoe with pure plantation crepe sole.
1967   N. Freeling Strike Out 70   She was the kind of woman that would not look her best in sports clothes.
1989   R. MacNeil Wordstruck iii. 79   No one had sports clothes in those days.
2004   H. Kunzru Transmission (2005) 266   On the north side of the border is an outlet mall, where..piles of discount jeans and sports shoes are sold.

1910—2004(Hide quotations)


 (b) With the first element in singular form, as sport shoe, sport skirt, sport suit, etc.

1914   Amer. Mag. Aug. 88/3   She says they are ‘sport’ hats.
1917   N.Y. Tribune 16 Mar. 3/6 (advt.)    Sale of women's separate sport skirts at $6.95.
1925   Eaton's News Weekly 2 May 10   Sport shoes of smoked elk and tan calf, with crepe rubber sole and heel.
1927   P. Bottome Belated Reckoning iv. 57   The happy princess..beautiful in her English ‘sport suit’ and crushed felt hat.
1937   M. Levin Old Bunch 13   She dressed spiffy with wrap-around sport skirts.
1950   M. Huxley Let. 21 June in A. Huxley Lett. (1969) 625   When you order shirts please ask whether they have an Airtex blue with sport collar, long sleeves; that is a collar which at will is worn with or without tie.
1955   P. Chayefsky Mother in Television Plays 200   Boss. Hello, Jerry? This is Sam... Jerry, how about that fifty dozen faille sport suits.
1987   Frederick (Maryland) Post 30 July b8/4 (advt.)    ‘Cross Trainer’ men's garment leather sport shoe.
2001   Pop. Sci. Oct. 46   Another item that's literally popping out of industrial labs is Festo's Airhopper sport shoe.

1914—2001(Hide quotations)

 d. Designating low-built cars designed for performance at high speeds, or (in extended use) powerful, lightweight motorcycles, designed for optimal speed and handling. Frequently designating a lower-built or higher-speed version of another specified model.

 (a) With the first element in plural form. See also sports bike n., sports car n. at Compounds 4b.

1919   Times 11 Apr. 2/5 (advt.)    Special sports model; beautiful long, low-built, stream-line body.
1925   Correct Lubrication 52   Lea-Francis (sports models).
1933   Illustr. London News 9 Dec. 962/1 (caption)    This Rover four-door sports saloon is mounted on the new Rover ‘Twelve’ chassis.
1936   ‘N. Blake’ Thou Shell of Death iii. 46   A Lagonda sports-tourer.
1963   R. H. Morrieson Scarecrow (1981) xi. 125   The white sports-job roared up and stopped.
1967   N. Freeling Strike Out 39   It is not far..especially for the fast sports coupé.
1971   ‘D. Shannon’ Murder with Love iv. 68   I don't somehow think Mrs. Franks drives a Mercedes sports model.
1993   Super Bike Jan. 57/1   The ZZ-R..is..a lovely sports-tourer, big yet easy and comfortable to ride.
1998   BBC Top Gear Mag. Sept. 135/3   That genteel sports-tourer turns into rocketship, with a raspy roar you can enjoy even through earplugs.

1919—1998(Hide quotations)


 (b) With the first element in singular form. See also sport bike n. (b) at Compounds 4a, sport car n. at Compounds 4a.

1919   Washington Post 15 Sept. 11/8 (advt.)    Lozier Sport Roadster, 6-cylinder. $500.
1927   Scribner's Mag. Feb. 159/1   Laban, furious, mounts his Sport-model Camel and takes after the elopers.
1964   Life 2 Oct. 59/1 (advt.)    There's racy new hardtop styling on every Corvair Sport Coupe and Sport Sedan.
1990   Independent 29 Sept. (Colour Suppl.) 14/2 (caption)    In fact its performance isn't just the best of any people carrier, it matches many a sport saloon.
1998   What Car? Sept. 39/3   Sport models have an extended wheelbase offering a more comfortable ride and better handling.

1919—1998(Hide quotations)


 a. Objective, instrumental, adverbial, etc., as sport-lover, sport-maker, etc., nouns; sport-loving, sport-mad, sport-minded, etc., adjs.

1582   R. Stanyhurst tr. Virgil First Foure Bookes Æneis iv. 84   When she the weeds Troian dyd marck, and sporte breder old bed.
1611   R. Cotgrave Dict. French & Eng. Tongues   Badin,..a Iugler, Tumbler, or any such sport-maker.
a1625   J. Fletcher Womans Prize i. ii, in F. Beaumont & J. Fletcher Comedies & Trag. (1647) sig. Nnnnnv/2   What a grief of heart is't,..to lie and tell The clock o'th longs, to rise sport-starv'd?
1631   J. Mabbe tr. F. de Rojas Spanish Bawd xii. 137   O troublesome and sport-hindring doores.
1750   ‘Beelzebub’ Sure Guide to Hell 62   You must be the Sport-maker for him and his Companions.
?1790   Liverpool Songster 171   See the sport loving high mettled steed spurn the ground.
1858   A. Mayhew Paved with Gold 103   The sport-loving gent.
1861   G. H. Kingsley in F. Galton Vacation Tourists & Trav. 1860 124   Two or three birds,..affording no sport themselves, and not permitting any sport-affording bird to approach their haunts.
1865   London Society Dec. 448/1   The sport-loving traveller would frequently indulge in what we should call a decidedly sensational pastime, which he called ‘blackbird shooting’. But this sort of thing is all of the past now.
1895   Daily News 21 Jan. 7/7   Five dozen..of these sport-giving fish [i.e. perch].
1897   Outing 29 343/2   Four sport-loving young women.
1929   Daily Express 12 Jan. 3   To-day the thoughts of sport-lovers will be spread over thirty-two battle-grounds, where the third round of the F.A. Cup competition will be fought.
1960   V. Jenkins Lions Down Under vii. 103   The people of Christchurch are extremely sport-minded.
2000   P. A. Horton in J. A. Mangan & J. Nauright Sport in Australasian Soc. iv. 66   In the twentieth century DH Lawrence believed Australia to be a vast land devoid of speech and inhabited by sport-obsessed barbarians.

1582—2000(Hide quotations)


 b. With first element in plural form, as sports-holding, sports-loving, sports-minded, etc., adjs.; sports lover, etc., nouns. See also sports-mad adj. at Compounds 3d.

1895   Westm. Gaz. 29 Apr. 7/2   So now sixteen sports-holding clubs have resolved to form a Scottish Amateur Athletic Union.
1911   Times 22 Nov. 5/2   The sports-loving instincts of the population are well known.
1912   Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Tribune 22 Nov. 4/1   The sincere booster and sports lover.
1929   Lowell (Mass.) Sun 17 Dec. 12/1   Sports-minded clergy and co-workers of the young men.
1960   I. Cross Backward Sex iii. 76   She was not exactly sports-minded.
1981   Sunday Times 5 July (Mag. section) 7/4   Our younger readers will be going off..to sports-orientated country or seaside camps and hostels.
2007   Financial Times (Nexis) 10 Mar. (House & Home) 11   Everybody is very sports-minded in Switzerland, probably because the mountains and lakes present a lot of opportunities for being outdoors.

1895—2007(Hide quotations)

 C3. With the first element in plural form.
 a. Designating places where sport is played, esp. structures designed for this purpose.A number of these terms may be found earlier when preceded by athletic.

  sports centre   n.

1907   Times 7 Jan. 5/1   A committee was appointed to consider..establishing a general sports centre for the island.
1973   Times 27 July (Leisure Suppl.) p. i/2   The Sports Council..claimed that England and Wales need 842 indoor multi-purpose sports centres built by 1981 to supply the leisure demands of the public.
1998   Community Care 7 May 14/2   Outside, there is a grassy patch surrounded by modern blocks containing ‘living units’, a sports centre, an education block,..and an all-weather sports pitch.

1907—1998(Hide quotations)


  sports club   n.

1882   Derby Mercury 1 Nov. 8/4   The Derby Midland Club..needs a general name (say, Field Club, or Sports Club).
1965   ‘J. le Carré’ Looking-glass War xii. 145   I got the knife at cost..through the sports club.
1997   J. Hawes Rancid Aluminium (1998) i. 29   If I joined a sports club I would be relegating myself voluntarily, suicidally, to the new underclass of fat, bald tossers.

1882—1997(Hide quotations)


  sports deck   n.

1912   Evening Post (Frederick, Maryland) 16 Apr. 2/1   Among the attractions on the Titanic were Turkish and electric baths, swimming pools, tennis courts, ballroom,..gymnasium and a sports deck.
1981   J. M. Brinnin Beau Voy. (1982) 59   The sports deck echoing with the click of the discs used in shuffleboard.
1991   Ships Monthly Nov. 37/2   Two of the ship's features which have disappeared from some newer cruise vessels are a semi-enclosed promenade deck (useful on winter voyages) and a separate sports deck.

1912—1991(Hide quotations)


  sports field   n.

