General English


  • A small door or gate, especially one that is mounted as part of a larger one.


  • noun either of the two targets at which the ball is bowled in cricket and which the batsman defends with his bat, each consisting of three stumps set in the ground and surmounted by two bails, the whole construction measuring 28 inches (71.1 centimetres) high by 9 inches (22.86 centimetres) wide. The two wickets are set up ‘opposite and parallel to each other at a distance of 22 yards/20.12m. between the centres of the two middle stumps’ (Law 8 § 1). In the normal, double wicket version of the game the ball is bowled from one wicket (the bowler’s wicket) at the other (the batsman’s wicket) and the bowler’s and batsman’s wickets alternate after each over.
  • noun a stump
    Citation ‘In the following year was played a match, when the gentleman defended three wickets, 27 inches by 8, and the Players four, 36 inches by 12’ (Badminton 1888)
  • noun the area of ground between the two sets of stumps, measuring 22 yards (20.12 metres) in length and 10 feet (3.04 metres) in width; the pitch, especially when considered in terms of its quality as a playing surface and the extent to which it is likely to assist the batsman or bowler
    Citation ‘Barclay thought long and hard before deciding to go in first on a slow wicket which impeded brisk scoring but encouraged the quicker bowlers to move the ball off the seam’ (David Lacey, Guardian 16 June 1983)
    Citation ‘At Leeds, batting first on a perfect wicket, Fredericks and Greenidge gave the West Indies a magnificent start with an opening partnership of 192’ (Manley 1988)
    Citation ‘The laws of physics say that anything that strikes an object loses speed. So any ball has to lose a little pace as it comes off the wicket’ (Purandare 2005)
    See also crumble, green, plumb, sticky, cricket wicket, result wicket
  • noun the batsman’s wicket considered as something that the batting side attempts to keep and the fielding side attempts to capture. The wicket remains ‘standing’ while a batsman is in, and ‘falls’ or is ‘taken’ when a batsman is dismissed; a team’s innings is complete when ten of its eleven wickets have fallen.
    Citation ‘Last week there was a cricket match … between the gentlemen of Shipdown and the gentlemen of Docking and Burnham, which was won by the latter with three wickets standing’ (Norfolk Chronicle 23 August 1777)
    Citation ‘The loss of Amarnath to an expert slip catch by Lloyd triggered an inexplicable collapse as seven wickets fell for 44 runs’ (Tony Cozier, Cricketer May 1983)
    Citation ‘During the Ashes he [Ponting] developed a habit of losing his wicket without warning’ (Peter Roebuck, The Age (Melbourne) 17 December 2005)
  • noun a dismissal credited to a bowler
    Citation ‘Hadlee completed his farewell performance by taking 5 for 53, giving him a Test total of 431 wickets’ (Christopher Sandford, Cricketer May 1994)
    Citation ‘Allott gave England the advantage by taking three prized wickets in his first five overs’ (John Woodcock, The Times 27 July 1984)
  • noun a dismissal considered in terms of the batsman who is out
    Citation ‘After Lillee had claimed the vital wicket of Mudassar, Hogg ripped through the heart of Pakistan’s batting with a devastating spell of 3 for 0 in 10 balls’ (WCM January 1984)
    Citation ‘Mills is the only man who has taken the wicket of George Headley and Everton Weekes for nought’ (Manley 1988)
  • noun the part of a side’s innings during which two batsmen are together between the fall of one wicket and the fall of the next
    Citation ‘By adding 92 for the ninth wicket Paynter and Verity did much to recover the ground England had lost on the third day’ (Cricketer Spring Annual 1933)
    Citation ‘The second wicket produced 145 in 200 minutes’ (WCM May 1984)
    Citation ‘Apart from batting in stifling heat for six hours, Collingwood inspired Matthew Hoggard, Steve Harmison and Monty Panesar to help him add 159 for the last three wickets’ (Donald McRae, Guardian 9 May 2006)
  • noun a team’s margin of victory expressed in terms of the number of batsmen on the winning side whose innings were either not completed or had never started when the required number of runs had been reached
    Citation ‘England won the first match at Lord’s by the comfortable margin of six wickets’ (Brearley 1982)
    See result


  • noun either of two sets of three upright sticks (stumps) on which are balanced two shorter sticks (bails) and in front of which the batsman stands
  • noun the part of a cricket pitch between the two sets of stumps, which are placed 20 m/22 yd apart
  • noun a batsman’s turn of batting, or that of a pair of batsmen
  • noun the ending of somebody’s turn of batting, effected, e.g. by knocking down the stumps or catching the ball

Origin & History of “wicket”

A wicket was originally a ‘small gate’, and etymologically the word appears to denote something that ‘turns’ – presumably on a hinge in opening and closing. It was borrowed from Old Northern French wiket, which in turn came from a Germanic source represented also by modern Swedish vika ‘fold, turn’. The set of stumps originally used for cricket resembled a gate – indeed the game’s first batsmen may have defended an actual gate in a sheep pen – and so it came to be known as a wicket. this was in the 18th century; the extension of the term to the ‘pitch’ dates from the mid 19th century.