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

And she was born with a solid, attaining mind, able to excel in academic work. Peggy Noonan, WSJ, "Melania’s Misstep and Michelle’s Mystery," 15 Nov. 2018 Most of Santos' academic work has been on animal cognition. Rob Reid, Ars Technica, "Ars on your lunch break: Finding Pharaoh and spotting looters from orbit," 1 Nov. 2018 Native-Lands is very openly not an academic or professional project, one that is constantly changing through input from users. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Tribal Map of America Shows Whose Land You're Actually Living On," 8 Oct. 2018 So, for me, a Supreme Court seat is not only about academic issues of legal precedent or judicial philosophy. Megan Angelo, Glamour, "THIS Is Must-See TV: All the Drama You Missed on Day One of Brett Kavanaugh’s Confirmation Hearings," 4 Sep. 2018 At Hot Chips, one of the industry’s premier academic conferences on microprocessors, experts agreed that the ultimate solution to solving them may require, yes, a lot more talk. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Solving Spectre and Meltdown may ultimately require an entirely new type of processor," 21 Aug. 2018 The value of sleep cannot be stressed enough when considering academic success for students. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "9 Things All School Teachers Wish Parents Knew," 15 Aug. 2018 The board of managers voted unanimously two weeks ago to hire Eduardo Hernandez, previously chief academic officer at Duncanville ISD, as the district’s new superintendent. Krista Torralva, San Antonio Express-News, "Two years after takeover, state eases control of Edgewood ISD," 2 July 2018 EDUCATION Carthage College, Kenosha, named David M. Timmerman provost and chief academic officer. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "New hires, promotions at Wisconsin companies," 21 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The network is off to a slow start, with just over 180 student interactions in the last three years, many of which were with freshmen overwhelmed by academics or social pressures. Aneri Pattani,, "College students train to help peers at risk for suicide, depression and more," 12 July 2018 The network is off to a slow start, with just over 180 student interactions in the last three years, many of which were with freshmen overwhelmed by academics or social pressures. Aneri Pattani,, "College students train to help peers at risk for suicide, depression and more," 10 July 2018 Last year, Mexicans reported less than 7 percent of crimes, according to the Global Impunity Index, compiled by academics gauging the problem in Latin America. Kevin Sieff, Washington Post, "Mexico’s new president is a populist who railed against the ruling class. But he’s no Trump.," 1 July 2018 Once a more niche term used by academics, pansexual has entered the mainstream, pushed in part by celebrities bringing it visibility. Michael Gold, New York Times, "The ABCs of L.G.B.T.Q.I.A.+," 21 June 2018 The data analyzed by the academics includes bitcoin’s meteoric rise to a record high of almost $20,000 last December, before the crash this year. Matt Robinson And Matthew Leising,, "Bitcoin's price has been manipulated with another cryptocurrency: tether, professor says," 13 June 2018 There have been multiple investigations — by academics, journalists, and nonpartisan think tanks — into voter fraud. German Lopez, Vox, "With the Supreme Court’s ruling, other states plan to follow Ohio’s lead on voter purges.," 11 June 2018 An elegant academic who has written about Marcel Proust and Gustav Flaubert, Danius has never hid her love of fashion. Vogue, "From the U.S. Presidential Race to Sweden’s Nobel Prize Organization—The Politicization of the Pussy Bow," 18 Apr. 2018 Sommers likes to position herself as a Goldin, a noble academic who questions received wisdom to further a worthy cause. Mari Uyehara, GQ, "The Free Speech Grifters," 19 Mar. 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

19 Nov 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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