1877   Ipswich Jrnl. 29 Dec. Suppl. 1/2   A day or two later a purse which had been dropped on the sports field on Whit-Monday, was returned.
1931   What is Fascism & Why? 174   You must give houses, schools, baths, gardens, and sports fields to the working Fascist people.
1991   E. Yorks. Village Bk. 179   The great community spirit has enabled a children's play park to be established,..and more recently a sports field which has a beautiful pavillion.

1877—1991(Hide quotations)


  sports ground   n.

1862   Daily News 17 Dec. 1/4   The annual contest for prizes for athletic sports, will take place to-morrow, at 3 o'clock, on the sports ground near the Cedars.
1933   J. Buchan Prince of Captivity iv. i. 325   The aeroplane..had landed in the sports ground of the factory.
1995   K. Toolis Rebel Hearts (1996) v. 266   Harlow, with its planned estates..multi-storey car parks and purpose-built sports grounds, is stamped with the optimistic vision of Britain's state planners of the 1950s.

1862—1995(Hide quotations)


  sports hall   n.

1919   Times 22 Apr. 14/2 (headline)    National sports hall and ground.
1943   Archit. Rev. 94 68/1   The Mässhallen in Gothenburg—a large covered sports hall in steel, concrete and siporex—is also by Eriksson.
2001   FourFourTwo Sept. 150/2   The council allowed our client's team to play five-a-side in a sports hall where they knew that the roof had been leaking.

1919—2001(Hide quotations)


  sports pavilion   n.

1913   Times 2 Sept. 3/5   An unsuccessful attempt, presumably the work of suffragists, was made on Sunday to burn down the sports pavilion of the International Correspondence Schools Athletic Ground, Manor-park, Hampstead.
1931   ‘G. Trevor’ Murder at School ii. 42   The pair had reached the sports pavilion.
1993   New Scientist 9 Oct. (Science Sport Suppl.) 14/1   He thinks that some athletes may be at higher risk of problem drinking than nonathletes, as ‘the opportunity to drink is often present in the sports pavilion’.

1913—1993(Hide quotations)


  sports stadium   n.

1911   Times 5 Dec. 8/1   The sports stadium is at the southern boundary of the Exhibition.
1963   J. Comay Introd. Israel viii. 129   The Maccabiah, an ‘Olympic Games’ for Jewish athletes..takes place in the huge Ramat Gan Sports Stadium.
1999   Building Design 13 Aug. 24/1   Whatever you intend to specialise in—houses, offices, shops, warehousing, sports stadia.., you will find Easibrief an indispensable reference companion.

1911—1999(Hide quotations)

 b. Designating a retailer of sportswear or sporting equipment.

  sports department   n.

1898   Daily Gleaner (Kingston, Jamaica) 17 June 2/4 (advt.)    Sports Department. A fresh arrival of cricket bats, cricket balls, [etc.].
1975   G. Howell In Vogue 80/1   Jean Patou's new sports department sells jersey and marocain bathing suits.
2007   Milwaukee (Wisconsin) Jrnl. Sentinel (Nexis) 21 Sept. a1   A state investigator saw an NCR worker go to the back of a Wal-Mart, grab some free weights from the sports department, and plunk them on a scale to test its accuracy.

1898—2007(Hide quotations)


  sports outfitter   n.

[1886   Times 15 May 13/2   Ellson, Cave John, Loughborough, rope and twine maker, and British sports outfitter.]
1890   Birmingham Daily Post 13 Dec. 6/4   Elizabeth Bailey Vetch, sports outfitter,..brought an action against J. Lathbury Ash.
1992   N.Y. Times 5 May d1/2   He passes a sports outfitter named USA Sport.

1890—1992(Hide quotations)


  sports shop   n.

1915   Fort Wayne (Indiana) Daily News 30 July 4/3   Every sports shop shows them, and they complete every smart sports costume.
1996   D. Brimson & E. Brimson Everywhere we Go iii. 36   We positively refuse to go into sports shops which stock their kit (fortunately few and far between anyway).

1915—1996(Hide quotations)

 c. With reference to media coverage of sporting events.

  sports announcer   n.

1923   Washington Post 14 Sept. 15/3   Radio editor for the Wireless Age, and sports announcer for the Radio Corporation of America.
2000   J. M. Gray Gift for little Master 87   ‘Who wrote this shit?’ demands the sports announcer in a voice loud enough for an alert viewer to pick it up on mike spill.

1923—2000(Hide quotations)


  sports columnist   n.

1923   Helena (Montana) Independent 29 May 6/4   The veteran sports columnist of the Kansas City Post.
2001   B. Broady In this Block there lives Slag 184   If the football or rugby league teams managed to string even a couple of wins together, the previously cynical local sports columnists would now pump up expectations.

1923—2001(Hide quotations)


  sports desk   n.

1919   Waterloo (Iowa) Times-Tribune 17 Aug. 16/4   ‘Well, Mike, old timer. I am on my new job’, his letter says. ‘Working on the sports desk’.
1968   D. Francis Forfeit viii. 101   The sports desk is a big asset to the paper.
2003   Globe & Mail (Toronto) Apr. 26 a2/3   The late-night jockeying of playoff hockey is hell on wheels for night editors, especially on the sports desk.

1919—2003(Hide quotations)


  sports edition   n.

1913   Des Moines (Iowa) News 6 Apr. 1/3 (headline)    Everybody talking about the big sports edition and everybody reading one.
1959   M. Shadbolt New Zealanders 75   Mr Jackson lay belly-upwards on an unshaded part of the baked-brittle back lawn. The Saturday sports edition covered his face.
2006   Financial Times (Nexis) 6 May 12   The Saturday night sports editions disappeared from London decades ago, but they held their ground in the leading provincial footballing centres.

1913—2006(Hide quotations)


  sports editor   n.

1897   Daily News 28 June 10/3 (advt.)    As sports editor or correspondent. Football, Cricket, &c.; also dramatic.
1902   E. Banks Autobiogr. Newspaper Girl 237   The sports-editor devoted his hitherto undiscovered talents to evolving alliterative headlines.
1999   Cricketer Mar. 8/2   It's always dangerous when sports editors start writing ‘think’ pieces.

1897—1999(Hide quotations)


  sports journalism   n.

1931   Ogden (Utah) Standard-Examiner 3 July   Some of the other ‘big shots’ in sports journalism.
2008   Business & Money (Nexis) 3 Feb. 12   The hero-to-zero phenomenon is probably most noticeable in sports journalism.

1931—2008(Hide quotations)


  sports journalist   n.

1923   Advt. in B. Wells Physical Energy (end matter)   The author, a well-known sports journalist of thirty years' experience, gossips pleasantly on the great glove game during this period.
2003   Press Gaz. 19 Dec. 24/4   When a sports journalist strays from his specialism, subs should be extra vigilant and look out for factual howlers.

1923—2003(Hide quotations)


  sports news   n.

1905   Renwick (Iowa) Times 30 Nov. 4/5   In sports news, The Register and Leader also leads, no other Iowa paper publishing so many baseball and football results.
1967   P. M. Hubbard Custom of Country (1969) iv. 51   There was some sports news, a city page of surprising sophistication and a sprinkling of..foreign news.
1993   Cycling Weekly 16 Jan. 16/2   He made the international sports news when he held off the world's best to lead the Tour du Pont for five days in May.

1905—1993(Hide quotations)


  sports page   n.

1906   Daily Times-Tribune (Waterloo, Iowa) 23 Sept. 12/7   The sports page of the Burlington Hawk-Eye last Sunday was edited by Manager Ned Egan of the Pathfinders.
1930   J. B. Priestley Angel Pavement ii. 57   Mr. Smeeth..arrived at the sports page, where the prospects of certain women golfers were discussed at considerable length.
1976   L. Henderson Major Enq. ii. 11   Milton glanced only briefly at the headlines of the newspaper before he turned to the sports pages.
1999   N.Y. Rev. Bks. 15 July 11/2   The sports pages are the most-read section of the newspaper, and the columnists are the panzer commanders of the circulation wars.

1906—1999(Hide quotations)


  sports programme   n.

1925   Manitoba (Winnipeg) Free Press 15 Aug. 6/3 (radio listing)    Special sports programme.
1973   J. Porter It's Murder with Dover vi. 60   He sat in front of the television watching that sports programme.
1998   Daily Post (Liverpool) 25 Apr. (Wales ed.) (TV Wales Suppl.) 3/1   They're still relegated to one minute fill-ins on sports programmes and have to raise personal contributions towards taking part in the tournament.

1925—1998(Hide quotations)


  sports reporter   n.

1911   Daily Rev. (Decatur, Illinois) 24 Mar. 4/5   [He] is now a sports reporter on the Minneapolis Tribune.
2004   Independent 10 Aug. (Review section) 8/1   CNN has insisted that its sports reporters have ‘hostile environment’ training before covering the Olympics.

1911—2004(Hide quotations)


  sports section   n.

