The term “football” has a long and interesting history. It originated in England, where it was used to differentiate association football from its cousin, rugby. The word was an abbreviation of the phrase “association football”, and it quickly spread beyond the British Isles. Today, the term is used in many countries to refer to the sport of association football, also known as soccer.
In the United States, the term “football” is often assumed to be an Americanism. However, this is not the case. The word is actually of British origin, and it was used to refer to association football well into the 20th century. The parallel terms “football” and “football” (or combined “football”) were used interchangeably until football emerged as the dominant name in most parts of the world.
The reason why Americans (and other countries) are more likely to use the word “football” than the British is due to how the sport developed in each country. In England, aristocratic children came up with abbreviated terms such as “rugby” and “football” to differentiate between rugby football and association football. Meanwhile, in the United States, American football (a term recorded in the 1870s) was based on rugby and had already taken off when association football became popular. In addition, there are many other languages in which the common term for association football is phonetically similar to the English term “football”.
For example, in Irish, which is originally from a country where football is the most common English term for this sport, people use to take out. The interesting thing here is that the British still used “football” regularly for a large part of the 20th century. The latter term was further shortened to “football” (sometimes spelled “socker”), and the name quickly spread beyond campus. Other countries where the word “football” is common include those that, like the United States, have competitive forms of football. In Weineck's words, a book entitled It's Football, Not Football (and vice versa) delves into the culture of the internet, the history of sport and words, the rarity of linguistic ostracism, and the relationship between sport and nationalism. The United States Football Association changed its name to the United States Football Association in 1945 and later dispensed with “Football Altogether”.
This further cemented the use of “football” as a term for association football in North America. Today, football is one of the most popular sports in the world. Watch exclusive documentaries covering football's most important moments, top players and godparents just in time for the World Cup.