amateur

noun
am·​a·​teur | \ ˈa-mə-(ˌ)tər How to pronounce amateur (audio) , -ˌtu̇r, -ˌtyu̇r, -ˌchu̇r How to pronounce amateur (audio) , -chər How to pronounce amateur (audio) \

Definition of amateur

1 : one who engages in a pursuit, study, science, or sport as a pastime rather than as a profession She played soccer as an amateur before turning professional. a tournament that is open to both amateurs and professionals
2 : one lacking in experience and competence in an art or science The people running that company are a bunch of amateurs. He's a mere amateur when it comes to cooking.
3 : devotee, admirer I am a philologist or amateur of the language …— Phillip Howard

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Other Words from amateur

amateur adjective
an amateur athlete
amateurish \ ˌa-​mə-​ˈtər-​ish How to pronounce amateurish (audio) , -​ˈt(y)u̇r-​ , -​ˈchu̇r-​ , -​ˈchər-​ \ adjective
amateurishly adverb
amateurishness noun
amateurism \ ˈa-​mə-​ˌtər-​ˌi-​zəm How to pronounce amateurism (audio) , -​ˌt(y)u̇r-​ , -​ˌchu̇r-​ , -​ˌchər-​ ; -​ˌtə-​ˌri-​ , -​ˌchə-​ˌri-​ \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for amateur

amateur, dilettante, dabbler, tyro mean a person who follows a pursuit without attaining proficiency or professional status. amateur often applies to one practicing an art without mastery of its essentials a painting obviously done by an amateur ; in sports it may also suggest not so much lack of skill but avoidance of direct remuneration. remained an amateur despite lucrative offers dilettante may apply to the lover of an art rather than its skilled practitioner but usually implies elegant trifling in the arts and an absence of serious commitment. had no patience for dilettantes dabbler suggests desultory habits of work and lack of persistence. a dabbler who started novels but never finished them tyro implies inexperience often combined with audacity with resulting crudeness or blundering. shows talent but is still a mere tyro

Should amateur only be used literally?

The earliest sense of amateur ("one that has a marked fondness, liking, or taste") is strongly connected to its roots: the word came into English from the French amateur, which in turn comes from the Latin word for “lover” (amator). This has led some people to assume that the word is properly used only in the sense “one who performs something for love rather than for money.” However, as is the case with so many other English words, amateur may mean two strikingly different things, referring to one who does something for the love of it and also to one who is not terribly competent at something.

Our earliest record of the word's literal sense comes from a 1777 source. By 1790, however, it was already being used in the somewhat condescending extended sense, as seen in George Rous’s description of Edmund Burke as “a bystander, a mere amateur of aristocracy” in his Thoughts on Government.

Examples of amateur in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The pros will compete on July 13 and the amateurs on July 14. Phil Marty, chicagotribune.com, "Get a taste of Italy in Milwaukee, watch champion water skiers and more Midwest events," 1 July 2019 Made to feel unwelcome, Moran gave up on international tennis, which at the time was still reserved for amateurs. oregonlive.com, "‘Gorgeous Gussie’ Moran shocked Wimbledon 70 years ago, the first of many shocks that upended her life," 28 June 2019 If getting paid meant that Lenglen could no longer enter Wimbledon—which was open only to amateurs at the time—so be it. Jon Wertheim And Jacob Feldman, SI.com, "The Incomparable Life and Mysterious Death of Suzanne Lenglen," 27 June 2019 The question is, who's going to determine when an amateur becomes a pro? Brian Stelter, CNN, "Why Washington regulators and lawmakers are turning their attention to YouTube," 20 June 2019 Oklahoma State’s Viktor Hovland set a new 72-hole scoring record for an amateur in the U.S. Open, shooting a four-under 67 on Sunday capped with a birdie on the 18th hole. Sam Farmer And Tod Leonard, latimes.com, "U.S. Open notes: Viktor Hovland’s performance was no amateur hour," 16 June 2019 Wu, after posting a 2-under 69, is the low amateur entering Saturday. Cam Inman, The Mercury News, "Stanford’s Brandon Wu makes U.S. Open charge," 15 June 2019 Talent ranges from great to amateur, depending on the venue. Hector Saldana, ExpressNews.com, "Piñata Protest, restaurant musicians celebrated at Talón Fest in San Antonio," 13 June 2019 On July 30, the Sandbox will host the first statewide par-3 tournament for top amateurs. Gary D'amato, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "D'Amato: How Sand Valley Golf Resort is transforming central Wisconsin," 30 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'amateur.' 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 amateur

1777, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for amateur

French, from Latin amator lover, from amare to love

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Statistics for amateur

Last Updated

8 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for amateur

The first known use of amateur was in 1777

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More Definitions for amateur

amateur

noun
am·​a·​teur | \ ˈam-ə-ˌtər How to pronounce amateur (audio) , -ˌchər\

Kids Definition of amateur

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a person who takes part in sports or occupations for pleasure and not for pay
2 : a person who takes part in something without having experience or skill in it

Other Words from amateur

amateurish \ ˌam-​ə-​ˈtər-​ish , -​ˈchər-​ \ adjective an amateurish actor

amateur

adjective

Kids Definition of amateur (Entry 2 of 2)

: not professional amateur athletes

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Comments on amateur

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