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

educational, intellectual, scholarly, scholastic

Antonyms: Adjective

nonacademic, noneducational, unacademic, unscholarly

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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

The projects will also be part of an academic study. Michael Taylor, The Christian Science Monitor, "Won't you be my neighbor: Melbourne experiments with community-led housing," 11 July 2018 George Mason’s president in April disclosed that some financial-gift agreements accepted by the school did not meet academic independence standards. Sarah Larimer, Washington Post, "George Mason University Foundation is not subject to public records laws, judge rules," 6 July 2018 Those cases combined with county-level surveys and some published academic studies make up the bulk of what the agency knows about national tick distribution. Megan Molteni, WIRED, "We Have No Idea How Bad the US Tick Problem Is," 4 July 2018 Surprisingly, though, there remains a relative dearth of academic studies comparing outcomes from real and virtual medical visits. Clifton Leaf, Fortune, "Why Hasn’t Telemedicine Taken Off? Hey, Blame This Guy.," 3 July 2018 Waukegan students will now be required to meet various academic standards in order to move on to the next grade level. Emily K. Coleman, Lake County News-Sun, "Waukegan District 60 approves new retention policy around when students should get held back," 15 June 2018 Title 1 provides federal funds to help students meet academic standards and to involve parents at the school. Karen Zurawski, Houston Chronicle, "KCM Red Apple program sees greater need," 13 June 2018 These books are prevalent in religious and charter schools across America, despite the fact that the lessons often don’t pass the academic standards of many state and local school systems. Michael Harriot, The Root, "Slaves, Dinosaurs and White Jesus, Oh My! How Taxpayers Fund Crazy Christian Conservative Education," 12 June 2018 The resolution calls for schools to develop spending plans that would allow even the lowest-performing students to achieve rigorous academic standards. Sonali Kohli,, "L.A.'s school board president wants every district graduate to be eligible for a four-year public university by 2023," 7 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Last month, more than 600 academics signed an open letter calling for Mr. Hedges to be released. Asa Fitch, WSJ, "Life Sentence for British Student Draws Criticism for U.A.E.," 21 Nov. 2018 Few psychologists, to be fair, do this now; most go into clinical practice or do basic research as academics. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "Criminal profiling doesn’t work. TV shows should maybe stop celebrating it.," 12 Nov. 2018 That may be why so few academics have seen the need to study how oral collagen supplements affect human skin. Aleksandra Crapanzano, Marie Claire, "Can Eating Chicken Soup Give You Better Skin?," 12 Oct. 2018 Both her parents are academics who taught Kang to value learning for its own sake, and not just as training for a job. Jenna Sauers, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Fashion Industry Is Obsessed With Size. This Model is Challenging the Status Quo.," 22 Aug. 2018 True, Wojnarowicz’s formal means — stenciling, spray painting, collaging — are anti-academic. New York Times, "He Spoke Out During the AIDS Crisis. See Why His Art Still Matters.," 12 July 2018 About two dozen attended the hour-long meeting where school officials repeated a prior presentation on the district’s balance sheet and provided generalized plans for academics. Meredith Colias-pete, Post-Tribune, "Resident at first Gary schools forum: 'Where do you come down in terms of obligations to the community?'," 11 July 2018 To drive home the point that a professor was physically appealing, the most-attractive academics were awarded a chili pepper for being caliente. Alfred Lubrano,, "After complaints, does away with its 'hotness' ratings," 11 July 2018 Today's European Parliament committee vote on copyright ignores warnings from academics, civil rights groups and online sector. Daniel Wilson, sacbee, "Here's why internet users may have to soon limit use of memes and videos," 21 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

3 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

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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More from Merriam-Webster on academic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with academic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for academic

Spanish Central: Translation of academic

Nglish: Translation of academic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of academic for Arabic Speakers

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).


a nest or breeding place

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