Origin of the word competition

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Competitions have been extremely popular all over the world for centuries. From the Olympic Games to a local football match on Sunday afternoon. From silent chess halls to noisy Formula-1 circuits. A match is always about one or more parties trying to beat an opponent.

Large events such as the Superbowl or a world championship attract millions of spectators. Stadiums and living rooms are full of tense people who sympathize with profit and loss. And something that attracts so many people also attracts a lot of money. In addition to advertisements and sponsors, money can also be used at these events. It is therefore not by chance that the word match comes from betting.

The history of the word competition

The word competition can be divided into the words betting and struggle. The two words are fiercely connected to each other. The origin is the German word competition. However, this word was not used for long by the Germans; It was replaced by competition. But in that short time it was taken over by the Netherlands and remained unchanged. In this way competition has a comfortable place within the American language. As mentioned earlier, it consists of the words betting and struggle. That is why it is interesting to take a closer look at these words.

The word betting

Betting is something that can cause tension and pleasure, but where is the origin of the word? Like so many words, this lies with the Romans, but some historians also point to the Germans. The original words on which it can be based are very similar. These words are Wetti, wage in prayer. The etymology of these words is interesting. The Germanic word wadi means (under) building. The Northern Germanic word, which has a link with the Vikings, is prayer. This indicates a down payment. The word came from the old English later to wed, what refers to marriage and wedding promises.

From betting to competition

The old words therefore roughly refer to something that has to do with promises and similarities. It is therefore primarily a legal term. The word Wetti Was in the 8e century a loan agreement when purchasing a house; Think of a mortgage. Laws and bets were used interchangeably around 1100. This was for matters concerning the recognition of similarities and promises. In the 14e century Hanseatic cities were created and traders started using words from the justice for other goals. In addition to a promise, it became a way to indicate punishment or a fine.

Later it also referred to the instance those fines. In the same century, there was also origin for Betting in medieval knight games. This concerned the deposit of money at a competition. The German word for competition (competition), however, only in the 16e century used. That is also the period where competition appeared in American.


The second part of the word competition is about fighting. A story is also attached to this word. The earliest known form is Leveling. This word, just like betting, comes from the legal world and dates from 8e century. In this form it has nothing to do with a physical struggle. It has more to do with fighting with words, as the Germans later also speak streit use for areas. Reputable therefore means settling something like a dispute.

From fighting to competition

Incidentally, there is discussions among historians about old forms of the word fighting. And whether these forms relate to physical fights or oral fighting. This concerns words like the battle, the stray of a stride, who are close together in terms of sound. So whether it was then a general conflict, a beak or a physical confrontation is not completely clear. This clearly only came around the year 1200 in the form of an independent noun to fight. Shortly thereafter it was also used as a verb to indicate the fighting itself.

The combination of betting and fighting

The words that emerged separately turned out to be a good combination. Around 1600 they met to form their own word competition. There were also other words around that time that use the prefix "wed". The most famous variant of this is race.

But also the bet for horse races, as well as the word compressing are an example of this. These words know their origin in Germany and are then absorbed by American. In addition, it is striking that Germany itself no longer uses the word competition. So competition made for competition.

A golden combination

The link between betting and battle is therefore gone from the Germans. This link is also not there in other countries; They have words with a different background. For example, the English are usually talking about one match. In the past this was combined with the word game. Later these words became independent of each other. Use the American concours.

You can check per country what word they use and what the origin of this is. In the Netherlands we still use the word competition. And we still have the connotation with betting, by which we mean gambling on the profit of a participant or means. Nowadays this mainly happens with money, but in the past there were also other goods here.

Match as a wider term

In a competition, the intention is that one or more parties will win. For this, an opponent must be conquered or proven that they are best on a certain discipline. In addition to sports competitions and events, this can also occur in the political field. Fight on a large global scale can lead to conflicts or war. When this concerns military conflicts, the term weapon race is used.

Hereby countries or powers try to surpass each other with the technology of weapons and even the number of weapons. Fortunately, the word competition is used more often to indicate sporting events. Although these can also cause large conflicts. Certainly with a fanatic supporters at an important competition. Honor and glory for the victor, and frustration and defeat for the loser.

