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French Sports Vocabulary (125 Words With Pictures)

French Sports Vocabulary

French sports vocabulary words include le football (soccer, European football), le basket-ball (basketball), le base-ball (baseball) and le rugby (rugby). This page includes a list of 150+ sports names in French including words for equipment, people and verbs.

At the bottom of this page you will find of related lessons where have longer list of vocabulary for the more popular sports such as soccer.

It is important to distinguish between the verbs jouer (to play) and faire (to make, to do) when talking about sports. For team sports, use the verb jouer. For example, “Je joue au football” (I play soccer).

For individual sports use faire. For example, “Je fais de la randonée” (I hike or ‘do’ hiking). There are exceptions, however, such as “Je joue au golf” (I play golf).

French sports vocabulary with pictures
These are the most popular sports in French.

Sports Vocabulary List

Many sports names in French are anglicisms, meaning the words are borrowed from English.

Many popular American sports, such as basketball can be written both with and without a hyphen: “le basketball” and “le basket-ball”. These sports can also be shortened, omitting the word “ball”: “Le basket”.

Team sports

  • le football, le foot soccer
  • le football américain North American football
  • le base-ball baseball
  • le basket-ball, le basket basketball
  • le rugby rugby
  • le hockey sur gazon field hockey
  • le hockey sur glace ice hockey
  • le handball handball

Net sports

  • le tennis tennis
  • le volley-ball, le volley volleyball
  • le ping-ping ping-ping / le tennis de table table tennis

Martial arts, combat sports

  • la boxe boxing
  • la lutte wrestling
  • le jiu-jitsu jiujitsu
  • le judo judo
  • le karaté karate
  • le kick-boxing kickboxing
  • le taekwondo taekwondo
  • les arts martiaux martial arts
  • les sports de combat combat sports

Water sports, boating

  • la natation swimming
  • l’aviron rowing
  • la pêche fishing
  • la plongée diving
  • le rafting white-water rafting
  • la voile sailing
  • le surf surfing
  • le ski nautique water skiing

Winter sports

  • la luge luge
  • le parachutisme skydiving
  • le parpente paragliding
  • le patinage artistique figure skating
  • le patinage de vitesse speed skating
  • le ski de descente, le ski alpin downhill skiing
  • le ski de fond cross country skiing

Individual sports, fitness, nature

  • l’alpinisme mountaineering
  • l’équitation horseback riding
  • l’escalade glaciaire ice climbing
  • l’haltérophilie weightlifting
  • la course running
  • la dance dancing
  • la marche walking
  • la musculation bodybuilding
  • la randonnée hiking, backpacking
  • le cyclisme biking
  • le saut à l’élastique bungee jumping
  • le skate skateboard skateboarding
  • la descente en rappel abseiling
  • le tir shooting
  • le vélo biking
  • le golf golf
  • le jogging jogging
  • le deltaplane hand-gliding

Other sports

  • l’athlétisme track and field
  • l’escrime fencing
  • la gymnastique gymnastics

Sports equipment

Here you’ll find a list of nouns associated with all sorts of sports. This includes names for sports equipment and places where sports are played.

Again, for longer lists of sports vocabulary for specific sports see the list of related lessons at the bottom of the page.

  • des chaussures de sport, des baskets sneakers
  • l’équipement sportif (m) sporting equipment
  • le but goal
  • le filet net (tennis, voleyball)
  • le gymnase gymnasium
  • le panier basketball net
  • le stade stadium
  • le tableau d’affichage scoreboard
  • le terrain de basket basketball court
  • les patins à glace ice skates
  • un ballon ball (big, like a basket ball, soccer ball)
  • un championnat championship
  • un club de golf golf club
  • un court de tennis tennis court
  • un filet net
  • un maillot jersey
  • un match game
  • un palet puck
  • un short shorts
  • un survêtement tracksuit
  • un terrain de foot soccer field
  • un uniforme uniform
  • un vélo bicycle
  • une balle ball (small, like tennis or baseball)
  • une crosse de hockey hockey stick
  • une équipe team
  • une raquette racket


This following is a comprehensive list of people involved in sports. The list includes both players, spectators and sports professionals.

The French word for athlete is un(e) athlète. On this list we have included the word un sportif/une sportive, which translates to somebody who likes to do sports.

  • l’attaque offense
  • le capitaine de l’équipe team captain
  • le défense defence
  • le gardien/la gardienne goalie
  • le public the crowd
  • le vainqueur winner
  • les adversaires opponents
  • les spectateurs spectators
  • un annonceur sportif sports announcer
  • un arbitre referee
  • un champion, une championne champion
  • un coéquipier, une coéquipière teammate
  • un entraîneur, un coach coach
  • un footballeur, une footballeuse soccer player
  • un gagnant, une gagnante winner
  • un joueur, une joueuse player
  • un perdant, une perdante loser
  • un sportif, une sportive somebody who does sports
  • un supporteur, une supportrice fan
  • un(e) rival(e) rival


The following list offers a comprehensive assortment of verbs associated with sports.

Note the usage of the verb faire, which translates to ‘to make’ or ‘to do’. This verb is used in countless activities including sports names.

  • acclamer to cheer
  • applaudir to applaud
  • attraper to catch
  • bondir to leap
  • bouger to move
  • compter les points to keep the score
  • courir to run
  • danser to dance
  • disputer to have a match
  • donner un coup de pied to kick
  • donner un coup de poing to punch
  • faire de la compétition to compete
  • faire de to play
  • frapper to hit
  • gagner un match to win
  • grimper to climb
  • jeter, lancer to throw
  • jouer à to play
  • marcher to walk
  • marquer to score
  • nager to swim
  • passer to pass
  • patiner to ice skate
  • perdre un match to lose
  • plaquer to tackle
  • plonger to dive
  • pousser to push
  • pratiquer un sport to play a sport
  • remporter la victoire to win
  • s’entraîner to train
  • s’étirer to stretch
  • sauter to jump
  • se battre to fight
  • sprinter, courir très vite to sprint
  • tirer to pull

Sporting events

Here you’ll find a complete list of the major sporting events around the globe. The two main sports events on this list that take place in France are le Tour de France and Roland-Garros (the French Open).

In the summer of 2024 Paris will host the summer games (les Jeux d’été).

  • l’athlétisme track and field
  • L’Euro de Football European Football Championship (soccer)
  • La Coupe du Monde de Cricket Cricket World Cup
  • La Coupe Du Monde de Football World Cup of Soccer
  • la Série Mondiale World Series
  • le Grand Prix Grand Prix
  • le Super Bowl Super Bowl
  • le Tour de France Tour de France
  • Le tournoi De Wimbledon Wimbledon
  • Le Vendée Globe Vendée Globe (yacht racing)
  • Les Jeux Asiatiques Asian Games
  • les Jeux d’Été Summer Games
  • les Jeux d’Hiver Winter Games
  • les Jeux Olympiques Olympic Games
  • Roland-Garros French Open (tennis)

Download PDF Vocabulary List

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David Issokson

David Issokson is a lifelong language enthusiast. His head is swimming with words and sounds as he speaks over six languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private online lessons. When procrastinating working on his site,, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.

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