ac·a·dem·ic | \ ˌa-kə-ˈde-mik \
variants: or less commonly academical \ˌa-kə-ˈde-mi-kəl \

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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Other words from academic


academically \ˌa-kə-ˈde-mi-k(ə-)lē \ adverb
an academically gifted student

Synonyms & Antonyms for academic

Synonyms: Adjective

conjectural, hypothetical, speculative, suppositional, theoretical (also theoretic)

Antonyms: Adjective

actual, factual, real

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Examples of academic in a Sentence


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.


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

Judge Barrett, a former clerk to the late Justice Antonin Scalia who spent most of her career as an academic at Notre Dame Law School, is seen by some allies of the president as looking the part of a modern Supreme Court justice. Louise Radnofsky, WSJ, "Trump Winnows Down Supreme Court Picks, Focusing on Three," 4 July 2018 Grove said, referring to the idea that relative inactivity during the summer months might cause some students to lose academic achievement gains. Caitlin Mullen,, "Ready to read: Libraries in Oak Park, River Forest prepare for summer programs aimed at students," 24 May 2018 Under his leadership there, that district saw strong academic gains. Lori Higgins, Detroit Free Press, "Vitti's 1st year: Amid challenges, his promise is still to serve schools' kids," 18 May 2018 Juan Antonio Blanco, the academic, activist and executive director of the Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba, recently announced an initiative to unmask and deport Cuban human-rights abusers now living in he United States. Nora Gámez Torres, miamiherald, "He now hunts Cuban human-rights abusers in the U.S. Was he once an offender himself?," 12 July 2018 Despite debate and opposition, not everyone's attacking Kavanaugh as a biased jurist, or one without academic, intellectual, or personal qualifications for the job. Celeste Katz, Glamour, "Here's Where Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh Stands on Key Women's Issues," 11 July 2018 Pardon me if this sounds academic, but the best thing about Ant-Man and the Wasp is when things change in size. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Ant-Man and the Wasp," 5 July 2018 If academic tutoring isn’t for you, consider sharing your expertise in something a bit more, erm, personal. Alessandra Puccio /, NBC News, "Finding your (hidden) value," 13 July 2018 There is a misalignment between his motivation (learning) and the doctoral program that micromanages his academic advancement. Philip Chard, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Burnout reflects a conflict between our inner calling and what we have to do," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

People can call in to discuss relationships, academics, drug use or more. Aneri Pattani,, "College students train to help peers at risk for suicide, depression and more," 12 July 2018 People can call in to discuss relationships, academics, drug use or more. Aneri Pattani,, "College students train to help peers at risk for suicide, depression and more," 10 July 2018 So where’s the common ground among all these scientists, academics, and advocates who care about climate change? Nathanael Johnson, WIRED, "Where Can Climate Activists Find Common Ground?," 9 July 2018 Every four years, from 1976 through 1996, their Foreign Policy Leadership Project (FPLP) surveyed public officials, military officers, academics, and other potential decision-makers and opinion leaders. Jonathan M. Dicicco, Washington Post, "Fifty years ago, American troops abandoned Khe Sanh. Here’s how the U.S. got over ‘Vietnam syndrome.’," 5 July 2018 The state board will oversee the charter from July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2023, taking responsibility to ensure College Prep meets academic, operational and financial standards. Karen Pearlman,, "College Prep middle school breaks ground in Spring Valley," 3 July 2018 The panel of historians, academics, local officials and others spent nearly a year studying the issue and taking input from a sometimes-angry public before unveiling the proposals Monday in a more than 100-page report. Sarah Rankin, The Seattle Times, "Panel: Remove Confederate president’s statue in Richmond," 2 July 2018 Good teachers can offer good academics, even if the textbook is subpar, said the experts who reviewed materials for the newspaper, supplementing with other materials and classroom activities. Anchorage Daily News, "Some Florida private schools’ curriculum downplays slavery, says humans and dinosaurs lived together," 1 July 2018 But an array of nonprofit groups and academics -- some of which receive funding from Google and other technology companies -- have characterized it as censorship. Robert Levine, Billboard, "What a Google Email to News Publications Means for the Music Business," 28 June 2018

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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Statistics for academic

Last Updated

10 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for academic

The first known use of academic was in 1581

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More Definitions for academic


ac·a·dem·ic | \ ˌa-kə-ˈde-mik \

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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