- The definition of a roster is a list of names, particularly in the military or on a sports team.
An example of a roster is a list of who is on a baseball team.
roster definition by Webster's New World
- a list of military or naval personnel or groups, specif. one showing their regular assignments and periods of duty
- any similar list, as the list of active players on a sports team
Origin: Dutch rooster, origin, originally , gridiron (; from roosten, to roast), hence a grating, list (from the ruled paper used in making lists)
roster definition by American Heritage Dictionary
- A list, especially of names.
- A list of the names of military officers and enlisted personnel enrolled in a particular unit.
Origin: Dutch rooster, gridiron, roster (from the ruled paper used for a roster), from roosten, to roast.Word History: If we associate the roster of a football team with the word gridiron, it is not because the team's roster has the appearance of a football field. But etymologically at least a roster is a gridiron. Our word roster goes back to Dutch rooster, meaning “gridiron” (from the verb roosten, “to roast”), which was extended in sense to mean “a table, list.” This extension was made because of the resemblance of a gridiron to a piece of paper divided by parallel lines that contains a list or table. (The application of gridiron to a football field is also based on similarity in appearance.) The earliest use in English (first recorded in 1727) for the word roster borrowed from Dutch was military, referring to a list or plan that outlined when officers, men, and bodies of troops should perform their turn of duty. Roster is no longer exclusively military in usage and can now be applied to members of a team scheduled to perform on the gridiron, baseball field, or other playing area.