round robin

a tournament


round robin = das Rundenturnier (jeder gegen jeden); ein gemeinsamer Antrag; eine unterzeichnete Petition oder einen Protest



“A simple way to think of ROUND ROBIN is that it is about ‘taking turns’. In computer operations, ROUND ROBIN is used in a scheduling algorithm that distributes work evenly among all available resources.”

Katie Terrell Hanna - 'What Is' dot com (June 2022)

“The Optimal Design of ROUND-ROBIN Tournaments with Three Players.”

Alex Krumer, Et al. - Econ Papers (September 2017)

Did you

round robin
noun phrase

- (sports) a tournament in which each contestant is matched in turn against every other contestant

- a letter sent among members of a group, often with comments added by each person in turn

- a petition or protest on which the signatures are arranged in a circle in order to conceal the order of signing

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language

NOTE: When used as an adjective before a noun, the term is hyphenated as in round-robin


Some etymology experts believe the term round robin is an alteration of the 17th century French rouban rond (round ribbon). This described the practice of people signing protest petitions on an endlessly long ribbon attached to the letter to keep the leader of the group secret. However, there seems to be no real evidence that round robin is linked to rouban rond.

There is evidence however, that the phrase was used by sailors in the 18th century to describe complaint letters signed in a way to keep the ringleader from being identified.

For no apparent reason, in the late 19th century round robin was used to describe sports tournaments in which competitors play each other at least once.

Football tournaments such as the European Cup and the World Cup use the round-robin format in the group qualification round, with the top two teams going to the so-called "knockout round".


- to be (a)round the bend = To be insane. To be intoxicated from drugs or alcohol.

- to be (as) round as Giotto’s O = To be quickly yet perfectly done. Referring to the Italian artist Giotto, who is said to have promptly drawn a perfect circle to demonstrate his artistic abilities for Pope Boniface VIII.

- to come (a)round to (something) = To come to accept or align one’s point of view with something.

- to get (one’s) tongue around (something) = To be able to pronounce a challenging word.

- to get (one’s) head around something = To understand something difficult, often with a lot of effort.

- to make the rounds = To circulate through a group or place.

- to rally round = To unite or join with someone or something, to lend support or assistance.

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“What do you think of ROUND-ROBIN letters or Christmas letters? These are letters, typically included with a Christmas card and sent to multiple recipients at the end of the year,... here the writer describes the year's events for themselves and/or their family."

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