Other terms with competition

A victory (or sometimes curse) of American is that many words can be stuck together. For example, if Ajax plays in the Johan Cruyff Arena, this is a home game for them. If they play in De Kuip in Rotterdam, we speak of an away game. For example, a player is sometimes honored who retires. This has a special bond with a team and gets a final game to say goodbye. A farewell match is then organized. Perhaps you know this concept of football, but also in basketball, hockey and cycling.


Competition is a term that is deeply rooted in our language. It is usually also in the same breath with competition. One or more people, sometimes in a team, compete in the same game or discipline for the victory. Sometimes this is clear to everyone, for example with a 100 meter sprint. Even if it is close, a camera is quickly used to clarify a photo finish.

For other events it is not always immediately clear whether someone wins. A jury or referee comes in handy who is the deciding factor. Sometimes this is a minimal difference and there are all kinds of rules that are decisive. It is noticeable that a jury is used. Since the origin of the word betting also has a legal connection.

Bet and fight

Betting on competitions Has gained a lot of popularity in the last century. For example, betting on horse races is part of English culture. They have even built huge events around it. Everywhere there is competition, it is possible to bet on it, and nowadays there is a lot of competition. Classic sports such as football and basketball have been popular with gamblers for years. But also think of boxing, where many high amounts occur.

This way you can also bet on e-sports. People play video games against each other at the highest level. Every country has its own laws when it comes to this. There are also slots gambling competitions. A competition between two slots on one machine. Competition always has a place in culture and society, regardless of the developments of the world. There will always be divided and fighting and in American we have the perfect word for that.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the origin of the word competition?

The word competition comes from the words betting and fighting. The origin comes from betting. This is a German word, but is no longer used in Germany. Around 1600 this was taken over by American and remained unchanged. Since then it has a permanent place in the American dictionary.

What is the origin of the word betting?

Although it is usually attributed to the Romans, the origin can be found in several languages. In the Germanic and former English, there are also words that seem to find on betting: Wetti, wage in prayer. The word has traditionally has a legal connection and had to do with similarities and promises. Together with battle, bet is the word competition.

What is the origin of the word fighting?

The earliest known form of fighting is Leveling. The meaning comes down to settling a difference. It is not clear whether the first forms also indicate a physical fight. It was more a description of general struggle. Around 1200 it got that meaning. First as a noun to describe a fight. Then as a verb with which fighting was meant. And in combination with betting, the word competition was created from this.

Does every country have the same origin of the word competition?

Every country uses a different word for competition. That's how the English use the word match of game. It depends on the history they have with the word. The word as we know it has a connection with German. After all, we took it from them. Take a look at the word competition. However, the Germans have changed the word to competition.

What is the definition of the word competition?

It is usually used to indicate an event. Hereby one or more parties of one or more opponents try to win. Sometimes it is also used to indicate political struggle. Hereby countries or powers try to surpass each other and to win a conflict. This can lead to war. But the most used form is that of competition with the sport as a textbook.

What other forms does the word competition know?

The word "wed" can be stuck in the American language in other words. There are home and away games. To honor a player who will retire, farewell matches are given occasionally. It also appears in the word race. The word does not always have to do with a sport.

What does betting have to do with competition?

The word is a combination of betting and struggle. By betting we mean gambling at events where money is used. Historically, these two are connected. Although the word has a legal background, we mainly know it in this form. It used to be used at a loan agreement when purchasing a house. In addition, it also meant an agreement and the collection of a fine. Eventually the Germans combined wed and struggle and American took over. That's how the word competition came about.

Can you bet on a competition?

It is possible to bet on a competition, although the rules differ per country. This means the use of money on the outcome of a competition. Consider, for example, boxing competitions, where high amounts occur. In England bet on horse races is a national phenomenon. Nowadays it is also possible to do this on slots and lock machines. In this way the possibility of betting becomes greater the more developments are. Just think about this Legal American online casinos.

What is the difference between match and event?

Event is a broader concept that can take a competition. At an event, many people come together for an organized event. Sports events are a good example of this. Many competitions are held here. Examples of sporting events are the Superbowl, the World Cup and a race in Formula 1.

Where does the term come from?

The origin of competition is probably with the word Wetti. This is a Roman term from the 8e century and had a kind of mortgage as a meaning. The origin is therefore mainly legal and has to do with similarities and promises. The words bet and fight were combined by the Germans (competition) and taken over in American as a competition.