1912   Oakland (Calif.) Tribune 15 June 1/1   A well-edited sports section, contributed to by experts.
1940   G. Marx Let. in G. Marx et al. Groucho Lett. (1967) 46   I picked up the paper Tuesday morning, nervously turned to the sports section.
2004   Guardian 12 Jan. (Media section) 8/1   We expect not just a newspaper, but also a weekend section, an arts section, a blow-by-blow sports section, [etc.].

1912—2004(Hide quotations)


  sports writing   n.

1913   Waterloo (Iowa) Evening Courier 31 Mar. 2/1   This organization..did a great deal to bring the art of sports writing in this circuit up to a high standing.
2004   New Yorker 29 Mar. 53/1   Combat journalism is prone to some of the same sins as sportswriting.

1913—2004(Hide quotations)


  sports-mad adj.

1920   Syracuse (N.Y.) Herald 8 Feb. (Mag.) 9/2   It might have been different had his home life not been all cluttered in the smart, dog loving, sports mad colony.
1963   Times Lit. Suppl. 24 May 370/2   Australians..are sports-mad.
1991   Argus (Cape Town) 16 Apr. 10/1   It did this by striking at the pride and chauvinism of a sports-mad nation.

1920—1991(Hide quotations)

 a. With the first element in the singular.

  sport bag   n. = sports bag n. at Compounds 4b.

1916   Oakland (Calif.) Tribune 4 June 26/4   $1.50 silk novelty sport bags 89c. Chic bags in colors to match sport costumes, afternoon dresses and street suits.
1930   Syracuse (N.Y.) Herald 30 Nov. 6/4 (advt.)    Sport bags. For golf togs. For shoes. The smartest bag.
2004   K. Klatt Don't come Out xxvii. 196   Brian, freshly showered and carrying a sport bag full of sweaty gear.

1916—2004(Hide quotations)


  sport bike   n.  (a) a bicycle designed for general recreational use;  (b) a powerful, lightweight motorcycle, designed for optimal speed and handling.

1937   Oakland (Calif.) Tribune 8 Oct. d10 (advt.)    Sport bike... Safe,..because of the nationally-famous coaster brake wide braced handlebars and deep tread balloon tires.
1964   Hobbs (New Mexico) Daily News-Sun 7 Oct. 14/2 (advt.)    Win a new sport bike with hot rod motor!
1991   Current Health Apr. 21/1   Because sport bikes are not as light in weight as racing bikes, they are sturdier and more durable.
2003   J. N. Luftman Competing in Information Age ii. iii. 64   A high-performance Japanese sport bike, which has 150 horsepower.

1937—2003(Hide quotations)


  sport bra   n.  (a) U.S. a (usually midriff-baring) top resembling a brassiere, used for sunbathing and casual summer wear (now rare);  (b) a brassiere providing extra support for use during vigorous exercise (cf. sports bra n. at Compounds 4b).

1945   Fresno (Calif.) Bee 12 Apr. 8/1 (advt.)    See our bareable little swim suits—‘midriff’ play suits—bareback pinafores—crisp shorts—and sport bras.
1962   Los Angeles Times 20 Aug. iv. 8 (advt.)    Sport bra. Five section cup, one-section elastic keeps strap in place and does not cut or dig shoulders.
2006   Daily Tel. 13 Jan. 10/5   More than three quarters of..women who take regular exercise risk irreversibly sagging breasts because they do not wear sport bras.

1945—2006(Hide quotations)


  sport car   n. chiefly U.S. = sports car n. at Compounds 4b.

1916   Los Angeles Times 10 Jan. iii-3/1   The Packard..attracted much favorable comment, especially the finely designed roadster or sport car.
1927   U. Sinclair Oil! iv. 80   But that didn't trouble Mr. Bankside, who had already..bought himself..a big new limousine, also a ‘sport-car’.
1978   J. Irving World according to Garp xiv. 280   The man's sport car still chugged like an animal.
1992   Virginian Pilot & Ledger-Star 2 July d 1/2   You think a bozo with a chart can keep track of those vans, sedans, sport cars and viper-stompin' 'Vettes?

1916—1992(Hide quotations)

1939   Amer. Speech 14 6   Newspaper and magazine columns..‘Sportorial’, ‘Sportcast’, ‘Sportlight’.
2003   State Jrnl. (W. Va.) (Nexis) 19 Sept. 9   WRNR also was named first for the best regularly scheduled sportcast for the fifth straight year.

1939—2003(Hide quotations)

1938   Variety 28 Dec. 30/4   Jim Britt, WBEN sportcaster, promised a copy of a set of health rules to any listeners who would write in.
2007   Deseret Morning News (Salt Lake City) (Nexis) 15 Jan.   Why have so many sportcasters lately been gushing about..him?

1938—2007(Hide quotations)

1934   Mansfield (Ohio) News 24 Apr. 8/4   Ellis Vander Pyle..is doing the sportcasting for station WCAR, Cleveland.
1992   Boston Globe (Nexis) 6 Mar. 52   Caray's strength as a broadcaster leaned far more toward entertainment than the highly professional sportcasting of McDonough.

1934—1992(Hide quotations)


  sport climb   n. a route prepared for or used in sport climbing; an act of climbing such a route.

1989   San Francisco Chron. 23 Oct. c12/1   Heated debates erupt over whether drilling and placing the many bolts needed for a sport climb actually equals defacement of the rock.
1993   Climber & Hillwalker Nov. 55/1   On the Diamond buttress nearest to the viaduct there's Easyover,..one of Scotland's hardest sport climbs.
2002   Deseret News (Salt Lake City) (Nexis) 15 Feb. c3   From there, the right equipment for sport climbs completes the starter kit for new enthusiasts.

1989—2002(Hide quotations)


  sport climber   n. a participant in sport climbing.

1973   Los Angeles Times 3 June 7/1   They enjoy the risks involved in exactly the same way the sport climbers do.
1989   Times 4 Apr. 40/8   Ambitious young rock gymnasts delighted by the prospect opening up of Olympic stardom and a lucrative living as sport climbers.
2002   Backpacker (Electronic ed.) 1 June   The rocky notch is the border between the well-traveled Bridget Wilderness, with its web of maintained trails, dayhikers and sport climbers, and the virtually empty and trail-less Fitzpatrick Wilderness.

1973—2002(Hide quotations)


  sport climbing n. recreational or competitive climbing; spec. a form of climbing in which participants tackle overhanging or otherwise difficult rock faces, in which there are usually bolts already in place.

1974   J. Greiner Wager with Wind 98   The pilot..was building a solid reputation servicing scientific expeditions in the Alaskan mountains, and..word of his abilities was beginning to spill over into the world of sport climbing.
1988   San Diego Union-Tribune (Nexis) 14 Oct. d2   In fact, the new breed has turned the activity into what Ridgeway calls ‘sport climbing’... ‘They treat rock faces like an outdoor gym. It's short, difficult climbs that you might have to work a year or two to prepare for.’
1998   On the Edge May 8/2   Despite his success in the field of sport climbing Steve still prefers traditional routes.

1974—1998(Hide quotations)

1917   N.Y. Times 11 Feb. 4/4 (advt.)    The motor or sport coat for general wear.
1946   Chicago Daily News 17 May 35/8   And to think I've been afraid to be seen outside in my new sport coat!
2000   R. Mroz Defensive Shooting for Real-life Encounters xii. 124   I used to comfortably conceal a 4-inch L-frame S&W 686 .357 Magnum under a sport coat.

1917—2000(Hide quotations)


  sport-coated adj. = sports-coated adj. at Compounds 4b.

1937   Mansfield (Ohio) News-Jrnl. 10 Aug. 12/1   The track will be the Good Time track, the scene Goshen, and the crowd the combination of shirt-sleeved farmers and sport-coated socialites that has cheered him in a score of other efforts.
2007   Ottawa Citizen (Nexis) 23 Oct. c4   The development workers were holding wine glasses at dangerous angles as they excitedly grabbed each others' sport-coated elbows.

1937—2007(Hide quotations)


  sport diver   n. a person who participates in sport diving.

1953   Independent-Press-Telegram (Long Beach, Calif.) 17 May (Southland Mag.) 3   The steadfast adherents of skin diving scoff at sport divers because they use breathing apparatuses.
2007   Niagara Falls Rev. (Ont.) (Nexis) 27 Dec. a5   Most of the studied wrecks rest 40 to 50 metres below the surface, slightly deeper than sport divers venture.

1953—2007(Hide quotations)


  sport diving n. the sport or recreational activity of swimming underwater with breathing apparatus; scuba diving; cf. skin-diving n.

1953   Independent-Press-Telegram (Long Beach, Calif.) 17 May (Southland Mag.) 3   Later, there developed what now is called sport diving.
2007   Cornish Guardian (Nexis) 19 Dec. 27   An underwater exhibition isn't complete without recognition of the greatest pioneer of sport diving.

