adjective (1)
Olym·​pi·​an | \ ə-ˈlim-pē-ən How to pronounce Olympian (audio) , ō- \

Definition of Olympian

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1 : of or relating to, or inhabiting Mount Olympus in Thessaly Olympian gods
2 : befitting, characteristic of, or suggestive of the gods conceived as inhabiting Mount Olympus : lofty Olympian detachment … his … formula of glib simplicity and Olympian arrogance …— Richard Pollak It was all said with an Olympian calm.— James Clavell In 1961 Mumford was 66 years old and an Olympian figure in American culture.The New York Times Book Review


adjective (2)

Definition of Olympian (Entry 2 of 4)

1 : of or relating to the ancient Greek region of Olympia
2 : of, relating to, or constituting the Olympic Games


noun (1)
plural Olympians

Definition of Olympian (Entry 3 of 4)

1 : a participant in Olympic Games To be an alltime Olympian, you can't just be 23 and dominate over a four-year span. You have to age, battle time and remain on top.— S. L. Price
2 : a native or inhabitant of Olympia


noun (2)
plural Olympians

Definition of Olympian (Entry 4 of 4)

1 : one of the ancient Greek deities dwelling on Olympus … has suggested to some that he was a new god, accepted late into the Greek pantheon of Olympians.— M. C. Howatson
2 : a being of lofty detachment or superior attainments

Did You Know?

The Greek gods lived high atop Mt. Olympus, which allowed them to watch what went on in the human realm below and intervene as they saw fit. They insisted on being properly worshipped by humans, but otherwise tended to treat the affairs of these weak and short-lived creatures almost like a sport. So Olympian describes someone who seems "lofty" and "above it all", as if surveying a scene in which other people appear the size of ants. The Olympic Games were first celebrated in the 8th century B.C., at the religious site called Olympia (far from Mt. Olympus), and Olympian today actually most often refers to Olympic athletes.

First Known Use of Olympian

Adjective (1)

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective (2)

1523, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (1)

1609, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

1819, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about Olympian

Time Traveler for Olympian

Time Traveler

The first known use of Olympian was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for Olympian

Cite this Entry

“Olympian.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Olympian. Accessed 15 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on Olympian

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for Olympian

Comments on Olympian

What made you want to look up Olympian? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!