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badminton (bădˈmĭntən), game played by volleying a shuttlecock (called a “bird”)—a small, cork hemisphere to which feathers are attached—over a net. Light, gut-strung rackets are used. Badminton, which is generally similar to tennis, is played by two or four persons. A badminton court for singles play measures 17 ft (5.18 m) by 44 ft (13.40 m) and for doubles 20 ft (6.10 m) by 44 ft (13.40 m). The net is 5 ft (1.52 m) high at the center and 5 ft 1 in. (1.55 m) at the posts. The game probably originated in India (where it was called poona), although it may have been known earlier in China. It was popular in the 1870s in England, taking its name from Badminton, the Gloucestershire estate of the duke of Beaufort. The game was introduced into the United States in the 1890s and grew in popularity in the 1930s. The International Badminton Association (founded 1934) sponsors the Thomas Cup for men's teams and the Woer Cup for women's teams, the world championships of badminton. Badminton has been an official Olympic sport since 1992.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(also called shuttlecock), a game played with a feathered ball and racket. Badminton originated in ancient Malaya and later became popular in other Asian countries. In 1872 it was demonstrated for the first time in England in the town of Badminton, by Englishmen coming from India.

The game is played on a rectangular court (13.4 х 6.1 m for doubles and 13.4 х 5.2 m for singles) over a net hung at a height of 1.55 m. The ball is cork covered with leather or a substitute, crowned with feathers (mass, 4.5–7.0g). The racket is similar to a tennis racket (mass, 135–190 g). The object of the game is to land the ball on the opponent’s side and not allow it to fall on one’s own side of the court. In technique and tactics badminton is similar to tennis. The score is kept for 15 points. (Women and children play to 11.) A match is composed of three or five games. Service is taken on a diagonal from the right for zero and even-numbered points and from the left for odd-numbered points. In doubles the right player serves first and switches places with his partner each time he wins a point.

The simplicity of the rules and the possibility of playing on any small court, lawn, or beach make contemporary badminton one of the most popular sports.

The International Badminton Federation (IBF) includes representatives of more than 50 countries. Every three years international competitions are held for the Thomas Cup for men and the Uber Cup for women. The open English championship in badminton played every year at Wimbledon actually has the status of a world championship.

In the USSR badminton became widespread after 1954, when the game was brought from China, where it is well-known as yumaochiu. Badminton is included in the All-Union Sports Classification. Outstanding players receive the title of Master of Sports of the USSR. The Badminton Federation of the USSR is responsible for the organizational work.


Markov, O. Badminton,2nd ed. Moscow, 1961.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


a game played with rackets and a shuttlecock, which is hit back and forth across a high net


a village in SW England, in South Gloucestershire unitary authority, Gloucestershire: site of Badminton House, seat of the Duke of Beaufort; annual horse trials
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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