What is a sports bracket?

Diagram of tournament games

In sports, a bracket is a diagram of game matchups in a tournament. For example, a bracket outlines the first round of matchups between competitors (people or teams), then shows who the winner of each matchup plays in the next round, and so on, until the championship match.

Many sports use brackets to display who faces who in a tournament (or playoffs), including basketball, football, hockey, baseball, soccer, and esports competitions. While brackets are typically used to organize and visualize matchups, sports fans often engage in contests where they fill out brackets based on their predictions of who they think will win.

March Madness brackets

The most famous example of a bracket is the March Madness 64-team bracket. Since the tournament is so unpredictable (bracket busters), it poses a considerable challenge for fans and non-fans of college basketball to predict winners. As a result, many organizations, workplaces, and friend groups hold contests to see who can most accurately fill out a bracket.


Did you fill out a bracket this year?
Yeah, I did 14 of them
March Madness bracket
March Madness bracket

Related Slang


Updated March 17, 2023

Bracket definition by

This page explains what the slang term "Bracket" means. The definition, example, and related terms listed above have been written and compiled by the team.

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