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.

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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 Further, the letter noted that the district's academic performance and closing achievement gaps score have declined. Alec Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Germantown School Board president violated ethics rules and has not addressed racism in the district, parents say," 26 Apr. 2021 Research suggests that peer tutoring programs have positive effects on students’ academic performance and attitudes — and the benefits extend to those who serve as tutors. Washington Post, "Baltimore County teens start mentorship program," 25 Apr. 2021 Emissions from diesel engines may contribute to respiratory illnesses in children, studies have found, and have been linked to poor academic performance., "Dems push $25b to electrify school buses, a Biden priority," 19 Apr. 2021 Research shows that two-generation approaches can improve the well-being of mothers and their children, leading to higher education attainment, jobs with livable wages and better academic performance for children. NBC News, "'Two-generation' programs aim to break the cycle of poverty. The pandemic was a big test.," 18 Apr. 2021 Instead of selecting students based on academic performance, all students would have a chance to attend the school. Lauren Hernández, San Francisco Chronicle, "Lowell High supporters threaten to sue the SF school board over plans to end merit-based admissions," 20 Mar. 2021 Many of my graduate students in public policy and business administration have a strong background and interest in subjects unrelated to their academic discipline. Arthur C. Brooks, The Atlantic, "Do More Than One Thing," 18 Mar. 2021 Their faculty accept that God is the author of truth, a belief with implications for every academic discipline. Michael T. Nietzel, Forbes, "These Christian Colleges Are Taking On Today’s Hot-Button Social Issues," 1 Mar. 2021 That means conversations about whether to replace retiring faculty or invest in another academic discipline that draws more interest from students., "Growing diversity at Albion College," 11 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Despite his Epstein interactions, Republicans recognized Lander's background and expertise as an academic. Nihal Krishan, Washington Examiner, "Biden nominee for top scientist spot gains bipartisan support despite Jeffrey Epstein interactions," 29 Apr. 2021 Vartan was that rare thing: an academic who was a good manager. Richard Stengel, Time, "In Dreams Begin Responsibilities: The Bountiful Life of Vartan Gregorian," 18 Apr. 2021 Adrian Zenz, an independent academic who has unearthed troves of government documents on Chen’s crackdown, estimated that there were as many as a million people in the camps—a statistic echoed by the United Nations and others. Raffi Khatchadourian, The New Yorker, "Surviving the Crackdown in Xinjiang," 5 Apr. 2021 Indeed, thanks in good part to Trump’s mendacity, these are glory days for an academic with Olmsted’s expertise, which has placed her in great demand as an explainer and debunker. Los Angeles Times, "Column: Conspiracies run amok. (Did you hear the one about Joan Rivers, Michelle Obama and the Clintons?)," 2 Apr. 2021 Without tenure, administrative work in a university is an especially oppressive time suck, robbing an academic of the hours that could be spent on research and writing and conference-going — essentially, what is required for tenure. New York Times, "Why Did the Dean of the Most Diverse Law School in the Country Cancel Herself?," 26 Mar. 2021 But for me as an academic who has long tracked food insecurity trends, working out the increase in the number of people affected and projecting what will happen next is important. Craig Gundersen, The Conversation, "The pandemic recession has pushed a further 9.8 million Americans into food insecurity," 19 Mar. 2021 Before that, Peaslee was Anoka-Ramsey Community College's vice president for academic and student affairs for eight years. Ryan Faircloth, Star Tribune, "New presidents named for Minnesota State University, Mankato and St. Paul College," 17 Mar. 2021 Police have also increasingly used sedition and anti-terror legislation to intimidate academics, journalists and activists, says Harsh Mander, a prominent academic who has been on the receiving end of government intimidation. Billy Perrigo, Time, "'It Is Dangerous To Speak Up In India Today.' What the Resignations of 2 Academics Show About Freedom of Expression Under Modi," 19 Mar. 2021

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

1 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Academic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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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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Comments on academic

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