Buzzer Beater

What is a buzzer beater?

A score made as the buzzer sounds

A buzzer beater is a score a player or team makes as the buzzer horn sounds in a game to end the period. For example, an NBA player may make a three-point shot as the buzzer sounds to end the third quarter, and an announcer exclaims, "Naz Reid with the buzzer beater to put the Wolves up by ten at the end of the third quarter!"

People only use buzzer beater in sports where an audible buzzer sounds to end a timed period or game. The most common sport is basketball (where buzzer beaters may apply to the end of the shot clock, too), but others include hockey, lacrosse, Australian football, and handball.

Origin of buzzer beater

The origins of "buzzer beater" are unclear. However, some sources date the usage back to basketball in the 1960s. It started as "a shot beating the buzzer," which people shortened as a "buzzer beater." It then gained traction in the following decades in basketball and eventually branched out to other timed sports.


No way! Edwards just hit a buzzer beater to send the game to OT!
He's on fire!

Villanova buzzer beater to win the game

Related Slang


Updated February 6, 2024

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