1953—2007(Hide quotations)

1983   Mountain Democrat (Placerville, Calif.) 9 Nov. a6/   You'd think that many of the sport drinks would help us put back what our bodies have used up.
2000   Herald (Glasgow) (Nexis) 27 Mar. 15   A hypotonic sport drink which doesn't run through the body as quickly as plain water does, thus helping performers avoid the ever present risk of fatigue through dehydration.

1983—2000(Hide quotations)


  sportfest   n.  [ < sport n.1 + fest n., probably after German Sportfest (early 20th cent. or earlier)] = sportsfest n. at Compounds 4b.

1919   Indianapolis Star 16 May 12/2   Entries received here today from Indiana State Normal and Rose Polytechnic Institute caused the total number of athletes who will compete in the I.C.A.L. sportfest Saturday to advance to eighty-six.
1937   W. H. Auden in W. H. Auden & L. MacNeice Lett. from Iceland xi. 147   The sport-fest was a primitive affair. Some part singing..and a swimming race.
2002   Sunday Times (Nexis) 29 Sept. 15   How do you make grown men cry? Oblige them to forgo their Saturday afternoon sportfest for a bout of retail therapy.

1919—2002(Hide quotations)


  sport fish   n.  [after sportfishing n.] originally and chiefly North American a fish caught for sport rather than for food.

1915   Daily Kennebac (Maine) Jrnl. 17 Dec. 11/2   Everyone is delighted with the handsome specimens of Maine's sport fish which Curator James has already placed in the aquarium.
1950   E. Bradner Northwest Angling iii. i. 172   As a sport fish, the salmon is highly valued by the anglers of the Pacific Coast.
1971   Nature 18 June 422/3   The billfishes of the family Istiophoridae, which include several well known sportfish such as the sailfish, the marlins, and spearfishes.
2003   Alaska Mag. May 46/3   There's always grayling, one of Alaska's most enjoyable sport fish.

1915—2003(Hide quotations)


  sport fisher   n. originally and chiefly North American  (a) = sport fisherman n. (a);  (b) = sport fisherman n. (b).

1902   W. H. Gregg & J. Gardner Where to catch Fish on East Coast Florida 9   The above mentioned factors have measurably decreased the number of fishes, but there are still enough left to satisfy the average sport fisher.
1940   Oakland (Calif.) Tribune 27 Oct. d7/8 (advt.)    Sport fisher 24x8, 1940... Large self-bailing cockpit.
1979   Jrnl. Econ. Hist. 39 322   Special-interest blocs of voters (sport fishers, for one).
2006   S. Hamblin Adventure Guide Maui 358   For a..trip on a 28-foot sport fisher, contact Spinning Dolphin Fishing Charters.

1902—2006(Hide quotations)


  sport fisherman   n. originally and chiefly North American  (a) a person who engages in sportfishing;  (b) a seagoing boat equipped for sportfishing.

1915   G. A. Cleveland Maine 164   Oh, I didn't know but you might be one o' them ere Boston sport fishermen, them's what they were.
1937   Kingston (N.Y.) Daily Freeman 15 July 9/3   From the small family cruiser to this year's new sport fisherman the booklet takes up in detail the different stock and custom built craft.
1999   Star-Ledger (Newark, New Jersey) 17 Oct. v. 8/3   He operated his own sportfisherman off Cuba for giant marlin.
2008   Inside Bay Area (Calif.) (Nexis) 10 Feb.   Sport fishermen have been coming for decades to land yellowfin tuna, marlin, red snapper and other varieties.

1915—2008(Hide quotations)


  sportfishery   n. originally and chiefly North American a fishery for rearing fish for sportfishing.

1930   Lethbridge (Alberta) Herald 10 Apr. 14/6   The authorities had the whole-hearted cooperation of anglers in the district in their effort to build up a new sport fishery in that part of the country.
1955   (title)    Sport fishery abstracts.
1994   N. Amer. Jrnl. Fisheries Managem. 14 14   White bass were recruited to the sport fishery in their second year of life.

1930—1994(Hide quotations)


  sportfishing n. originally and chiefly North American the sport or pastime of fishing with a rod and line; angling.

1910   C. G. Holder in Proc. 4th International Fishery Congress i. 201 (heading)    Sport fishing in California and Florida.
1926   Daily Colonist (Victoria, Brit. Columbia) 15 July 5/3   Something had to be done in order to save the sport fishing of Vancouver Island.
1978   A. Gilchrist Cod Wars v. 36   The Icelandic government (well aware of the amount of money which sport-fishing brings into the country) takes care of the availability of salmon in two important ways.
2005   Wine Internat. Jan. (Austral. Life Suppl.) 37/3   Those interested in sportfishing can try their luck with queenfish, giant trevally and golden trevally using light tackle, or chase larger black jewfish, marlin and sailfish further offshore.

1910—2005(Hide quotations)


  sport-fucking n. U.S. coarse slang copulation engaged in solely for sport or recreation; casual sex.

1968   P. Newman in Playboy July 69   There was sport fucking. There was mercy fucking.
1993   Wired Sept. 111/1   Sorry, sport-fucking has never been my event.
1996   Frontiers Newsmag. 12 July 87   McBride talks frankly about life on the A-list and the sport fucking that filled his days and nights.

1968—1996(Hide quotations)


  sport horse   n. a horse used for hunting, racing, or competitive equestrian events.

1917   Washington Post 24 June (Mag.) 18/1 (heading)    U.S. sport horses too small for war. Little danger of hunters, saddlers or polo ponies being commandeered.
1924   Bk. Rev. Digest for 1923 331/2   The book..goes into horsemanship in general including its history, hunting and hunters, and the training and care of sport horses.
2005   New Scientist 27 Aug. 16/1   One application that has received less attention shows a surprising amount of promise: cloning sport horses. These are the animals that compete in events such as dressage, cross-country and show jumping.

1917—2005(Hide quotations)

1917   N.Y. Times 25 Mar. 9/6 (advt.)    New pointed jacket and plaited sport jacket models.
1920   Times 6 July 16/5 (advt.)    These are stylish, roomy Sport Jackets.
1998   R. Stone Damascus Gate vii. 64   In a tweed sport jacket and an English bookie's cap he accosted tourists at the bus station or the tourist office.

1917—1998(Hide quotations)


  sport-jacketed adj. = sports-jacketed adj. at Compounds 4b.

1949   Chester (Pa.) Times 9 June 14/1   A husky sport-jacketed stranger faced him over the counter.
2006   Time Out N.Y. 2 Feb. 15/4   Roberts is best known for playing Woody Allen's sport-jacketed pal in films like Annie Hall and Play It Again, Sam.

1949—2006(Hide quotations)


  sport psychologist   n. = sports psychologist n. at Compounds 4b.

1916   Boston Daily Globe 4 Feb. 7/4   Bud Smith..put Mike Sweeney, who is to be adviser at Yale, in the very front rank as a sport psychologist.
1970   Internat. Jrnl. Sport Psychol. 1 38   The main task of sport psychologists is to observe, and attend to, any problems that may arise in top-level athletes.
2000   C. A. Oglesby et al. Encycl. Women & Sport in Amer. 136   She used a private coach and, unusual for the time, her own sport psychologist.

1916—2000(Hide quotations)


  sport psychology   n. = sports psychology n. at Compounds 4b.

1929   School Rev. 37 91   This new science of sport psychology.
1966   A. M. Olsen in F. Antonelli Proc. 1st Internat. Congr. Sports Psychol.   Human motor learning and the fundamental, theoretical bases of human movement should be a major concern of sport psychology.
1998   R. S. Griffin Sports in Lives of Children & Adolescents i. 2   For some time I have had a professional interest in exploring sport psychology and coaching strategies.

1929—1998(Hide quotations)


  sport seat   n. originally and chiefly U.S.  (a) = sports seat n. (a) at Compounds 4b;  (b) = sports seat n. (b) at Compounds 4b.

1948   Evening Independent (Massillon, Ohio) 15 Sept. 1/3   Sport seats for the game... After you have tried one of these comfortable seats you would not do without it for all the tea in China.
1965   Xenia (Ohio) Daily Gaz. 12 Apr. 20/1 (advt.)    This is a real luxury car, with custom interior trim, custom sport seat with folding center armrest.
1991   Western Living June 58 (advt.)    And such luxury options as a CD player, moonroof and 7-way driver's sport seat.
2007   Tulsa (Oklahoma) World (Nexis) 17 Feb. e1   This latest major tournament meant doubling his pro shop and outside staff, and stocking and then reordering popular accessories like portable sport seats.

1948—2007(Hide quotations)


  sport shirt   n. = sports shirt n. at Compounds 4b.

1914   Puck (N.Y.) 18 July 20/2 (advt.)    ‘Piping Rock’ Sport Shirt,..For Athletic Men.
1966   H. Kemelman Saturday Rabbi went Hungry (1967) xiv. 89   The local chief of police was wearing a sport shirt and chinos.
1994   Artnews Feb. 85/2   Curtis dresses in tan chinos, a bright blue sport shirt, and a tan beret.

