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 academical (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.

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective HealthMap works by pulling in vast amounts of data from publicly available sources, including news reports, government agencies and academic publications. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "How parking lots can provide an early clue to COVID-19 outbreaks," 8 July 2020 The slow, verbose world of academic communication has given way to the blistering, constrained world of tweets and news segments. Ed Yong, The Atlantic, "The Pandemic Experts Are Not Okay," 7 July 2020 Last week, Garland ISD announced its approval of a new academic calendar for the 2020-2021 school year, with a start date of Aug. 10. Dallas News, "Garland ISD suspends strength and conditioning programs for student athletes," 29 June 2020 Some are academic centers that take contracts from drug developers to make ends meet, itself a sad comment on the state of health care and health education in the U.S. Laura Stark, The New Republic, "The Hidden Racism of Vaccine Testing," 29 June 2020 These movements on the academic calendar may foreshadow similar changes to the regular-season schedule. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "Return of college athletes for workouts brings COVID-19 issues that could threaten fall schedule," 24 June 2020 Its software is used in almost all the country's academic medical centers. Mary Spicuzza, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Epic Systems president warned only employees in diversity, equity and inclusion groups against Black Lives Matter walkout," 12 June 2020 The academic calendar will be adjusted so that in-person classes end for the semester by Thanksgiving, and the university will offer a blend of in-person, online and hybrid classes. Duard Headley,, "University of Cincinnati will allow students to return to campus for fall semester," 11 June 2020 The Circulation letter lent weight to Franklin’s argument, and Constant began hearing from academic centers around the world hoping to study the drug in Covid-19. Damian Garde, STAT, "The novel coronavirus attacks the lungs. A biotech company sees a common enzyme as key to protecting them," 10 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Nick Luckett signed his letter of intent in the fall and is happy to continue his academic and baseball career. Marcus Gutierrez, Houston Chronicle, "Kingwood pitcher Nick Luckett to continue baseball journey at HBCU Southern University," 9 July 2020 The practice appears to be widespread, says Raphaël Onguéné, an academic at the University Institute of Technology (UIT) in Douala, who is also a producer of banana, pineapple and cocoa in Cameroon’s Yaoundé region. Julien Chongwang, Quartz Africa, "Poisons are being used to beautify food on sale in African markets," 7 July 2020 However, students who do not live on campus during the academic will be able to take up to two classes at the Harvard Summer School in the summer of 2021 without having to pay tuition costs. Cassidy Morrison, Washington Examiner, "Harvard says classes will be online to limit virus transmission," 6 July 2020 Aleksandra Sojka, a Polish academic who works in Spain, had to post her ballot in the first round of the Polish presidential election on June 28th. The Economist, "Charlemagne Let expats vote in the countries where they live," 4 July 2020 Easier to be a public health doctor and a public health academic at these times because our job is to supply the information or maybe supply the analysis that will help people make the decisions. Katherine Dunn, Fortune, "A Q&A with the U.K. father and son duo focusing on children during the coronavirus pandemic," 14 June 2020 The proposal first began to be discussed last year when the administration moved to require Chinese diplomats based in the U.S. to report their domestic U.S. travel and meetings with American scientists and academics. Matthew Lee, The Christian Science Monitor, "Chinese grad students in crosshairs of rising Sino-US tension," 29 May 2020 Family health far and away ranked as the most important issue heading into summer camps for respondents, over other concerns like balancing work responsibilities, the child’s academics and the ability to cover monthly bills. Corbett Smith, Dallas News, "A majority of Dallas parents are still considering summer camps despite COVID-19, survey finds," 27 May 2020 The concept is based on financial stability, academics and student welfare, along with combating continued COVID-19 budget restrictions. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, "Why Michigan baseball coach Erik Bakich's new model for college season is gaining traction," 22 May 2020

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.

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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

Time Traveler

The first known use of academic was in 1581

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Statistics for academic

Last Updated

11 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Academic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jul. 2020.

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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?

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