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

Her critics insist these gains have been overstated and that Louisiana’s overall low academic performance is hardly a model. Howard Blume,, "Contract extension for L.A. Unified inspector general falls through," 2 July 2018 Bonuses for Barnhart regarding the Directors’ Cup and student-athlete academic performance are specifically mentioned in the contract. Fletcher Page, The Courier-Journal, "Kentucky AD Mitch Barnhart receives raise in pay, incentives," 29 June 2018 The goal has been to bring the academic performance of struggling students from low-income backgrounds, many of them black or Hispanic, up to the average level of their middle-class or more privileged peers. Dana Goldstein, New York Times, "Educators Turn to Programs for Top Students to Narrow the ‘Excellence Gap’," 25 June 2018 Among them was privately funded education initiative Project LIFT, a five-year project that aimed to improve academic performance at struggling Charlotte schools. Hannah Lang, charlotteobserver, "He went to a segregated high school. For decades, he's fought for education equality.," 22 June 2018 Improve academic performance, especially among lower-income teens. ? Liz Weston, Fox News, "Liz Weston: Why your teen should work this summer," 4 June 2018 During Dill’s tenure at SDUHSD, the district has received honors for its academic performance. Deborah Sullivan Brennan,, "San Dieguito Superintendent Eric Dill resigns for new post," 1 June 2018 The commission will be the school's sponsor, overseeing operations and academic performance. Mará Rose Williams, kansascity, "KC girls-only charter school gets approval to open in 2019," 30 May 2018 The move could also be partly driven by schools’ focus on academic performance, Moon-Raess said. Sarah Freishtat, Aurora Beacon-News, "Amid effort to focus on more than just academics, schools change approach to discipline," 24 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

It was taught to this generation of academics as akin to the law of gravity, but has since become the political-science equivalent of believing Earth to be flat. The Economist, "Fork in the roadShould the party move to the left or to the centre?," 12 July 2018 According to a pair of academics in Vancouver, there actually is a formula at work. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "How teardowns hurt housing affordability, and how to fix it," 11 July 2018 Initially an ecological term used to describe shorelines moving inland because of erosion, retreat has expanded to encompass an increasingly popular idea among a small but growing cadre of academics, environmental researchers, and urban planners. Sean Patrick Cooper, The New Republic, "Is America Ready for the Next Superstorm?," 4 June 2018 Lester Bangs’s gonzo pyrotechnics aren’t to be found, but neither is the analytical sobriety of academics who dissect Bob Dylan. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Was Classic Rock a Sound, or a Tribe?," 28 May 2018 This brain trust of academics worked with us for years to develop the idea behind the Investing in Opportunity Act. Clifton Leaf, Fortune, "Q&A: Sean Parker on Napster, Spotify, and His Federal Tax Law Triumph," 25 May 2018 There, plain for all to see in a prominent pro-government magazine, were the names of 200 academics, journalists, human rights advocates and others. Griff Witte, Washington Post, "Two hundred names appeared on an enemies list in Hungary. Thousands more asked to join.," 15 May 2018 Her husband - a teacher of academics - Inez was a teacher of the nuances of life., "Inez R. Campo," 9 May 2018 Taking over for him in the interim is Brian Luciani, director of academics at Kenilworth Public Schools, according to ABC News. Maria Pasquini,, "New Jersey School Superintendent Arrested After Allegedly Repeatedly Pooping on School's Field," 4 May 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

8 Oct 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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Comments on academic

What made you want to look up academic? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


evasion of direct action or statement

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