Word of the Day

the World Cup

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an international football competition that takes place every four years

Origin and usage

The World Cup is so named because it is a global competition. The word ‘world’ comes from the Old English word ‘woruld’ meaning ‘mankind, humanity’. The word ‘cup’ comes from the Old English word ‘cuppe’ meaning ‘small vessel used to hold liquids’. The original award for winning the World Cup was a trophy with a statue holding a large cup.


The World Cup refers to an international football tournament played between the senior men’s national teams from countries that are members of the tournament’s governing body, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).

The World Cup was first played in 1930 in Uruguay and now includes 32 teams from all over the world. The World Cup is held in a different location every four years, and the team from the host nation automatically qualifies to play.

Teams qualify for the World Cup through a three-year-long period of international competition leading up to the main event. Once 32 teams have qualified, they move on to the final tournament phase in the host country. These competitions are held at various locations in the host nation and last about a month.

Today, the World Cup is the most popular international football tournament and the most widely viewed, attended and followed sporting event in the world. Billions of people across the globe follow the World Cup every year, with a viewing audience that is bigger than even the Olympic Games.


“You have to show up in the World Cup, and in the World Cup anything can happen.”
(Lionel Messi)

The World Cup is a very important way to measure the good players, and the great ones. It is a test of a great player.”

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

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