I saw two sentences on Google and on the Oxford Dictionaries, under the definition of "cap":

"he capped a memorable season by becoming champion" (Google, which should be getting its content from the ODO)

‘he capped a memorable season by becoming champion of champions’ (ODO)

I find these sentences odd, because according to both the Macmillan Dictionary and Cambridge English Dictionary, the word champion is a count noun. So shouldn't these sentences be:

"he capped a memorable season by becoming a champion"

‘he capped a memorable season by becoming the champion of champions

  • 1
    It seems like "champion" is being thought of as a title, though an informal one.
    – user3169
    Apr 28 '18 at 2:54
  • @user3169 This makes sense. Though I wonder if this could be said of a lot of cases. Does it mean the word is slowly taking on a mass noun usage?
    – Eddie Kal
    Apr 28 '18 at 3:01
  • 1
    One assumes the speaker is referring to a particular position of honor that a lone competitor can come to occupy in a non-team sport like boxing. A wide variety of nouns that can exist as plurals can be cast as roles without article; compare He was mechanic to the Queen. Apr 28 '18 at 11:14

Certainly in British English, when people have a role or appointment, that role is often written or spoken of without any article, definite or indefinite, even when it is a count noun. I am manager in this office. She was president. He became champion. Peter is Finance Officer. This usage is not informal or casual.

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