Sports Vocabulary- Specific & General Meanings


Other meanings of vocabulary used to describe sports

By: Alex Case
Level: Advanced
Topic: Sport
Grammar Topic: Vocabulary

Other meanings of sports vocabulary

All the words and expressions below have both a sporting meaning and a non-sporting meaning. They are arranged by sport. Choose one of the words and explain what you think both meanings are, mentioning the sport if you like, until your partner guesses which word you are talking about.

  • bar, horse, landing, mat, ring, dismount
  • birdie, driver, eagle, handicap, hazard, hole, iron, par, rough, slice, swing, wood
  • bowl, slip, duck, tea
  • court, dribble, shoot, time out, basket, rebound, slam, travelling
  • diamond, base, strike, ball, steal, tag, walk
  • false start, flying start, lane, lap, track
  • flat, fence
  • The Blues, anticipation, attempt, away, bar, bid, booking, in the box, bury, cap (n), card, caution, clearance, competitive, concede, control (n), cross (n/ v), decision, deep, deficit, demotion, dissent, dive, domestic, dribble, dummy, hacking, hold the ball, home, in front, indirect, kit, leg, nutmeg, officials, pass (n/v), penalty, promoted/ promotion, put it away, reserves, save (v), sending off, set up, shoot, shot, side, sign (v), silverware, sit back, slot it in, spot (n), square (adj), stamp (v), stay up, sub, supply line, tame, terrace, top half, toss, transfer, trap, tuck it away, wall, wing, woodwork
  • hook, jab, ring, corner
  • return, ace, advantage, deuce, doubles, fault, let, lob, love, rally, set, clay, net, court, serve
  • strike, split, clear, lane, gutter
  • stroke, trunks, butterfly, crawl, length
  • table, cue, pot, chalk, pocket, spot, the D
  • the pits, lap, pole position, retire
  • try, conversion, tackle, hooker

What are the sports above?

Are there any words you know the sporting meaning of but not the other meaning(s)?

Useful language for describing meanings

“In sport/ baseball/…, this means…”

“The original meaning/ Its sporting meaning is…”

“It is used in sport/ swimming/… to mean…”


“Its more general meaning is…”

“Outside sport it is used to mean…”

“In ordinary conversation/ normal speech/ daily life/ day to day use, this means…”

“It’s used in business/ politics/ newspapers/ television news/… to mean…”


“I guess/ I suppose/ I reckon/ I imagine…”/ “…almost certainly/ probably/ possibly…”

“I’ve studied this one before and…”

“There is a similar idiom in my language.”

“It’s a positive thing/ negative thing…”


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