HomeSportsBadmintonWhere does Shuttlecock Get its Name From?

Where does Shuttlecock Get its Name From?

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It is often seen that the origins of certain names have vibrant backstories associated with them. The same can be said for the origin of the name shuttlecock, the equipment used in the sport of badminton. Let us get to know a bit about its origins. The name/word shuttlecock is believed to have originated back in the 16th century. It was constructed by combining the words “shuttle” and “cock”. The shuttlecock has feathers that resemble the feathers present on a ‘cock’ or rooster and it is ‘shuttled’ between the two competitors.

Who Gave the Name Shuttlecock?

The first iteration of the word shuttlecock was believed to have originated from the Chinese. Furthermore, a term translating to ‘shuttlecock’ was also prevalent in Asian countries such as India and Thailand.

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The earliest record of the word shuttlecock can be traced back to the 1500s. Derived from old English, the word was formed as a combination of two other words; shuttle and cock. The shuttle can be viewed as a conventional shuttle that moves back and forth from one place to another. It is also believed that the word has its origins in the Old English term ‘scytel’, which roughly translates to missile or dart. And the part of the word, cock, refers to the feathers present on it, or for that matter the bird itself, which denotes the ball’s flight through the air and the feathers that aid in its movement.

The Original Name of Shuttlecock

Where does Shuttlecock Get its Name From? KreedOn
Image Source- national badminton museum

Though not widely known, the shuttlecock or a ball closely resembling one, existed long before the first iteration of the game associated with it (i.e badminton).

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Drawings depicting people playing with objects that looked like shuttlecocks were found in ancient Greece. However, it was the Chinese who are credited with the act of baptizing the ball with the name ‘Ti Jian Zhi’, translating to kicking the ball. The game that the Chinese played with it had the objective that the ball (shuttlecock) had to be kicked as long as one could fell to the ground.


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The Different Names for Shuttlecock

The game of badminton has grown tremendously in popularity and has now emerged as a global as well as an Olympic sport. Hence, it should not come as a surprise that different names are utilized while referring to the ball used in the sport. Some people have shortened it to simple ‘shuttle’, instead of the shuttlecock. While others refer to it as ‘birdie’ or simply as ‘bird’. This is due to the feathers associated with it. In the hindsight, that makes perfect sense.

When Did the Shuttlecock Get Its Official Name?

Where does Shuttlecock Get its Name From? KreedOn
Image Source- Online guide

One may think that due to the game being played previously by the Chinese or perhaps because of its long existence, the word shuttlecock may have been in existence for a long. However, that is not the case. In 1877, the Bath Badminton Club was created. It was here where the first standards and rules of the game were created. Amongst all these rules was the first official record of the name of the sport’s ball, the shuttlecock.


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