What does Nutmeg mean in soccer?

Passing the ball through the space between another player’s legs

In the sport of soccer, nutmeg refers to a skilled offensive move where a player skillfully kicks the ball through a defender’s legs. This move is often used to dribble past an opponent or to pass or shoot the ball between their legs.

The term is widely recognized as it often leaves the defender embarrassed and the offensive player looking quite impressive. But keep in mind, the move is not without its risks. It can be easily blocked by the defender if they manage to quickly close their legs.

Though most commonly associated with soccer, or “football” as it’s known outside North America, the term nutmeg is also used in other sports such as hockey and basketball. It can also be shortened to “meg” (for example, “Did you see that? He just megged the other guy and scored!”).

The origin of the term nutmeg is somewhat hazy. There are several theories, with one of the more common ones linking it to the nutmeg spice trade. In the 19th century, nutmeg was a valuable good, and some dishonest traders would mix it with other less valuable goods to trick buyers into paying a higher price. In this context, being ‘nutmegged’ meant being tricked or duped. Over time, soccer fans started using the term to describe the act of tricking a defender by kicking the ball between their legs.

Example for using ‘Nutmeg’ in a conversation

Hey, did you see that soccer game last night?

Yeah, it was amazing! Did you see that nutmeg move?

Oh, definitely! The player dribbled the ball between the defender’s legs!

I know, it was so cool! The defender had no idea what happened!