1914—1994(Hide quotations)


  sportspeak n. freq. depreciative the language or jargon typically used to describe sport.

1968   Fresno (Calif.) Bee 30 May 5 c/3   Historians of sportspeak claim that it is neither new nor particularly American.
2007   Daily Tel. (Nexis) 21 Sept. 27   He combined un-English self-praise with a refreshing turn of phrase, alien to the mumbling sport-speak of the home-grown manager.

1968—2007(Hide quotations)


sport staff   n. Scottish Obsolete rare a quarterstaff used for exercise or practice.

1634   Burgh Rec. Stirling (1887) 172   In hambringing and taking agane to Edinburgh the sport stafes and gownes.

1634—1634(Hide quotations)


  sport ute   n. North American = sport utility vehicle n.

1989   Toronto Star 15 July j4/1   The next 12 months will see four-door sport-utes from GM, Ford, Nissan and others.
2001   Pop. Sci. Apr. 30/3   Chrysler will debut a Dodge Durango sport-ute with electric drive for the front axle and gasoline for the rear.

1989—2001(Hide quotations)


  sport utility   n. originally and chiefly North American  (a) attributive designating a coat or other article of outerwear designed for outdoor work and recreation (now rare);  (b) a vehicle designed for recreational use; (now) esp. = sport utility vehicle n.   (chiefly attributive).

1925   N.Y. Times 29 Sept. 6 (advt.)    Worn the world over—most generally accepted of sport utility coats.
1950   N.Y. Times 13 Aug. s4 (advt.)    New, fast, seaworthy 22′×5′ sport utility.
1991   Business Week 12 Aug. 73/3   And that, after all, is what sport-utilities are about.
1993   Albuquerque (New Mexico) Jrnl. 24 Apr. e1/1   1993 marks the third model year for the uppity sport utility 4-door.
2001   Boston Globe 8 July a1/5   It also has been active at the grass-roots level, including a rally outside sport-utility dealerships in Lynn.

1925—2001(Hide quotations)


  sport utility vehicle   n. originally and chiefly North American a four-wheel drive motor vehicle that can be used for recreational off-road driving (abbreviated SUV).

1969   Oakland (Calif.) Tribune 27 Feb. 25/5 (caption)    Chevrolet's new four-wheel-drive blazer, new sport-utility vehicle combines comfort, power, lots of options.
2000   Star-Ledger (Newark, New Jersey) 4 Jan. 12/3   President Clinton announces a plan to make sport utility vehicles meet the same emissions standards as cars to reduce air pollution.

1969—2000(Hide quotations)


  sport vehicle   n. originally and chiefly North American a vehicle intended for sporting or recreational use; spec. = sport utility vehicle n.

1929   Appleton (Wisconsin) Post-Crescent 27 Aug. 16/2   The most hopeful thing about this record is that the gain shown was in commercial and sport vehicles rather than in the military models [of aeroplane].
1968   Wall St. Jrnl. 6 Nov. 8/2   Enthusiasm for off-the-road driving has pushed annual sales of four-wheel-drive sport vehicles to a record of more than $145 million.
2007   Lancaster (Pa.) New Era (Nexis) 20 Nov. a9   Police arrested him for suspected drunken driving after his 2005 Suzuki sport-vehicle struck a tree.

1929—2007(Hide quotations)


  sport wheel   n. = sports wheel n. at Compounds 4b.

1954   Modesto (Calif.) Bee 13 Aug. 22/1 (advt.)    Studebaker... Overdrive, white walls, wire sport wheels.
2008   New Straits (Malaysia) Times (Nexis) 3 Feb. 12   Other than a new set of 15-inch sport wheels, the Waja has not been modified further.

1954—2008(Hide quotations)


  sport writer   n. = sportswriter n. at Compounds 4b.

1898   New Castle (Pa.) News 26 Jan. 1/5   According to the sport writer who makes batsmen boot to the outfield and firstbasemen make one armed throws to third.
2005   Scotsman (Nexis) 20 June 8   A fortnight ago came another successful match for the Finn, though the kind sport writers are obliged to state was made in heaven.

1898—2005(Hide quotations)

 b. With the first element in plural form.

  sports agent   n. a person who represents a professional athlete in financial and contractual matters.

1943   Kingston (N.Y.) Daily Freeman 17 Nov. 9/3   ‘I can put together a stellar representation,’..said the veteran sports agent.
2000   S. King On Writing 239   Sports agents represent minor leaguers who are basically playing for meal-money, in hopes that their young clients will make it to the bigs.

1943—2000(Hide quotations)


  sports anaemia   n. Medicine a typically mild degree of anaemia associated with intensive physical training and having a number of contributory factors, including increased destruction of red blood cells and plasma volume expansion.

1970   Nutrition Rev. 28 451 (title)    Anemia during physical training (sports anemia).
1977   Japanese Jrnl. Physiol. 27 413   Sports anemia induced by tennis training or exercising on a bicycle ergometer was studied in healthy male students.
1999   Chattanooga (Tennessee) Times Free Press (Nexis) 21 Aug. e9   I presumed that the diagnosis was sports anemia because neither further testing nor treatment was suggested.

1970—1999(Hide quotations)


  sports bag   n. (originally) a bag designed to accessorize informal or casual attire (cf. Compounds 1c(b)); (now chiefly) a bag designed to carry sports equipment or clothing.

1916   Gleaner (Kingston, Jamaica) 17 July 5/3 (advt.)    Sports Bag to match Coat.
1934   Lincoln (Nebraska) Jrnl. & Star 27 May 3 b/2 (advt.)    Zipper closed utility sports bag. For swimming. For picnicing.
1999   S. Bishop in J. Gay & J. Bell Hard Shoulder 147   All I've got is some Gap gear I just threw into a sportsbag along with the tinnies.

1916—1999(Hide quotations)


  sports bar   n. originally U.S. a bar with a sporting theme; esp. one where non-stop televised sport is shown.

1975   N.Y. Times 27 Jan. 16/4   Frequenting a popular Washington sports bar and restaurant.
1995   Independent on Sunday 30 July 20/3   When cable television companies launched round-the-clock sports channels, sports bars took off in the US in a big way.
2003   Variety 13 Jan. 42/2   The sound of televised baseball in a Yank-style sports bar tucked in a Venetian side street can be heard many blocks away deep inside the vast Piazza San Marco.

1975—2003(Hide quotations)


  sports bike   n.  (a) = sport bike n. (a) at Compounds 4a;  (b) = sport bike n. (b) at Compounds 4a.

1953   Winnipeg Free Press 28 Apr. 29/2 (advt.)    Man's Rawley Sports Bike.
1966   Oneonta (N.Y.) Star 1 Aug. 5/5   There are an assortment of popular sports bikes. The Ducati and Guzzi are made in Italy..and the Yamaha comes from Japan.
1993   Social Stud. Sci. 23 510   Racing, touring and sports bikes are generally referred to by mountain bikers under the blanket term of road bikes.
2001   FHM Feb. 177   Under that rather staid exterior beats the 150bhp engine from the mental YZF-R1 sportsbike.

1953—2001(Hide quotations)


  sports boat   n. a powerful, high-speed boat, esp. one used for racing.

1945   G. E. Pendray Coming Age Rocket Power xii. 172   It would not be surprising if sports boats and special purpose utility boats of various sorts were to undergo radical redesign in the near future.
2005   Dunoon Observer & Argyllshire Standard 15 July 20/2   Robin won his last race aboard his sportsboat, ‘Risque’, crewed by his wife.

1945—2005(Hide quotations)


  sports bra   n. a brassiere providing extra support for use during vigorous exercise.

[1917   Washington Post 3 June (Fashion section) 4/1   A sports brassiere for horseback riding and bathing which could be worn without any corsets or with just the rubber sports corsets.]
1936   Chicago Tribune 8 Feb. 13 (advt.)    Slip-over sports bra of firm, open mesh lastex.
2006   Daily Tel. 13 Mar. 23/3   You will have to choose between the two types of sports bras—compression or encapsulation.

1936—2006(Hide quotations)


  sports car   n. a low-built car designed for performance at high speeds, often having a roof that can be folded back.

1919   Times 12 Nov. 6/2   The sports car, however, is not everybody's vehicle.
1932   G. Winn Unequal Conflict xviii. 350   She nourished a wild hope that..she would find Derek's silver sports car standing outside.
1977   C. McCullough Thorn Birds xviii. 484   He pushed on, gunned the red sports car up..the Domokos Pass.
2005   T. Hall Salaam Brick Lane vii. 157   Four or five Bangladeshi teenagers crowded round a new sports car in which the owner sat.

1919—2005(Hide quotations)


  sportscast   n. a radio or television broadcast of a sporting event or sports news.

