The famous Derby (pronounced dar-be), an annual horse race at Epsom Down, England, takes place in Surrey, southwest of London. Although races had been held since the reign of James I, successor to Queen Elizabeth, it was Edward Stanley, the twelfth Earl of Derby (1752-1834), an avid amateur sportsman, who offered a prize in 1780 for an annual race of three-year-old colts, later including fillies. Restricting the race to threeyear- olds assured that a horse could win only once.
   The flip of a coin decided the name Derby, since Sir John Hawkewood was also instrumental in introducing the race. Derby won the flip, but Hawkewood's horse won the race, the first of the Derby races. The running of the Derby was most festive. The day was called "Derby Day," and fashionable house parties that accompanied the event grew more and more lavish throughout the years. People flocked to Epsom Downs, and the entire area was decorated as if for a country fair. To make the event pseudo-official, Parliament adjourned for the day. The name Derby became generic for a horse racing event, and other countries came to call their important race "The Derby." In the United States the most prominent day for the racing of the best horses is called the "Kentucky Derby," and in France, the "French Derby." The word has also become applied to other competitions, as in "soapbox derby."
   A dome-shaped hat is called a bowler in England; in America, a derby. It is said that a New York retail clerk, when selling this hat, told his customers that the hat was commonly worn in England and always at the Derby. Hence the name for this hard hat. Or was the hat named in honor of the earl? Or his horse race? Take your pick, as you would a horse at Epsom Downs.

Dictionary of eponyms. . 2013.

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  • Derby — Derby, CO U.S. Census Designated Place in Colorado Population (2000): 6423 Housing Units (2000): 2145 Land area (2000): 1.638168 sq. miles (4.242835 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 1.638168 sq.… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

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  • Derby — Sn Pferderennen; besonderes Sportereignis per. Wortschatz fach. (19. Jh.) Onomastische Bildung. Entlehnt aus ne. Derby (race), so benannt nach dem 12. Earl of Derby, der solche Pferderennen (Zuchtprüfungen) Ende des 18. Jhs. einführte. Aus der… …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • Derby — Der by (?; usually ? in Eng.; 85), n. 1. A race for three old horses, run annually at Epsom (near London), for the Derby stakes. It was instituted by the 12th Earl of Derby, in 1780. [1913 Webster] {Derby Day}, the day of the annual race for the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Derby — a city in Derbyshire. It is an important centre for industries such as engineering and ↑china Derby 2 Derby, the a very important yearly horse race held at Epsom in England in May or June, on a day which is known as Derby Day →↑Kentucky Derby,… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • derby — I {{/stl 13}}{{stl 8}}rz. nmos, blp, D. derbybów {{/stl 8}}{{stl 20}} {{/stl 20}}{{stl 12}}1. {{/stl 12}}{{stl 7}} mistrzowski lub towarzyski mecz między dwoma zespołami z tego samego miasta lub regionu, rywalizującymi o lokalny prymat : {{/stl… …   Langenscheidt Polski wyjaśnień

  • Derby — ► NOUN (pl. Derbies) 1) an annual flat race at Epsom in Surrey for three year old horses, founded in 1780 by the 12th Earl of Derby. 2) (in names ) a similar race or other important sporting contest. 3) (derby; also local derby) a sports match… …   English terms dictionary

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