Student Dictionary

3 entries found for derby.
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Main Entry: der·by
Pronunciation: primarystressdschwar-bemacron, especially British primarystressdär-
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural derbies
Etymology: named for Edward Stanley, 12th earl of Derby (a county and town in England)
1 : a horse race usually for three-year-olds held annually
2 : a race or contest open to all comers <a fishing derby>
3 : a stiff felt hat with dome-shaped top and narrow brim
Word History The original derby is a horse race held every year on a racetrack not far from London. The race got its name from the man who started it back in 1780, Edward Stanley, the 12th earl of Derby. Stanley's title comes from the name of an English county and town. In time, the derby became the most important horse race in England. Later, people started using the word derby for the most important horse race in other countries and then for a race or contest of any kind. Just how the man's dome-shaped hat came to be called a derby is not known. But it probably started when men began to wear this hat on sporting occasions, such as to the races.

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