1930   Washington Post 16 Mar. a5/5 (radio listing)    Sportscasts, by Grantland Rice, WRC.
1976   H. Nielsen Brink of Murder i. 11   The sportscast on the portable TV was in progress.
1992   New Yorker 9 Mar. 53/2   Nature films are like highlight clips shown on the evening sportscast, all rim-bending slam dunks and bleacher-clearing home runs.

1930—1992(Hide quotations)


  sportscaster   n. North American a person who presents a sportscast, or commentates on a broadcasted sporting event.

1930   Syracuse (N.Y.) Herald-Jrnl. 28 Sept. 37/5   What we call wasted energy is the sportscasters who still announce each evening how many games the New York Yankees are leading the Boston Red Sox.
1938   Amer. Speech 13 239   Note that newscaster and sportscaster are now common terms in Variety.
1952   B. Wolfe Limbo xx. 323   With each passing day the sportscaster's voice lost a few more decibels of its professional bounce.
1964   M. McLuhan Understanding Media xxx. 303   A sportscaster had just begun his fifteen-minute reading from a script.
1981   ‘E. McBain’ Heat iii. 51   The sportscaster read off the baseball scores.
2004   Time Out N.Y. 16 Dec. 89/1   Which is the most insufferable? Duke's obnoxious fans, its floor-slapping players or the sportscasters who mindlessly drool over both?

1930—2004(Hide quotations)


  sportscasting n. the broadcasting of sport on radio or television.

1941   Newsweek 30 June 54/3   As was to be expected, Corum, an old hand at sportscasting turned in a top job.
1969   C. Armstrong Seven Seats to Moon xii. 125   J sat all the way through the sportscasting.
2003   N.Y. Mag. 20 Oct. 24/3   Rush's move..into the media mainstream—with his ESPN sportscasting job—is also a leap.

1941—2003(Hide quotations)


  sports channel   n. a (satellite or cable) television channel which is devoted to sport and coverage of sporting events.

1973   Fond Du Lac (Wisconsin) Reporter 10 Mar. 9/6   There may be many pay-TV channels—a showcase movie channel, a sports channel, an opera channel, even a Walt Disney channel.
1997   G. Williams Diamond Geezers xxiv. 154   Punters didn't have to watch abseiling from Latvia on a sports channel while sitting on a wood-effect stool that had been screwed to the floor.

1973—1997(Hide quotations)


  sports clinic   n.  (a) North American an event at which instruction or coaching in a particular sport or sports is given;  (b) a clinic dedicated to the treatment of injuries sustained during or caused by participation in sport.

1933   Times Recorder (Zanesville, Ohio) 22 Apr. 6/4   A sports clinic, a football game, five track meets and sundry college baseball battles are offered to Ohio fans Saturday.
1974   Star News (Pasadena, Calif.) 14 Sept. a8/3   Dr. James Nicholas, chief of the sports clinic at Lenox Hill Hospital..warns girls to stay away from football.
1997   A. Andersen Small Store Survival ii. 57   Sponsor a sports clinic or cooking class to educate or entertain the community.
2003   T. Lincoln Crossing Sat. Furlong 36   I manage to sneak in an early afternoon appointment at the sports clinic. I emerge walking tall, but still unable to set any weight on my shoulders.

1933—2003(Hide quotations)


  sports coat   n. a coat, now typically one worn by a man, for informal wear or (chiefly in early use) for sport; cf. sports jacket n.

1909   Times 26 Aug. 11/6 (advt.)    Our stock contains a great variety of new shapes and styles in Golf Jerseys and Sports Coats [for women].
1921   E. Ferber Girls xiv. 281   She wore her white wash-satin skirt and the pink sports coat and her big hat and looked very well indeed.
1951   L. P. Hartley My Fellow Devils xi. 100   His habitual dark Sunday wear a sports coat and flannel trousers.
1995   E. Arthur Antarctic Navigation 40   Dr. Jim always wore sports coats, with ties and button-down shirts.

1909—1995(Hide quotations)


  sports-coated adj. wearing a sports coat.

1952   B. Hamilton So Sad, so Fresh ii. 22   These sports-coated, bepiped, sophisticated young bloods.
2007   Seattle Times (Nexis) 17 Apr. c3   The sports-coated Johnny Marr had a relative loaf job. All he had to do was play guitar brilliantly and look cool.

1952—2007(Hide quotations)


  sports complex   n. originally and chiefly North American a sports centre offering a variety of different sports facilities, esp. under one roof.

1957   Mansfield (Ohio) News-Jrnl. 12 Dec. 41/5   Bob Considine calls it the greatest sports complex he has ever seen.
1991   Daily Tel. 5 Jan. (Colour Suppl.) 38/1   When completed, Ponds Forge will be the most versatile sports complex in the world.
2001   N.Y. Times 1 July xiv. 6/2   It is not clear whether New Jerseyans care a bat's ash what happens to the arena or, for that matter, to the entire sports complex.

1957—2001(Hide quotations)


  sports day   n. a day of organized sports for a particular group of people, esp. an occasion on which the pupils of a school compete in various races and athletic events.

1875   Ipswich Jrnl. 12 June 5/5   Both Friendly Societies..[decided] to hold a counter demonstration in the town on the Sports Day.
1906   Times 17 Jan. 11/6   It may interest you to know that about two years ago my company instituted a competition amongst passengers on Sports Day on board its steamers for the quickest and proper method of putting on the lifebelt.
1924   Times 22 Mar. 6/3   Shrewsbury School Sports Day will be on Saturday, March 29.
1940   F. Sargeson Man & his Wife (1944) 54   When the last war ended I was at the High School. We got the news of the armistice on our annual sports day.
1990   Independent 26 May (Mag.) 7/3   I remember sneaking off with a friend during Sport's Day at my school.

1875—1990(Hide quotations)


  sports diver   n. = sport diver n. at Compounds 4a.

1951   Berkshire Evening Eagle (Pittsfield, Mass.) 7 Dec. 14/5   Offshore abalones move into the shallows each year to repopulate the areas thinned out by the sports divers.
1955   A. VanderKogel & R. Lardner Underwater Sport xi. 166   The American sports diver seeking relatively close-at-hand areas for good hunting, worth-while exploring, coral and shell collecting,..should..take a trip south.
2006   Western Morning News (Plymouth) (Nexis) 27 Mar. 7   A student who was a qualified sports diver has died after a training dive went wrong 200 metres off the South Devon coast.

1951—2006(Hide quotations)


  sports diving   n. = sport diving n. at Compounds 4a.

1951   Billings (Montana) Gaz. 25 Dec. 14/2   The pressure of commercial and sports diving for abalone has been blamed for the lessening population of the much-sought mollusc.
1970   F. Scott & W. Scott Exploring Ocean Frontiers iii. 56   Advances in commercial diving and sports diving went hand in hand.
2007   Evening Chron. (Newcastle) (Nexis) 2 Oct. 22   I used to be involved with Sports Diving.

1951—2007(Hide quotations)


  sports doctor   n. a doctor who specializes in the physiological aspects of athletic performance, esp. the treatment of injuries sustained during or caused by participation in sporting activities.

1938   Lancet 26 Mar. 724/2   ‘Sports doctors’ judged the capacity of boys to participate in exercise, but had no opportunity to estimate results.
1972   Science 30 June 1399/3   Senior sports doctors..insist that steroids do not increase muscle but do have a variety of unpleasant side effects.
2004   L. Greene & R. Pate Training for Young Distance Runners (ed. 2) xx. 213   Runners with shin pain should consult a sports doctor because appropriate treatment depends on the cause.

1938—2004(Hide quotations)


  sports drink   n. a soft drink designed or marketed for consumption in conjunction with sporting activity or strenuous exercise, which typically contains electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and chloride, and a high percentage of sugar to restore energy.

1979   Washington Post 22 Feb. e17/3   Serfass is more than critical about the sports drink. ‘You don't need it. Water is the surest way for replacing fluids.’
2001   B. Geddes World Food: Caribbean 238/2   A sports drink has recently been developed from coconut water.

1979—2001(Hide quotations)


  sportsfest   n.  [compare earlier sportfest n. at Compounds 4a] a festival of sport; a meeting at which athletics or other competitive sports take place; (also) a piece of sporting entertainment; cf. sportfest n. at Compounds 4a.

1953   Oakland (Calif.) Tribune 13 Dec. c9/5   Faculty and student body are deep in plans and preparations for the annual Milk Fund Benefit, which features a sportsfest as part of the evening's entertainment.
1976   Listener 5 Aug. 151/1   Television caught both aspects of this mammoth sports-fest [sc. the Olympic Games] very well.
2004   Games TM Apr. 142/2   Consisting of six extreme sports events, up to eight players could compete in turn, taking control of skateboards, bikes and even surfboards in this alternative sports-fest.

1953—2004(Hide quotations)


  sports finder   n. Photography a direct-vision viewfinder usually consisting of a simple frame which allows action outside the field of view of the camera to be seen, fitted esp. to twin-lens reflex cameras.

