Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An association of states, organizations, or individuals for common action; an alliance.
  • n. Sports An association of teams or clubs that compete chiefly among themselves. Also called loop1.
  • n. A class or level of competition: The ski jump was out of his league.
  • intransitive v. To come together in or as if in a league.
  • transitive v. To bring together in or as if in a league.
  • n. A unit of distance equal to 3.0 statute miles (4.8 kilometers).
  • n. Any of various other units of about the same length.
  • n. A square league.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A group or association of cooperating members.
  • n. An organization of sports teams which play against one another for a championship.
  • v. To form an association.
  • n. The distance that a person can walk in one hour, commonly taken to be approximately three English miles (about five kilometers).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A measure of length or distance, varying in different countries from about 2.4 to 4.6 English statute miles of 5,280 feet each, and used (as a land measure) chiefly on the continent of Europe, and in the Spanish parts of America. The marine league of England and the United States is equal to three marine, or geographical, miles of 6080 feet each.
  • n. A stone erected near a public road to mark the distance of a league.
  • n. An alliance or combination of two or more nations, parties, organizations, or persons, for the accomplishment of a purpose which requires a continued course of action, as for mutual defense, or for furtherance of commercial, religious, or political interests, etc.
  • n. An association of sports teams that establishes rules of play, decides questions of membership in the league, and organizes matches between the member teams. In some cases a sports league is called a conference, as in the National Football Conference.
  • intransitive v. To unite in a league or confederacy; to combine for mutual support; to confederate.
  • transitive v. To join in a league; to cause to combine for a joint purpose; to combine; to unite.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To form a league; join in friendship or interest; combine for mutual support; confederate.
  • To combine; band; confederate.
  • n. A compact or covenant between persons for the maintenance of joint interests or mutual service; hence, union; close affinity; friendship.
  • n. Specifically A political or military confederation; a covenanted alliance or coalition, as of persons or parties in a state, or more commonly of the ruling powers of different states, for the promotion of common objects or interests; a compact for mutual aid and support in public policy or war: as, the Hanseatic League; the Holy League in France; the league of Schmalkald.
  • n. A combination of different associations or bodies of persons for the promotion of common purposes: as, a base-ball league.
  • n. Synonyms Confederacy, Coalition, etc. (see alliance), society, federation, association, fraternity.
  • n. An itinerary unit not now in English use, except as a marine league. (See below.)

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an association of states or organizations or individuals for common action
  • v. unite to form a league
  • n. an obsolete unit of distance of variable length (usually 3 miles)
  • n. an association of sports teams that organizes matches for its members

Etymologies

Alteration (influenced by Italian lega) of Middle English liege, from Old French ligue, from Medieval Latin liga and from Old Italian lega, liga (from legare, to bind), both from Latin ligāre, to bind.
Middle English lege, from Old French liue, leguee, from Latin leuga, a measure of distance, of Gaulish origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English ligg, from Middle French ligue, from Italian lega, from the verb legare, from Latin ligō ("to tie"). (Wiktionary)
From Late Latin leuga, possibly from Gaulish or Celtic. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • League, in its meaning of an association, is derived from Latin ligo, ligare, to bind, as in people bound together.

    League, as a measure of distance, is derived from medieval Latin, leuga

    April 12, 2009

  • League your fortunes with those of a man who would follow you in prosperity or in adversity through the world.

    - Lesage, The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane, tr. Smollett, bk 7 ch. 7

    September 30, 2008