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ac·​a·​dem·​ic ˌa-kə-ˈde-mik How to pronounce academic (audio)
variants or less commonly academical
: of, relating to, or associated with an academy or school especially of higher learning
the academic curriculum
academic courses
: of or relating to performance in courses of study
academic excellence
academic achievements
: very learned but inexperienced in practical matters
academic thinkers
: based on formal study especially at an institution of higher learning
her academic qualifications
: of or relating to literary or artistic rather than technical or professional studies
a region that has both academic and vocational high schools
: theoretical, speculative
a purely academic question
: having no practical or useful significance
: conforming to the traditions or rules of a school (as of literature or art) or an official academy : conventional
academic painting


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: a member (such as a professor) of an institution of learning (such as a university)
Both of her parents are academics.
: a person who is academic in background, outlook, or methods
academics plural, chiefly US : academic subjects : courses of study taken at a school or college
He has no interest in academics.

Examples of academic in a Sentence

Adjective She received awards for her academic achievements. I spent my academic career at one school. The board set tough academic standards for graduation. He was offered a teaching job and decided to return to academic life. His interest in sailing is purely academic. He's not a sailor himself. He's not very academic, but he's good with his hands. Noun The book appeals to academics and to the general public. He only cares about sports. He has no interest in academics. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
The pipeline from pop-culture transgression to academic enshrinement has been wide open at least since the 1990s, when Madonna studies made news. Brett Martin, New York Times, 28 Nov. 2023 Should popular opinion and market forces shape the path of an academic institution? Oliver Whang, The New Yorker, 28 Nov. 2023 More college courses dedicated to Taylor Swift have been added to the academic canon for 2024, including a class at one of the most famous universities in the world: Harvard. Hannah Dailey, Billboard, 28 Nov. 2023 They were ordered off campus Nov. 26, 2023 On pay, USC academic workers receive stipends at different minimum levels depending on the school they are employed by. Teresa Watanabe, Los Angeles Times, 27 Nov. 2023 To this day, alumni speak fondly of Uncle Bobby and his wise academic decency. WSJ, 27 Nov. 2023 In Arkansas, the Every Student Succeeds Act index score has taken into account the results from the ACT Aspire tests given last spring in grades three through 10 in math, literacy and science as well as the academic growth students made from the previous year. Cynthia Howell,, 26 Nov. 2023 His parents demanded academic perfection, and Paras was gifted enough to easily deliver. Andy Greenberg, WIRED, 14 Nov. 2023 But academic research indicates gifts which come in the form of experiences—like trips, picnics, or special outings—often make people happier than material items. Mallika Mitra,, 14 Nov. 2023
Scientific regulations on breeding insects are not well-established, with some academics questioning the ethics of such breeding when there is no scientific consensus on whether insects can feel pain. Catherine Wang, Forbes, 27 Nov. 2023 Some academics cringed at his departure from traditional approaches. Brian Murphy, Washington Post, 25 Nov. 2023 As hostility toward minorities rises, Kabir’s work highlights the subcontinent’s rich history of religious coexistence, and many academics, artists, and activists are using his words to express pride in India’s multicultural community. Kalpana Jain, The Christian Science Monitor, 21 Nov. 2023 Grace Wales Bonner’s approach to fashion can sometimes feel more like that of an academic rather than a designer. Elizabeth Paton, New York Times, 16 Nov. 2023 For years, their political opponents, often anthropologists and academics from Puno and Lima universities, challenged the ethnic legitimacy and origin of the Uros people, claiming the present-day islanders are related to the ancient Urus in name only. Tim Brinkhof, Discover Magazine, 12 Nov. 2023 Among them were Patrisse Cullors, a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, and Marc Lamont Hill, a left-wing academic and commentator. Jason L. Riley, WSJ, 7 Nov. 2023 Niche factors responses to user surveys into its ratings for schools’ academics, environment, teachers, clubs and more. Kristen Taketa, San Diego Union-Tribune, 5 Nov. 2023 The decades-old organization represents top business leaders, academics, and former government officials in pursuit of a core mission: fostering closer ties and mutual understanding between Beijing and Washington — often by giving a platform to Chinese leaders, including Xi Jinping. Jimmy Quinn, National Review, 10 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'academic.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French achademique, academique, borrowed from Latin Acadēmicus "of the school of Plato," borrowed from Greek Akadēmeikós, Akadēmaikós, from Akadḗmeia, a place where Plato taught + -ikos -ic entry 1 — more at academy


borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French academique, borrowed from Latin Acadēmicus, noun derivative of Acadēmicus, adjective — more at academic entry 1

First Known Use


1581, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1587, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of academic was in 1581

Dictionary Entries Near academic

Cite this Entry

“Academic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: of or relating to school or college
: literary or general rather than technical
took the academic course
: having no practical importance : theoretical
an academic question

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