1938   Times 17 Aug. 1/3 (advt.)    Leica outfit..universal and sports finder, lens hood, filters.
1977   J. Hedgecoe Photographer's Handbk. 165   Most twin lens reflexes have a ‘sports finder’ which folds out of the hood.
2002   Pop. Photogr. Apr. 83/2   We would not recommend using the direct vision sportsfinder for subjects closer than about 10 feet due to serious parallax error.

1938—2002(Hide quotations)


  sportsfisherman   n. originally and chiefly North American  (a) = sport fisherman n. (a) at Compounds 4a;  (b) = sport fisherman n. (b) at Compounds 4a.

1928   Los Angeles Times 21 June ii. 10/4   Salton Sea is to become a popular mecca for sports fishermen.
1960   J. J. Rowlands Spindrift from House by Sea 207   A small sports-fisherman, with the strong high bow of a Nova Scotia lobster boat, is taking on ice and provisions for a week-end cruise.
1994   Canad. Geographic Jan. 49/3 (caption)    Berry, an avid sportsfisherman, has made more than a dozen trips to the Red River to pursue his passion for catching some of the world's largest catfish.
2006   Bradenton (Florida) Herald (Nexis) 16 Apr. 4   Four lucky anglers will be fishing far off the peninsula for grouper and snapper as guests of Capt. Larry McGuire aboard his 31-foot sportsfisherman.

1928—2006(Hide quotations)

1926   Ironwood (Mich.) Daily Globe 6 July 4/5   Our good friends who are deeply concerned in the perpetuations of sports fishing.
2000   E. Hunt et al. South Pacific 855/2   Sportsfishing (mostly catch and release) on Bikini is quite good, with skipjack, yellowfin and trevallys.

1926—2000(Hide quotations)


  sports girl   n. a girl or young woman who takes part in sport.

1922   Times 22 Apr. 9/6 (headline)   Sports girls who ‘play the game’.
1938   J. Betjeman in New Statesman 12 Nov. 777/1   I adore you, Pam, you great big mountainous sports girl.
2007   Sunday Tel. (Nexis) 1 July (Sport section) 8   Maybe she is a disaster waiting to happen, like so many other American sports-girls who were hot-housed at a ridiculously young age.

1922—2007(Hide quotations)


  sports industry   n. the sporting world or realm, esp. viewed in commercial terms.

1920   All India Reporter (Lahore) 172/1   He has advertised his firm as being the founders of the sports industry in India and as being large manufacturers with extensive experience.
2006   Wall St. Jrnl. 16 Sept. r3/1   Team and league executives loosely divide the sports industry into three overlapping areas: content, or the leagues, teams and other sports organizations; channels of distribution..; and related businesses.

1920—2006(Hide quotations)


  sports injury   n. an injury sustained during or resulting from participation in sport.

1932   Washington Post 16 Jan. 8/3   Most people have had experience with sports injuries or bruises of like character due to other causes.
1963   Times 29 Nov. 6/3   The medical profession has shown comparatively little practical interest in the prevention of sports injuries.
2001   N. Jones Rough Guide Trav. Health ii. 415   Ruta grav is good for sprained wrists and ankles, torn ligaments and tendons and for sports injuries as a whole.

1932—2001(Hide quotations)


  sports jacket   n. a jacket, typically resembling a suit jacket and now usually worn by a man, for informal wear or (chiefly in early use) for sport; cf. sports coat n.

1912   Times 16 May 10/6   They are also showing some quite new white knitted sports jackets made of Shetland wool.
1927   ‘C. Barry’ Mouls House Mystery xx. 178   In an hour, Gilmartin was at his home, clad in an old sports jacket.
1962   J. D. Salinger Franny & Zooey 132   And there was old Dick..Sitting at a table in blue jeans and a gruesome sports jacket.
2001   I. Sinclair Landor's Tower (2002) i. i. 1   He was melting inside his undervest, white shirt, leather waistcoat, sports jacket, corduroy car coat.

1912—2001(Hide quotations)


  sports-jacketed adj. wearing a sports jacket.

1934   Washington Post 13 May (Rotogravure section) 8 (advt.)    Hatless and sports-jacketed for Summer.
1955   N. Fitzgerald House is Falling vii. 107   Brigadier Poodle Poole-Casey, hatless and sports-jacketed.
1992   Vanity Fair (N.Y.) Dec. 186/1   For 22 years, Alistair Cooke has been America's visual icon of cod Englishness, as the urbane..white-haired, sports-jacketed introducer of PBS's Masterpiece Theatre.

1934—1992(Hide quotations)


  sports kit   n. the clothing and equipment needed to participate in (a particular) sport; clothes worn for sport.Not in North American use.

1906   Field 30 June p. xxiii/2 (advt.)    Gentlemen making their preparations for the Shooting season should take the opportunity while in town of inspecting our Burberry Sports Kit for the Moors.
1952   Brit. Jrnl. Delinquency 3 16   At a boarding school..pupils have their own desks and lockers, their own books and instruments, their own sports kit and even their own rooms to look after.
2002   B July 58/2   A faux leather Nike duffel affair containing sweaty sports kit.

1906—2002(Hide quotations)


  sports massage   n. a type of massage (esp. a deep-tissue massage), often used to relieve pain in or relax muscles after sporting activity.

1955   H. Kubly Amer. in Italy 221   You like massage. I give good massage. I offer aesthetic, curative, and sports massages, and if you like, a massaggio generale.
1981   Washington Post (Nexis) 14 Aug. 50   ‘Joggers are often really tight people’, noted the sports massage specialist.
2000   Herald (Glasgow) (Electronic ed.) 9 Dec.   A totally exclusive treatment that incorporates a full sports massage, designed to reinvigorate and freshen tired and stressed muscle tissue.

1955—2000(Hide quotations)


  sports medicine n. the branch of medicine concerned chiefly with the physiological aspects of athletic performance, esp. the treatment of injuries sustained during or caused by participation in sporting activities.

1952   Humboldt (Calif.) Standard 26 Mar. 2/3   Dr Jokl is one of the outstanding authorities in the world on sports medicine.
1961   (title)    Journal of sports medicine and physical fitness.
2003   O. Shine Lang. Tennis 138   The ATP Tour employs four full-time Sports Medicine Trainers to care for players on the circuit.

1952—2003(Hide quotations)


  sports meet   n. an organized event at which a number of athletic or other sporting contests are held (cf. meet n.2 2b).

1947   N.Y. Times 21 July 17/1 (headline)    Park sports meet held.
1949   R. D. Matthews & M. Akrawi Educ. Arab Countries of Near East ix. 152   Competitive sports meets between schools are held in the larger cities.
2008   Statesman (India) (Nexis) 14 Jan.   The staff and the guardians decided to cancel the sports meet.

1947—2008(Hide quotations)


  sports palace   n. chiefly North American a large sports complex or venue offering numerous facilities.

1914   Chicago Sunday Tribune 14 June vii. 2/2   The winter sports palace which it is proposed to erect in New York... Lawn tennis courts will occupy the top floor, which will also have four full size curling rinks.
2001   B. Kamin Why Archit. Matters 212   How would the interior of Chicago's new sports palace measure up against the Stadium, a place fabled for its extraordinary intimacy and decibel levels?

1914—2001(Hide quotations)


  sportspeople   n. people who participate in sport or athletic activities.

1926   Times 1 Nov. 24/7 (advt.)    Gstaad... The place for sports people.
1999   Financial Times 9 Oct. (FT Weekend section) p. xxii/3   She would have preferred not to run in Sicily but, as with many strong-willed sportspeople,..[she] and her athletics' federation do not see eye to eye.

1926—1999(Hide quotations)


  sportsperson   n. a person who participates in sport or athletic activities; a sportsman or sportswoman.

1909   W. De Morgan It never can happen Again II. xxxix. 175   You may perhaps have caught some bird, maimed by a sportsman..and may have seen that it would be merciful in you, not a sportsperson at all, but a sentimentalist, to make a quick end of it.
1922   Lima (Ohio) News 6 Sept. (advt.)    The proper gloves are mighty important. They give a finisse [sic] that is noticeable to the particular sports person.
2004   Eventing Oct. 8/1   Entering the Olympic stadium for the opening ceremony in Athens must be about as close as most sportspersons get to feeling like rock stars.

1909—2004(Hide quotations)


  sports physician   n. = sports doctor n.

1935   J. B. Nash Interpret. Physic. Educ. V. 171   Sports Physicians.
1977   Time 9 May r1/2   Sports physicians will confirm that the average marathoner is a more ‘superb’ athlete than the fanciest of leftfielders.
2007   W. Briner Action Plan for Allergies viii. 173   Most sports physicians would advise stopping antihistamines and decongestants before strenuous exercise in hot environs.

1935—2007(Hide quotations)


  sports psychologist   n. a practitioner or student of sports psychology.

