I'm looking for the Latin word for the English word/concept of "Championship" which Google and many google results indicate is "Pilae", but when I do the reverse to see what Pilae means, Championship is never one of the results. I see things like "Ball", "Sphere", "Pillar", "Pier", etc.

Is there a reason why, and/or is Pilae still the correct word? Is there an etymological explanation?


EDIT: To add context, this is with regard to a product I'd like to brand. My company is "Fluent Disc Sport" (we design and build disc golf courses), and we're going to be offering branded baskets/targets and there is a technical standard that differentiates a "Championship" level basket from lower tiers like a "Standard" basket. So in this case "Championship" relates to the top level events and competition in our sport. I chose Latin to expand on our existing "Fluent" branding in a way that ties us all together, like Latin does for many modern languages :)

  • 2
    As a hard and fast rule, never trust Google Translate. It's complete garbage for Latin.
    – cmw
    May 30, 2023 at 2:28
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    If you want to know an equivalent to "championship", you'll have to define it better, first, because there are different meanings in English, each which would translate to a different Latin word.
    – cmw
    May 30, 2023 at 2:31
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    @cmw Agree regarding Google Translate, which is why I always reverse the search as a rule... and also why I came to Stack ;) I've added context, hopefully that helps! Thanks!
    – oucil
    Jun 1, 2023 at 0:53

2 Answers 2


Definitely don't trust Google Translate here. Pilae literally means "balls", either the kind you use in sports, or anything roughly spherical—e.g. it was used to describe the shape of the earth. (There's another word spelled the same that means "mortars" or "pillars", but that's not really relevant here.)

It could be used as a metaphor for a ball game itself—like how we say "play ball!" in English—and I'm guessing that's where Google Translate is getting it from. Pilae can mean "balls", but it can also mean "of the ball" (or "of the ball game"), and there might be a phrase meaning something like "champion of the ball game" that it's breaking up in the wrong way.

Even if so, though, I wouldn't use this word for something to do with disc golf. There are no balls involved there; you'd want a phrase meaning "champion of the discus" instead.


Does it have to be native Latin? Can it be an Ancient Greek borrowing? If so, you can use the word "prōtathlēma".

  • 4
    Πρωτάθλημα is modern Greek, not Ancient.
    – Cairnarvon
    Jun 2, 2023 at 15:12

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