Word of the Day


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Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter


1. a competition to find the best player or team in a sport or game

2. the position of being a champion

3. the support someone gives to a set of beliefs, political goals, or a group of people

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

Origin and usage

The noun championship was first used in English in the early 19th century to refer to the position of champion. It is a combination of the noun champion, which dates back to the 13th century, and the suffix -ship. The word’s use was extended to mean ‘the competition to find a champion‘ in the late 19th century.


Yesterday marked the start of the tennis competition known as The Championships, Wimbledon, usually simply called ‘Wimbledon‘. In the next couple of weeks these posts will focus on some of the terminology surrounding the sport of tennis, starting with championship. Championships exist in many different sports in addition to tennis and football, as well as in games like chess. In England the highest division of the Football League (and the second highest division after the Premier League) is referred to as the Championship; it was previously called the First Division. The winner of a championship is the champion, sometimes shortened to champ. There is an unrelated verb champ that means to bite or eat food noisily. If someone is champing at the bit they are eager and impatient to start doing something. Champion is also a verb that relates to the third meaning above: to champion someone or something is to publicly support or defend them. The adjective champion, meaning ‘very good’, is used in some dialects of English.


“I think the players win the championship, and the organization has something to do with it, don’t get me wrong. But don’t try to put the organization above the players.”
(Michael Jordan)

“When I won the world championship, in 1972, the United States had an image of, you know, a football country, a baseball country, but nobody thought of it as an intellectual country.”
(Bobby Fischer)

Related words

competition, contest, tournament

Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.

About the author

Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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