1947   Chicago Tribune 1 Jan. iv. 53/7   If there is a new record there really will be something for the sports psychologists to figure out.
1972   H. T. A. Whiting Readings in Sports Psychol. 4   A sports psychologist might approach his study of behaviour in a sporting situation in many different ways.
2001   FourFourTwo Sept. 63/1   He..was the sports psychologist for the British Olympic cycling team in 1992.

1947—2001(Hide quotations)


  sports psychology   n. (a branch of) psychology applied to aspects of participation in sport, esp. with the aim of enhancing performance in competitive sports.

1932   Chicago Tribune 14 Oct. 28/3   Charles Dorais, football coach at the University of Detroit, has sounded a new note in sports psychology.
1966   A. M. Olsen in F. Antonelli Proc. 1st Internat. Congr. Sports Psychol. 45   Sports psychology should cover all psychological problems of vital importance to the practice of sports.
1999   BBC Vegetarian Good Food May 26/1   During the week Joyce works from home on her PhD in sports psychology.

1932—1999(Hide quotations)


  sports racket   n. (also sports racquet) a racket used for striking the ball, shuttlecock, etc., in tennis, badminton, or other racket sports; = racket n.1 1b.

1934   Manch. Guardian 16 Mar. 20/3   The Import Duties Advisory Committee give notice of..the imposition of a specific duty on sports rackets and unstrung frames thereof.
1966   M. J. Barnes et al. Sports Activities for Girls & Women iii. 24   A badminton racket weighs about five ounces and is the lightest and most fragile of all sports rackets.
1989   U.S. Patent 4,860,531 1   There is a continuing need for new and improved sports racquet strings made from synthetic materials.
2015   Mirror (Nexis) 24 July   We..have not identified anyone carrying a firearm. We did identify someone..who was carrying a sports racket.

1934—2015(Hide quotations)


  sports science n. the study of disciplines such as anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, and psychology as they relate to sporting performance.

1968   H. Dawson On Outskirts of Hope 210   Some of the people I was sitting with were talking about sports science.
2005   E. Cashmore Making Sense of Sport (ed. 4) xviii. 462   Over the final two decades of the twentieth century, sports studies and sports science were, sometimes grudgingly, accepted as legitimate academic pursuits.

1968—2005(Hide quotations)


  sports scientist   n. an expert or specialist in sports science.

1965   Post-Standard (Syracuse, N.Y.) 2 Nov. 15/5   A Soviet sports scientist suggested this..at the opening here of a national conference.
1978   Science 26 May 921/1   In the past 30 years, sports scientists have clarified the roles played by carbohydrates and fats in metabolism during exercise.
2003   Muscle & Fitness Jan. 119/1   Problems sleeping, an irregular sleep/wake cycle and not having a consistent work rhythm can..lead to a condition called desynchronization, which sports scientists have found seriously hampers performance in Olympic athletes competing in foreign time zones.

1965—2003(Hide quotations)


  sports seat   n.  (a) any of various types of portable seat or cushion used by spectators at sporting events for extra comfort or when there are no seats provided;  (b) a type of seat typically found in a high-performance car, which provides additional lateral support, preventing the driver from sliding sideways while cornering; cf. bucket-seat n. at bucket n.1 Compounds.

1933   Times 21 Aug. 1/3 (advt.)    Pray then be seated! on the new umbrella with its comfortable leather covered sports seat handle.
1959   Morgantown (W. Va.) Post 5 Aug. 4/1 (advt.)    Padding... Outdoor furniture... Sports seats.
1982   Times 10 Dec. 21/7 (advt.)    Porsche... Light metallic blue. Sports seats.
2007   Volkswagen Driver Mar. 11/1   Inside, it has special half-Vienna leather sports seats, trimmed with Interlagos cloth panels and finished with red seam stitching.

1933—2007(Hide quotations)


  sports shirt   n. a shirt, now typically a short-sleeved one worn by a man, for informal wear or for sport.

1912   Times 15 June 11/6 (advt.)    Sports shirt, made from extra heavy pyjama silk, with stitched turned down collar and cuffs.
1962   ‘K. Orvis’ Damned & Destroyed 111   A loud, open-throated sports-shirt.
1998   P. Gourevitch We wish to inform You xvi. 262   An amiable man in a red sports shirt greeted me and introduced himself as Sindikubwabo's chief of protocol.

1912—1998(Hide quotations)


  sports-shirted adj. wearing a sports shirt.

1961   R. Tregaskis X-15 Diary iii. 207   Sports-shirted technicians were working nearby amid the big metal and wood ribs of the jigs on which the X-15s were built.
1998   Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch (Nexis) 8 Mar. c1   I spotted a group of sport-shirted VIPs strolling down the flight deck, sans helmets.

1961—1998(Hide quotations)


  sportsspeak   n. freq. depreciative = sportspeak n. at Compounds 4a.

1981   N.Y. Times Mag. 6 Dec. 54   In talking about these interviews, Wood echoes the sportsspeak they use about him.
2001   Herald (Glasgow) (Nexis) 19 Oct. 16   He helps them lift their game, to get back to the old sportsspeak, to identify and help remove the blockages that are stopping them being really successful.

1981—2001(Hide quotations)


  sports star   n. a celebrated or extremely famous sportsperson.

1921   Iowa City Press Citizen 30 June 1/1   The greatest sports stars of the American nation are those who are educated.
2006   Surface No. 62. 74   Soon, musicians and sports stars began exerting an unprecedented influence on the footwear industry.

1921—2006(Hide quotations)


  sports suspension   n. suspension fitted to high-performance vehicles, typically stiffer than that found in ordinary vehicles, having the effect of keeping the tyres in contact with the road more effectively, giving the vehicle better handling.

1966   Gastonia (N. Carolina) Gaz. 20 Mar. Family Weekly section   Along with the 207-hp-premier-fuel engine, you get distinctive emblems,..a tenacious sports suspension and those swaggering sports stripes.
1968   Times (Illinois) 4 Aug. 8 e/2   The Hurst-Olds modification car... Equipped with heavy duty rally sports suspension.
2008   Evening Chron. (Newcastle) (Nexis) 14 Mar. 14   [They] have a habit of fitting sports suspension to many of their test cars and that would certainly explain the rather hard ride.

1966—2008(Hide quotations)


  sports utility   n. originally and chiefly North American  (a) = sport utility n. (a) at Compounds 4a   (now rare);  (b) = sport utility n. (b) at Compounds 4a.

1940   Winnipeg Free Press 6 Mar. 22/1   Almost every man needs a sports utility jacket of this kind.
1947   N.Y. Times 18 Nov. 33/3   The ‘sports utility’ model is particularly designed for hunting, fishing or other recreational trips.
1999   Daily Tel. 18 June 3/1   She..drove her three daughters around their affluent suburb in a white ‘sports utility’.

1940—1999(Hide quotations)


  sports utility vehicle   n. originally and chiefly North American = sport utility vehicle n. at Compounds 4a   (abbreviated SUV).

1960   Oakland (Calif.) Tribune 17 July 12 c/3   The Toyota Land Cruiser, powerful 4-wheel drive sports utility vehicle.
1972   Washington Post 14 Nov. (Advt. Suppl.) 10 (advt.)    Suburban housewives are using..sports utility vehicles built on a truck chassis for a variety of activities.
1999   Earth Matters Summer 4/3   A distinction should be made between motorists who minimise their environmental impact and the increasing number who follow the American-inspired trend for ‘sports utility vehicles’.

1960—1999(Hide quotations)


  sports wheel   n. a type of wheel found in high-performance motor vehicles, typically more lightweight than those found in ordinary vehicles, designed to improve performance; usually in plural.

1957   Salina (Kansas) Jrnl. 30 Oct. 19/1 (advt.)    1953 Chrysler convertible—radio, heater, automatic, power steering and chrome wire sports wheels.
2000   Ralph 7 July 9   Creature comforts include a booming CD player, power steering, power windows, central locking, high performance sports wheels and a warranty that simply blows the competition away.

1957—2000(Hide quotations)


  sportswriter   n. a person whose job is to write about sport, esp. in a newspaper; a sports journalist.

1907   Iowa City Daily Press 19 Apr.   The Old Gold has been little figured on thus far by the sports writers of the capital city.
1932   B. Wood What Price Football vi. 100   A kind of sportswriter known to football players and coaches as a ‘Monday morning quarterback’... Not content with reporting the game..the writer must analyze it.
2004   N.Y. Times Bk. Rev. 4 July 6/2   American pundits, shock jocks, sportswriters and professional wisealecks go out of their way to deride a sport whose strange, minimalist beauty escapes them.

1907—2004(Hide quotations)




  ˈsportswise adv. in terms of sport, as far as sport is concerned.

1924   Nevada State Jrnl. 7 Feb. 5/1   Yale University looks for another successful year sportswise in 1924.
2007   Liverpool Echo (Nexis) 13 June 6   The week started and finished on a high note sportswise.

1924—2007(Hide quotations)


This entry has been updated (OED Third Edition, December 2008; most recently modified version published online March 2023).

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