1. a group of teams or players who regularly compete against one another, put in order according to how many points they have won
2. a group of people, organizations, or countries that have joined together because they have the same interests or aims
Origin and usage
From the Late Middle English word for a group of individuals or powers who unite for mutual advantage or protection, the word league originally derives from the Latin ‘ligare’, meaning ‘to bind’. It later came to refer to a competition where teams or players are ranked according to how many points they win.
Although it can be used in multiple contexts, most meanings of league refer to an assembly or group of some kind who have united for one reason or another. This could either be to compete against each other or to work together to achieve a shared goal.
The first usage of the word league in football competitions was the English Football League, founded in 1888. It currently comprises 72 member clubs, including Leeds United, Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United. This league represents the largest single body of professional clubs in European football.
League can also refer to a group that comes together for a shared purpose. An example of this would be the League of Nations, which was founded at the end of the First World War during the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. The mission of this league was to prevent further wars through collective security.
“I couldn’t beat people with my strength. I don’t have a hard shot. I’m not the quickest skater in the league. My eyes and my mind have to do most of the work.”
“I think that the friendship that women share is so powerful. In fact, there’s nothing quite like it. People talk about mother-child bonds, but I would argue that female friendship bond is also in a league unto its own.”
(Amanda de Cadenet)
association, organization, league table