Sport – Defining What It Is

“Sport” is generally defined as “any form of bodily activity that involves competitive or non-competition”, “a branch of sport activity”, “an athletic, sporting or recreational pursuit designed for the development of the body, mind or spirit” or “any game or sport that employs rules similar to those used in other divisions of organized sports”. “Sport” encompasses a wide range of activities that we find in daily life, but there is no universally accepted meaning for the term. The dictionary definition, though, uses three distinguishable characteristics to describe a sport: the competition of two or more persons; participation in a course of action; and the use of physical contact. Fundamentally, sport includes any activity that brings about an interaction of the faculties.


According to Merriam Webster’s Online Dictionary, the most common definitions of sport include “the athletic action of a sport, especially a game; the competition of two or more persons” and “an attempt or practice made with reference to winning”. In British English, the most commonly used definitions for sport include “any game or sport in which one person tries to beat another by trying either to outdo, outmaneuver, or otherwise excel in any other way, as by agility, athletics, skill, or physical dexterity”. Additionally, a “sport” is used to describe any activity undertaken for the purpose of competing, or of exhibiting the skills, arts, sportsmanship, or physical prowess of one person against another. Sport can also be used to describe any event or competition that a participant is preparing for, such as swimming, cycling, running, skiing, golfing, rugby, or any other sport.

Competitive games or exercises are usually characterized by physical exertion and involve the use of skill, physical exertion, or physical endurance. There is a big difference between skill and physical exertion. For example, there is no skill involved in canoeing, but rather a person’s skill or strength in getting from point A to Point B, where in competition, the person has to be as physically fit as possible. The same could be said of running, swimming, and cycling – it all involves skill.