rugby (n.) Look up rugby at
type of football, 1864, after Rugby, public school where the game was played, from city of Rugby in Warwickshire, central England. The place name is Rocheberie (1086), probably "fortified place of a man called *Hroca;" with second element from Old English burh (dative byrig), replaced by 13c. with Old Norse -by "village" due to the influence of Danish settlers. Otherwise it might be *Rockbury today. Or first element perhaps is Old English hroc "rook." Rugby Union formed 1871. Slang rugger for "rugby" is from 1893.