There are 2 main definitions of rugby in English:

Share this entry

rugby 1

Pronunciation: /ˈrʌɡbi/
(also rugby football)


[mass noun]
A team game played with an oval ball that may be kicked, carried, and passed from hand to hand. Points are scored by grounding the ball behind the opponents’ goal line (thereby scoring a try) or by kicking it between the two posts and over the crossbar of the opponents’ goal. See also rugby league and rugby union.
Example sentences
  • Keen frosts had slowly given way to warmer weather and after a fortnight's hold-up rugby football and hockey teams were able to play.
  • He was a school monitor, head of Clifton Rise house and played for the first team at both rugby and hockey.
  • Football is kicking rugby off the top spot at some of the region's leading public schools.


rugby, racing, and beer

NZ The three traditional interests of the stereotypical New Zealand man: Clark stopped trying to bond over rugby, racing, and beer
Modelled on the phrase wine, women, and song
More example sentences
  • There are certainly things that interest me more about New Zealand than rugby, racing and beer.
  • The old cult of rugby, racing and beer no longer holds sway.
  • Beer has come a long way and there are now plenty of them being lovingly crafted all over the nation of rugby, racing and beer.


Mid 19th century: named after Rugby School (see Rugby), where the game was first played.

  • The game of rugby is named after Rugby School in Warwickshire, England, the public school where it was first played. According to tradition, in a school football match in 1823 a boy named William Webb Ellis first took the ball in his arms and ran with it, so originating the game. The informal name rugger was invented at Oxford University in, it seems, 1893. At the time there was a student craze for adding –er to the end of words, which gave us words such as soccer, brekkers (for ‘breakfast’), and preggers (for ‘pregnant’), as well as some that lasted only for a year or so, like Pragger-Wagger for the Prince of Wales, and even wagger-pagger-bagger for ‘wastepaper basket’. Ironically, the craze started at Rugby School, home of rugby.

Share this entry

There are 2 main definitions of rugby in English:

Share this entry

Rugby 2

Pronunciation: /ˈrʌɡbi/
A town in central England, on the River Avon in Warwickshire; population 64,300 (est. 2009). Rugby School was founded there in 1567.
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.