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

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

For Laurapalooza attendees, Wilder’s life and literary oeuvre offer a playground for academic discovery. Elena Nicolaou,, "Little House, Big Fans: These People Really, Really Love Laura Ingalls Wilder," 24 Aug. 2019 This fall, four-year-old Princess Charlotte will get her first real taste of the academic life, and the work that comes with it. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Prince George and Princess Charlotte's Curriculum at Thomas's Battersea Is No Joke," 24 Aug. 2019 Options include long-term substitutes and school staff hired to do other assignments, such as academic coaches and teachers who assist students with disabilities, temporarily helping out until a new teacher is hired. Lois K. Solomon,, "Thousands of teaching jobs still open for new school year in Florida," 23 Aug. 2019 The idea of maximizing shareholder returns took hold in executive suites and academic circles over the following decades, with some even claiming that companies have a legal duty to do so. Los Angeles Times, "CEOs spurned the shareholders-first model. Now critics ask, ‘What’s next?’," 23 Aug. 2019 Jay Neal, associate vice president for academic affairs and chief operating officer for UH at Sugar Land and UH at Katy, said in a press release. Kristi Nix, Houston Chronicle, "University of Houston expands facilities, program offerings at Sugar Land and Katy campuses," 23 Aug. 2019 The district's academic struggles extend beyond its inclusion last year on a list of lowest-performing schools in the state. Max Londberg,, "Newport superintendent claims critical audit of his district defamed him, cost him speaking gigs," 23 Aug. 2019 The buffet of options offered to families includes charter schools, small schools, magnet schools and ones that have academic requirements for admission or gifted and talented programs. Eliza Shapiro, New York Times, "Desegregating N.Y. Schools Was His Top Priority. What Happened?," 23 Aug. 2019 Beyond the academic goals in the charter, they are graded on the same report card measures as non-charters and are monitored for compliance in all areas. al, "Alabama given $25 million federal grant to plant new charter schools," 23 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Georgia Tech’s whiteboard The academics out of Atlanta would of course have this as their turnover award: a whiteboard on which players get to scribble their Twitter handle. Ross Dellenger,, "The Rundown: Week 1's Standouts, Defining Moments and Our New Top 10," 1 Sep. 2019 But most academics who study violent extremism agree that the internet has exponentially extended the reach of hate groups, giving their ideologies nearly unfettered access to minds susceptible to their message. Jonathan Bullington, USA TODAY, "White supremacy in America: Can parents stop online radicalization?," 23 Aug. 2019 History usually belongs to the conquerors, or the esteemed academics. Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: A Central Valley man’s lifelong quest to build his own Chicano library," 22 Aug. 2019 Determined to make Alcott’s story fit their faddish social agendas, academics employ themselves by dissecting her masterpiece, ignoring her other works, and turning her into a fierce feminist. Sarah Schutte, National Review, "Louisa May Alcott: A Writer for All Ages," 22 Aug. 2019 Few Vietnamese know exactly where the tradition comes from, and academics disagree on its origins. 1843, "Vietnam’s ghosts are hungry for iPhones," 22 Aug. 2019 For their research, the academics first gathered two datasets of over 100,000 Twitter comments and that are typically used by other researchers for hate-speech detection projects. Jonathan Vanian, Fortune, "Google’s Hate Speech Detection A.I. Has a Racial Bias Problem," 16 Aug. 2019 But another source told me the academics was not the major problem. Terry Pluto,, "Cleveland State basketball: What is behind the firing of Dennis Felton? — Terry Pluto," 21 July 2019 Senior academics often justify their presence by citing the need to mentor younger generations. Robert Zaretsky, Twin Cities, "Robert Zaretsky: We need a mandatory retirement age for us professors," 18 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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Learn More about academic

Statistics for academic

Last Updated

17 Sep 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).


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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