“Stadium” Originally Meant “A Foot Race” or an Ancient Measure of Length


“Stadium” originally meant “a foot race” or “an ancient measure of length”, which was about a furlong or 1/8 of a Roman mile.  The name was also affixed to any track that was one stadium in length.  This eventually became any running track and, finally, as we use it today to refer to any large structure used for sporting events.


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  • False: “Stade” meant foot race. The stadium is where the said race took place.

    • Daven Hiskey

      @Justin: The first known use of the word “stade” is from 1537, with “stadium” obviously predating it. (one source). Stadium itself meant a foot race as early as the 14th century and obviously had the “measure of length” and “running track” definitions long before then, in Ancient Greece (stadion) and in Latin as stadium. (another source)