Word of the Day


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Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter


someone who has won an important competition, especially in sport

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

Origin and usage

The noun champion came into English from Old French in the 13th century. Its origin was the Latin ‘campus’, meaning a place where people take part in exercise or military drill. The verb dates from the 17th century.


For a long time a champion was a fighter, a man of war; the term has only been applied to sports since the 18th century.  The most common meaning today is the person or team that has defeated all others in a sporting contest. In some part of the UK champion is used as an informal adjective, to mean ‘excellent’. Champion is also a verb; to champion someone or something, particularly a set of ideas or beliefs, is to support them publicly. Champion is sometimes shortened to champ. The verb champ comes from a different origin and has a different meaning. This week would have seen the start of the Wimbledon tennis championships: if you are nostalgic for the event and want to read about tennis terminology, you can find posts about some of the main terms by searching for tennis on the blog.


Liverpool’s 30-year wait to be champions of England again is over.

“We are the champions, my friends
And we’ll keep on fighting ’til the end
We are the champions
We are the champions
No time for losers
‘Cause we are the champions of the world.”
(Queen, We Are The Champions)

Related words

winner, victor, medallist, title-holder

Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.

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Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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