Word of the Day


© Getty Images/Juice Images RF


a game in which two or four players use rackets to hit a shuttlecock to each other across a net

Origin and usage

The noun badminton in reference to the indoor game dates from 1863. An earlier meaning, referring to a summer drink made of sweetened red wine and soda water and spelled with a capital B, is no longer in use.


The name badminton is believed to derive from the stately home of the same name, the seat of the Dukes of Beaufort. Although the evidence for this derivation is not cast-iron, it seems reasonable to regard badminton as an eponym. Badminton is a variant of an earlier game called ‘battledore’ which was played without a net. Both games have in common the shuttlecock, a conical object originally made of goose or duck feathers embedded in a base made of cork or rubber, but these days sometimes of plastic. Although plastic shuttlecocks are more durable, many players prefer the feathered version and this is the one used in serious badminton matches and tournaments.


Badminton is a cruel sport.”
(Lin Dan)

“Sometimes I play cricket, and I play badminton.”
(Malala Yousafzai)

Related words

rackets, squash, table tennis, tennis

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

About the author

Macmillan Dictionary

Macmillan Dictionary

Leave a Comment