Why Is Badminton Called Badminton?

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You’ve stopped in the middle of your tracks and missed the shuttlecock because it finally dawned on you: why is badminton even called badminton? Certainly, there should be a logical explanation behind the name.

Badminton was named after small villages in Gloucestershire, England. These villages, namely Great Badminton and Little Badminton, are within the estate of the Duke of Beaufort, who also owned the Badminton House in the same area.

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Who Came Up With The Name “Badminton”?

The Duke of Beaufort came up with the name “Badminton”.

The sport was initially introduced to Britain by soldiers that were returning from their mission in India. It was then played in the courtyard of the Duke of Beaufort’s estate, called Badminton House. They probably enjoyed the game so much that they wanted to claim it as their own. Hence, the Duke’s pronouncement that from that day onward, the sport should be called badminton.

The Duke of Beaufort
The Duke of Beaufort

Furthermore, if you look very closely, the entrance hall of Badminton House is actually roughly the same size as today’s badminton courts!

Badminton House Entry Hall
The Entry Hall of Badminton House is the same size of a badminton court! (13.4m x 6.1m)

But, how exactly did Badminton House get its name? I mean, if they really wanted to name the sport after their estate, they could have just gone with naming it Beaufort instead of badminton, right?

Turns out the estate’s name spans centuries. The palatial Badminton House was first named “Badimyncgtun” in Old English, which means the estate of Baduhelm. That sounds like a handful.

Certainly, the Dukes of Beaufort did not want to let go of their esteemed estate’s tradition and wanted it to be immortalized in this brand new sport that was enjoyed by the high English society, earning their favor.

Or, perhaps they thought that badminton just had a nice ring to it.

Regardless, Baduhelm’s name will forever be etched into the sport, whether he likes it or not.

Why is Badminton Not Called Goodminton?

Some might wonder, why is it called badminton and not goodminton?

Why NOT “GOOD-minton?”

If we want the sport to have good PR, then this is certainly not the way to do it. If it’s bad, then there should exist a better “minton”, right?

The name does not rely on its moral intentions, thankfully. It’s simply a coincidence that the name of the owner of the old estate in which the sport was founded started with “Bad”.

That shouldn’t mean that Baduhelm was bad. In fact, if you look at the annals that record their ancient history, Baduhelm was actually a leader of a village and they built a hall for him.

We simply call the sport badminton today to honor its origins and for us to never forget where it all started.

So, don’t worry if you enjoy hitting and smashing shuttlecocks. There is nothing bad about it. In fact, if you want a good, healthy lifestyle, then badminton is a great sport of choice.

What was Badminton’s Original Name?

Like we said before, badminton was a game originally introduced by British soldiers that returned from India.

The sport had a long, rich history from ancient civilizations, but the game that these soldiers imported to Great Britain was called Poona, which itself was derived from an Indian city called Pune.

This game is typically played by 10 people, with 5 players on each side of the court.

Like badminton, Poona also uses a racket as its bat. However, instead of a shuttlecock, Poona players use a ball made out of wool. This is not where their differences end.

Since Poona requires more players on the court, its court size is also larger compared to badminton’s. If you are curious how this game is played, then you’re in luck, since this sport is still played up until this day in India.

It shares a lot of similarities with its British brother, like how the ball should be served alternately by players as each of them scores. All of these things originate from Poona.

What Other Names was Badminton Known As?

It seems like badminton had a world tour and acquired many different names before settling on this one.

Before it became badminton, it was called many different names across different cultures and times.

As we said, Poona is a name that is strongly associated with badminton because of its similarities in gameplay, minus the fact that it is actually the blueprint of badminton itself.

There is another sport that predates badminton — a predecessor if you will. This sport is called battledore and shuttlecock. It uses a bat (hence the name battledore) which is its own version of a racket and a shuttlecock that is basically the same as in badminton. This is composed of 16 feathers attached to a cork base but is larger in size.

This game was the evolution of another game that originated in France, called “jeu de paume”. Jeu de paume uses a player’s bare hands to initiate and maintain the rally. It literally means “palm game”.

Jeu De Paume
“Jeu De Paume” means “palm game.”

A battledore was later on introduced to aid with the rallies, giving birth to “jeu de volant” which is battledore and shuttlecock. Players work with each other to make sure that the shuttlecock doesn’t fall to the ground for as long as possible.

The creation of bats through sports like battledore and shuttlecock revolutionized the rallies as they became faster and less painful. This inspired the creation of other racket-type sports such as badminton and tennis.

The third sport we’d like to mention is the very first iteration of the shuttlecock itself. This is Ti Jian Zhi from China, which literally means shuttlecock in modern-day English. The ancient Chinese played this game by kicking the shuttle without letting it fall to the ground for as long as possible.

Kicking the Shuttlecock
“Ti Jian Zhi” means “kicking the shuttlecock.”

Final Thoughts

Badminton, as we know it today, took centuries to develop. With the vibrant competitive scene of the sport comes its long, rich history as well. Many people love the sport, from when it was called Poona to finally becoming badminton today.

Badminton is just the most recent evolution of a long line of racket-based sports. Incidentally, it is also one of the most popular out there.

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