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From Middle English teme, from Old English tēam (child-bearing, offspring, brood, set of draught animals), from Proto-Germanic *taumaz (that which draws or pulls), from Proto-Germanic *taugijaną, *tugōną, *teuhōną, *teuhaną (to lead, bring, pull, draw), from Proto-Indo-European *dewk- (to pull, lead). Cognate with Scots team, teem (a chain, harness), West Frisian team (bridle, team), Dutch toom (bridle, reins, flock of birds), German Zaum (bridle), Norwegian tømme (bridle, rein), Swedish töm (leash, rein). More at tie, tow.



team (plural teams)

  1. A set of draught animals, such as two horses in front of a carriage.
    • Macaulay
      It happened almost every day that coaches stuck fast, until a team of cattle could be procured from some neighbouring farm to tug them out of the slough.
    • 1931, William Faulkner, Sanctuary, Vintage 1993, p. 111:
      The adjacent alleys were choked with tethered wagons, the teams reversed and nuzzling gnawed corn-ears over the tail-boards.
  2. Any group of people involved in the same activity, especially sports or work.
    We need more volunteers for the netball team.
    The IT manager leads a team of three software developers.
  3. (obsolete) A group of animals moving together, especially young ducks.
    • Holland
      a team of ducklings about her
    • Dryden
      a long team of snowy swans on high
  4. (UK, law, obsolete) A royalty or privilege granted by royal charter to a lord of a manor, of having, keeping, and judging in his court, his bondmen, neifes, and villains, and their offspring, or suit, that is, goods and chattels, and appurtenances thereto.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Burrill to this entry?)

Usage notes[edit]

  • When referring to the actions of a sports team, British English typically uses the third-person plural form rather than the third-person singular. However, this is not done in other contexts such as in business or politics.
    • 1885, The Cambridge Review, “C.U. Rugby Union: the University vs. Manchester”, volume 86, page 121: 
      Manchester were unable to bring the strong team they originally intended, []
    • 2000, Dan Goldstein, The rough guide to English football: a fans' handbook 2000-2001:
      Leeds were champions again.



The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.


team (third-person singular simple present teams, present participle teaming, simple past and past participle teamed)

  1. (intransitive) To form a group, as for sports or work.
    They teamed to complete the project.
  2. (transitive) To convey or haul with a team.
    to team lumber
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Thoreau to this entry?)

Derived terms[edit]




team m (invariable)

  1. team (group of people)



Old English[edit]


From Proto-Germanic *taumaz (pull, draw). Cognate with Old Frisian tām ‘bridle, progeny’, Old Saxon tōm, Old High German zoum (Dutch toom ‘rein, offspring’, German Zaum ‘bridle’), Old Norse taumr (Swedish töm ‘leash, rein’).



tēam m (nominative plural tēamas)

  1. childbirth
  2. family, offspring
  3. a team of draught animals
  4. an Anglo-Saxon legal procedure in a stolen goods suit



team n

  1. team



West Frisian[edit]


team n

  1. bridle
  2. team
"Sirkulaasjefollybal is in fariant op it 'gewoane' follybal, mei 4 spilers yn elts team." (Mini-volleyball is a variation of "normal" volleyball, with 4 players on each team.)