I have some students from China who use the term "sports meeting" to describe a day of sports competition between the various classes of students at their school. I suspect this is just a poor translation from the Chinese 运动会, but I want to check.

I am from the U.S., and I would call this kind of event a "field day." In the Oxford Advanced Learner's Chinese-English Dictionary, I find "sports day" as the British term with this meaning. "Sports meeting" does not appear in that dictionary.

So my question is, does anyone anywhere use the term "sports meeting," and when you do, what do you mean by it? Also, if you could say where you are from I would appreciate that. Much thanks.

EDIT: Since the first few answers have not quite been on point, I have put my question in bold face. I want to emphasize that I'm not searching for any new words here. I simply want to check whether "sports meeting" is used in some variety of English that I might not be familiar with.

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    Of course, there's nothing technically wrong with "sports meeting" in the US -- it simply implies some gathering related to sports. The main problem with it is that it's ambiguous with regard to the character of the "meeting", while "meet" is a more specific term that is generally taken to be a gathering for the purpose of engaging in some sort of sport or other recreational activity. – Hot Licks Nov 18 '16 at 4:06
  • A meet is "a large gathering of athletes for a sports competition" (m-w.com, meet (noun)) – Hellion Nov 18 '16 at 4:13
  • @Hot Licks. Yes, fair enough. There is that use of "sports meeting." My question is just whether anyone ever uses the term to describe "a day of sports competition between the various classes of students at their school." – Michael Foland Nov 18 '16 at 7:08
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    I suppose what you are really asking is something along the lines of "if I am proofreading their writing, should I correct this?" – tripleee Nov 18 '16 at 7:21
  • @ tripleee. Heh, yes something like that. There are already so many small mistakes that students make, I never want to burden them with unnecessary corrections, if what they're saying is valid in some variety of English. – Michael Foland Nov 18 '16 at 8:44

Yes, it is used in British English, but mainly for athletics and equestrian events. I don't think I've ever heard it applied to team sports. The following links are examples of the usage from the Net:

Millfield School

Guildford School



Cheltenham New Year Meeting

A related but more specialised term is Higland Gathering where Scottish Highland sports like hammer throwing, highland wrestling and caber tossing are practiced. The following links are examples:

Cowal Gathering

Braemar Gathering


I am Chinese, but culturally American. However I come in contact with many native Chinese speakers including students and it sounds like a mistake that Asians typically would make. I also speak Chinese fluently. Calling it a sports meet would make sense and I hear this word used quite often, such as in "I'm going to the track meet tomorrow". I conjecture that adding the -ing is because they don't understand the English language very well since -ing is not a part of the Chinese language. Hope this clarified for you.

  • Yeah, I get why Chinese speakers say it. It's probably just an overgeneralization from phrases like 开会, where 会 is correctly rendered as "meeting". And, as you note, phrases like "track meet" and "swim meet" probably don't help either. But my question is rather, is it really a mistake? I know that I myself don't say it, and it doesn't appear that speakers of British English say it. I just want to check whether there is any variety of English that does use it. – Michael Foland Nov 18 '16 at 7:09
  • I would say that it is not incorrect, as the meaning is clear. But it might sound a little awkward. – Brad Nov 18 '16 at 8:00
  • @Brad The meaning is not clear, that's the problem. A sports meeting sounds like something very different from a competition between schools: it's someone sitting down and having a meeting where they discuss various things related to sports. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Nov 18 '16 at 8:48
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    Speakers of British English do use meeting for this (actually doing sports, not simply talking about it). It's slightly quaint, and probably used most in horseracing ("race meeting"), but is certainly understandable, because it would never be interpreted as a sit-down discussion. – Andrew Leach Nov 18 '16 at 9:32
  • To a native American English speaker, saying "sports meeting" would conjure up thoughts of having a formal meeting in a conference room to discuss sports related topics. It's rarely used to describe an athletic competition. (We use the term "meet" in the US primarily). So as far as being "incorrect", I would say for a US English native speaker is "incorrect" in the sense that it is confusing and most people wouldn't know what u were talking about. But there's nothing grammatically incorrect about it. It just doesn't make sense to say sports meeting in the US. (I've never heard it called that) – iMerchant Nov 18 '16 at 10:12

Sports competitions between members of a single school are called intramural sports in the US. So you could call a day devoted to them the "intramural sports day" or the "intramural day".

See definition 1b

competed only within the student body (intramural sports)

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