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See also: Football, foot-ball, and foot ball


A football used for association football
A football used for American football
A rugby union football

Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English fotbal, footbal, equivalent to foot +‎ ball, which may refer to the act of kicking a ball with the feet. The name for the briefcase is a play on “dropkick”, the code name of an early version of the nuclear war plan.[1]



football (countable and uncountable, plural footballs)

  1. (general) A sport played on foot in which teams attempt to get a ball into a goal or zone defended by the other team.
    Roman and medieval football matches were more violent than any modern type of football.
  2. (UK, uncountable) Association football: a game in which two teams each contend to get a round ball into the other team's goal primarily by kicking the ball. Known as soccer in Canada, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:football
    Each team scored three goals when they played football.
  3. (US, uncountable) American football: a game played on a field of 100 yards long and 53 1/3 yards wide in which two teams of 11 players attempt to get an ovoid ball to the end of each other's territory.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:football
    Each team scored two touchdowns when they played football.
  4. (Canada, uncountable) Canadian football: a game played on a field of 110 yards long and 65 yards wide in which two teams of 12 players attempt to get an ovoid ball to the end of each other's territory.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:football
    They played football in the snow.
  5. (Australia, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory, uncountable) Australian rules football.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:football
  6. (Ireland, uncountable) Gaelic football: a field game played with similar rules to hurling, but using hands and feet rather than a stick, and a ball, similar to, yet smaller than a soccer ball.
  7. (Australia, New South Wales, Queensland, uncountable) rugby league.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:football
  8. (Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, uncountable) rugby union.
  9. (countable) The ball used in any game called "football".
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:football
    The player kicked the football.
  10. (uncountable) Practice of these particular games, or techniques used in them.
  11. (figuratively, countable) An item of discussion, particularly in a back-and-forth manner
    That budget item became a political football.
  12. (US military slang, countable) The leather briefcase containing classified nuclear war plans which is always near the US President.
    Synonyms: nuclear football, atomic football, black box, black bag
    Coordinate term: Cheget
    • 1994, Herbert L. Abrams, The President Has Been Shot: Confusion, Disability, and the 25th Amendment, Stanford University Press (→ISBN), page 126:
      The aide rides, along with the president's physician, in the “control car,” third in line in the motorcade. He is responsible for the football (or “black box” or “black bag”), a briefcase containing the codes and targeting information the president would require to order or authorize a nuclear attack.
    • 2020 June 23, John Bolton, The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir, New York, N.Y.: Simon & Schuster, →ISBN, page 155:
      After the lunch broke, we walked to the Trump-Putin press conference, which started about 6 p.m. As Kelly observed to me at some point, there were now two military aides in the room, each carrying his country's nuclear football.

Usage notes[edit]

In the US the term 'football' is used in almost all contexts to mean American Football, contrary to the UK, which calls 'Association Football' (soccer) football


Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]



The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


football (third-person singular simple present footballs, present participle footballing, simple past and past participle footballed)

  1. (intransitive, rare) To play football.
    • 1969, Alec Hugh Chisholm, The Joy of the Earth (page 358)
      It was an announcement of the outbreak of what is now termed World War I. Some of us lads were footballing when we heard the news. It left us bewildered.
    • 2019, David Randall, Suburbia: A Far from Ordinary Place
      You walked up our road, passed the elms that bordered our park until Dutch disease killed them in the early 1970s, diagonally crossed its field where we footballed, turned right at the drinking fountain and cattle trough []

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ Associated Press (2005-05-05), “Military aides still carry the president's nuclear 'football'”, in USA Today[1], archived from the original on 2015-02-26: “It got its nickname because an early version of the nuclear war plan — the SIOP, or Single Integrated Operational Plan — was code-named "dropkick."”



From English football.



football m (plural footballs)

  1. association football, soccer
    Synonym: (Louisiana) pelote au pied
  2. (Canada) Canadian football
    Synonym: football canadien
  3. (Louisiana) American football
    Synonym: football américain

Further reading[edit]



From English.


football (uncountable)

  1. football (UK), soccer (US, Canada)

Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative form of fotbal



football m (uncountable)

  1. Dated spelling of futebol.



From English football, clipping of English American football,.

football c

  1. American football

Usage notes[edit]

Found primarily in subtitling of television and movies, due to its brevity, where fotboll could be interpreted as association football.


  1. Amerikansk fotboll