ac·​a·​dem·​ic | \ ˌa-kə-ˈde-mik How to pronounce academic (audio) \
variants: or less commonly academical \ ˌa-​kə-​ˈde-​mi-​kəl How to pronounce academic (audio) \

Definition of academic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : of, relating to, or associated with an academy or school especially of higher learning the academic curriculum academic courses
b : of or relating to performance in courses of study academic excellence academic achievements
c : very learned but inexperienced in practical matters academic thinkers
d : based on formal study especially at an institution of higher learning her academic qualifications
2 : of or relating to literary or artistic rather than technical or professional studies a region that has both academic and vocational high schools
3a : theoretical, speculative a purely academic question
b : having no practical or useful significance
4 : conforming to the traditions or rules of a school (as of literature or art) or an official academy : conventional academic painting



Definition of academic (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a member (such as a professor) of an institution of learning (such as a university) Both of her parents are academics.
b : a person who is academic in background, outlook, or methods
2 academics plural, chiefly US : academic subjects : courses of study taken at a school or college He has no interest in academics.

Synonyms & Antonyms for academic

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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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: Adjective Between 2015 and 2020, the share of schools that prohibited cellphones for non-academic purposes rose from 66% to 77%, according to data from the Department of Education. Elizabeth Germino, CBS News, 2 Aug. 2022 Yaroslav, a twenty-five-year-old academic historian, is quiet, nerdy, and rosy-cheeked. Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, 1 Aug. 2022 Several academic and industry groups are teaching these programs to recognize the risk factors for sepsis and other complications and to warn health care providers about which patients are in particular danger. Sophie Bushwick, Scientific American, 1 Aug. 2022 The capital city, known for its thriving fine art, architecture and music scene, ranked #1 in things like academic excellence and overall quality of living on a survey of more than 140 cities. Annie O’sullivan, Good Housekeeping, 29 July 2022 The 10 university presidents and chancellors remain committed to a shared mission of academic and athletic excellence on behalf of our student-athletes. Derek Baine, Forbes, 3 July 2022 Students who merit it not only have displayed a high standard of academic excellence, but have also made significant contributions to the community. Seamus Webster,, 29 June 2022 The Woman’s Club of Carlsbad recently presented three young women from Carlsbad High and Sage Creek High with scholarships of $1,000 each, based on their academic excellence and community service. Laura Groch, San Diego Union-Tribune, 26 June 2022 Nash wasn’t the only UAA student athlete to get recognized for academic excellence in the last week. Josh Reed, Anchorage Daily News, 15 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The hands-on session teaches families how to use music to improve the child’s academic, motor, communication and social skills as well as behavior. Joan Rusek, cleveland, 30 Apr. 2022 Not every ruangrupan is a conventional artist; one worked as a journalist, another trained as an ecologist, a third is an academic. New York Times, 9 June 2022 My co-founder has been exposed to this domain for a long time as an academic, pushing her to bridge the gap between what's known today in research essentially and what's actually using clinical practice. Aparna Dhinakaran, Forbes, 9 June 2022 Originally trained as an academic, Diaz wrote his first book about Borges’s narrative puzzles. Jane Hu, The Atlantic, 26 May 2022 Warren Zanes has since enjoyed an expansive career as an academic. James Sullivan,, 23 May 2022 Most of Krueger's career was as an academic at Duke University, the University of Texas at Austin, Rice University, Oxford University and Texas State University. Chron, 1 May 2022 The American Civil Liberties Union honored Wong earlier this month with its Presidential Prize, an award given every other year to an academic for outstanding contributions to civil liberties. Kate Morrissey, San Diego Union-Tribune, 24 May 2022 Licia Proserpio, 37, an Italian academic with a shock of bright blue hair and a love of history, wove her way along the narrow path between the graves and paused for a moment at a site. New York Times, 18 Feb. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'academic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of academic


1581, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1587, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for academic


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

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Time Traveler for academic

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The first known use of academic was in 1581

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Last Updated

5 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Academic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for academic


ac·​a·​dem·​ic | \ ˌa-kə-ˈde-mik How to pronounce academic (audio) \

Kids Definition of academic

1 : of or relating to schools and education
2 : having no practical importance Your question of whether it's better to fly or drive is purely academic since we're not going anywhere.

Other Words from academic

academically \ -​mi-​kə-​lē \ adverb How is she doing academically?

More from Merriam-Webster on academic

Nglish: Translation of academic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of academic for Arabic Speakers


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