Definition & Meaning: What Is the Badminton Game?

Justin Ma - December 31, 2022 - 0 comments

Badminton is a racket sport known for its high-energy rallies, spectacular shots, and incredible players. And with its rapid rise in popularity, many newcomers have been wondering what all its terminology means. 

After all, badminton’s lingo — rallies, matches, games, birdies, crosscourt, etc. — can be tricky to remember. And for many new players, the sport’s structure is one of the most confusing concepts to grasp. So, what’s the official meaning of a badminton game, and how can you start playing?

To get you up to speed, here’s a quick guide on the definition of a badminton game, along with tips to help you play the official way.

Understanding the Sport of Badminton

Badminton is a racket sport played between two players or teams, playing either singles or doubles. The objective is to win points by hitting the shuttlecock (aka the birdie) across the net and into your opponent’s court.

Definition: What Is the Badminton Game?

When your friend asks you, “Do you want to play a game of badminton?” they might actually be referring to a match, or a complete “round” of badminton consisting of three games. In a badminton match, the team who wins the best two-of-three games is the overall winner.

But technically speaking, a badminton game is a period of time during which players play rallies and try to reach 21 points before their opponent(s). 

A rally starts with a player serving a shuttlecock — from one diagonal service court to another — and play continues until someone scores a point. You can win a game by reaching 21 points before your opponent, so long as you have a two-point lead. 

But if you and your opponent(s) end up tied at 20-20 during a game, you can keep playing until a team either:

  • Gains a two-point lead
  • Reaches a score of 30 

Official Rules and Intervals in Badminton Games

If you want to play badminton officially, here are some rules to remember about the structure of each game: 

  • Teams switch courts with their opponents at the end of each game, and when the leading side scores 11 points in the third game.
  • Whenever the winning team reaches a score of 11 during a game, players can take a 60-second interval (or break) to grab some water and take a breather.
  • There are 120-second breaks after the first and second games.
  • To start the first game, players can choose who serves first by using a coin toss. From there, the winner of each game will serve first in the next. 

In each game, you can score a point when:

  • You hit the shuttle over the net, and it lands on the ground in your opponent’s court.
  • Your opponent commits a fault, such as touching the net, double hitting, or hitting the shuttle out of bounds.

The Takeaway

While “badminton game” can take on a variety of meanings, its official definition refers to a single round of badminton going up to 21 points. But if you could still use more help on badminton terminology, the good news is that there are resources that can help you get the hang of it. 

Check out the Badminton World Federation’s official rules here, or visit the Badminton Justin blog today for more in-depth insights on all things badminton.

Justin Ma

I am passionate about helping people find joy in playing badminton, while also showing them how competitive the sport can be.

Justin Ma


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