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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Other Words from academic


academically \ ˌa-​kə-​ˈde-​mi-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce academically (audio) \ 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

Researchers said food insecurity should not hinder a student’s wellbeing and academic performance. Sarah Wu,, "Cash-strapped students are skipping meals at colleges," 9 Aug. 2019 These students are more likely to have a low-academic performance, according to Broward County Public Schools. Tatyana Monnay,, "No supplies left behind: Mother-daughter team forms nonprofit to help Guyanese schools," 8 Aug. 2019 In November, the state board of education ordered Adams County School District 14 to contract with an outside manager to improve its results after years of poor academic performance. Meg Wingerter, The Denver Post, "Adams 14, Pueblo teachers, state board attorneys spar over whether outside manager will cause harm," 1 Aug. 2019 Over time, these shifts in student beliefs and behaviors improve academic performance, which then reinforce students’ positive beliefs. Belinda Luscombe, Time, "These Academics Spent $1.35 To Make Middle School Less Awful. Here's How.," 30 July 2019 At first, Contessa breathed a sigh of relief at the diagnosis, which seemed to explain King’s poor academic performance and many of his vexing behavioral problems. Leila Atassi,, "Could the Lawrence School be King Korper’s key to overcoming dyslexia?: A Greater Cleveland," 17 July 2019 This lack of access translates to a lack of job opportunities and poor academic performance. Sean Mclaughlin, The Mercury News, "Opinion: Consumers suffer under California broadband deregulation," 14 July 2019 For the district’s data dashboard, which includes academic performance, attendance and other figures, visit Jesse Leavenworth,, "Manchester school superintendent gets positive review, raise," 12 July 2019 The books in this series are designed to explore and present Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures to the world’s children, as well as to encourage children within those cultures to become readers and improve academic performance. David James, Anchorage Daily News, "These books will keep kids reading this summer - and discovering Alaska in the process," 6 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Lepore makes the case that, wary of the sins of America and the excesses of nationalism, academics checked out of this battle beginning in the 1970s, abandoning their traditional duty to tell the national story. Grayson Logue, National Review, "A Nation without a Chest," 10 Aug. 2019 Nonetheless, Epstein was apparently able to amass enormous wealth and ingratiate himself with scientists and academics. Anna North, Vox, "His death doesn’t mean his story is over," 10 Aug. 2019 Criteria for the ranking was based on data from surveys of 140,000 students and included questions about their school’s academics/administration, life at their university, their fellow students and themselves. Leada Gore |, al, "Auburn University students happiest in the country," 9 Aug. 2019 Buzz60 College rankings purport to tell the public which schools are worthwhile, even though many academics view the rankings as worthless. Chris Quintana, USA TODAY, "US News & World Report ranks America's 'best' colleges. But, is there really a way to know?," 7 Aug. 2019 Shortly after Morrison's passing was made public, the literary community, politicians, celebrities, and academics took to social media to celebrate the life of the extraordinary author. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "The Literary Community Reacts to Toni Morrison's Death," 6 Aug. 2019 And more than 400 educators and academics from around the world signed a petition to protect it. Nanette Asimov,, "More than 100 people flood SF school to see mural slated for destruction," 1 Aug. 2019 Indeed, the media was far more likely to call upon male rather than female academics to offer their political expertise during the 2016 US presidential elections, as professors Emily Beaulieu and Kathleen Searles have observed. Sarah Todd, Quartz at Work, "A top US political science journal ignored race and gender—until 12 women took over," 31 July 2019 Lauvaux hopes the companies building their own emissions-monitoring satellites will permit academics or federal labs to evaluate their methods. Jeremy Hsu, Scientific American, "Private Space Race Targets Greenhouse Gas Emitters," 31 July 2019

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

13 Aug 2019

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 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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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 wrong name or inappropriate designation

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