Word of the Day



1. a game played by two teams of 11 players who get points by hitting a ball with a bat and running between two sets of sticks called stumps

2. a small brown insect that moves by jumping and makes a loud noise by rubbing its front wings together

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

Origin and usage

The name cricket was first applied to the game with bat and ball in the 16th century. It may derive from an earlier meaning of the word which referred to a type of low wooden stool, although this is not certain. The name of the insect dates back to the 14th century and is borrowed from the French word ‘criket’ or ‘criquet’ which imitates the sound it makes.


The origins of the famously complicated game of cricket lie in the south east of England in the 16th and 17th centuries. The laws of cricket were first codified in the mid 18th century. As played today the sport takes several different forms lasting from a few hours to several days. The Cricket World Cup, which takes place every four years, consists of One Day matches organized according to a format that has changed several times over the years. This year’s tournament, which starts today, will take the form of a round robin competition followed by semifinals and finals. Cricket has traditionally been associated with ideals of fair play, reflected in the phrase it’s not cricket to refer to behaviour that is not fair or correct.


Cricket to us, like you, was more than play,
It was a worship in the summer sun.”
(Edmund Blunden, Pride of the Village)

“Drama happens in big cricket matches. But also in small cricket matches.”
(Harold Pinter)

Related words

bail, bat, innings, stumps, wicket

Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.

About the author

Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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