Definition of rugby in English:


(also rugby football)


  • A team game played with an oval ball that may be kicked, carried, and passed from hand to hand. Points are scored by grounding the ball behind the opponents' goal line (thereby scoring a try) or by kicking it between the two posts and over the crossbar of the opponents' goal.

    • ‘We see how excited people get when England start winning at cricket, football or rugby.’
    • ‘He was a school monitor, head of Clifton Rise house and played for the first team at both rugby and hockey.’
    • ‘As a teacher Andy worked at the City of London School, where he coached cricket and rugby.’
    • ‘The laws of a game like rugby football differ from norms of conduct enforced by the courts.’
    • ‘Competition between the constituent nations of the United Kingdom got under way almost as soon as the sports of association and rugby football had their rules agreed.’
    • ‘I still love playing rugby and tennis and I have no problem getting about the pitch or the court.’
    • ‘They're really getting behind the team and seem to be genuinely enjoying their rugby.’
    • ‘Michael hopes to continue playing golf but accepts that his rugby playing days are over.’
    • ‘This is a weakness in the club structure and is something we are investing heavily in to promote tennis, rugby football and athletics.’
    • ‘Open rugby was impossible in strong winds, as the ball was constantly blown off course.’
    • ‘In perfect conditions for rugby football, the team was playing with pace and precision, looking to move the ball at every opportunity.’
    • ‘Football is kicking rugby off the top spot at some of the region's leading public schools.’
    • ‘Satellite television carries cricket, football and rugby every day of every week.’
    • ‘Both sides play a similar open style of rugby which should produce a fine spectacle.’
    • ‘Keen frosts had slowly given way to warmer weather and after a fortnight's hold-up rugby football and hockey teams were able to play.’
    • ‘What pleases me is that they are playing great rugby football, and the whole team are smiling a lot.’
    • ‘You can give them all the money in the world, they won't improve their standard of rugby football unless they get better competition.’
    • ‘In rugby, the ratio of the hand pass to the kick is much lower than in Gaelic football.’
    • ‘He's also very keen on sports, he's very keen on rugby football.’
    • ‘Anyone participating in serious competitive games of rugby football must expect to receive his or her fair share of knocks, bruises, strains, abrasions and minor bodily injuries.’


Mid 19th century: named after Rugby School (see Rugby), where the game was first played.