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 The higher level of anxiety among youth is consistent with another study on postsecondary students showing significant concerns about finances, academic disruptions and employment prospects. Shelly Hagan,, "Mental-Health Concerns Spike in Canada Amid Virus Restrictions," 29 May 2020 Purdue and Notre Dame are addressing COVID-19 by changing the academic calendar to an early August start, ending the semester by Thanksgiving and without a fall break. David Woods, Indianapolis Star, "Rebuild America: The status of sports in returning in Indiana," 28 May 2020 The question became more than academic only a few years after that first novel, when HIV began to spread among gay men. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Larry Kramer Knew That an Honest Debate Was a Rude One," 28 May 2020 The announcement also included dates for a revised academic calendar. Michael Reschke, The Indianapolis Star, "Indiana University says students will be on campus this fall," 27 May 2020 Most of its authors are academic researchers or public health authorities; only two have affiliations with a company. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Early tests of vaccine for COVID-19 pass peer review, look promising," 26 May 2020 Missing school can also cause academic setbacks and restrict access to services that students with mental health needs depend on, research shows. Marshall Allen, ProPublica, "What Parents Should Know About Coronavirus as Kids Return to Babysitters, Day Cares and Camps," 23 May 2020 In addition, Turetsky said, there’s evidence that most female academics who are married tie the knot with another academic, while a large proportion of male academics have a partner who stays at home and tends to the family. Melody Schreiber, The New Republic, "Female Scientists Are Bearing the Brunt of Quarantine Child-Rearing," 22 May 2020 The time of academic wondering—and wandering—is over. Leonard David, Scientific American, "NASA Proposes New Rules for Moon-Focused Space Race," 21 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 He did anyway Prather was also named to the Athletic Director's and C-USA Commissioner's Honor Roll for her commitment to academics, the department said. Lucas Aulbach, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville Fire, U of L and others are 'reeling' after car crash kills 4 near St. Louis," 15 Feb. 2020 Scholars were chosen based on their exceptional research skills, commitment to academics, innovative thinking and promise as scientists. Ed Wittenberg, cleveland, "University School, Hathaway Brown students earn national honors for scientific research," 17 Jan. 2020 In fact, Facebook could have more dead members than living ones within 50 years, according to academics at Oxford University. Edward C. Baig, USA TODAY, "What happens to your Facebook and Twitter accounts after you die?," 12 Dec. 2019 Behind the scenes, Warren's staff worked frantically to come up with answers, with staffers reaching out repeatedly to academics to test various ideas. Anchorage Daily News, "How a fight over health care entangled Elizabeth Warren - and reshaped the Democratic presidential race," 1 Dec. 2019 Public health agencies, academics and governors' offices are racing to deploy the apps in the U.S. as one step toward relaxing stay-at-home orders. NBC News, "White House seeks to limit congressional testimony for at least a month," 5 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

3 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Academic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jun. 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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