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 young boxer climbed the amateur ranks and by 18 turned pro with Getty always in his corner. Mike Jones, USA TODAY, "Boxer Keith Thurman on Saturday showdown with Manny Pacquiao: 'This is a legacy fight'," 19 July 2019 Nike provided the court with the initial sketch that Leonard provided the company, which looks like an amateur or child-like tracing in pen of his large hand, with his initials and jersey number accentuated. oregonlive.com, "Nike countersues NBA star Kawhi Leonard, wants federal case bounced to Oregon," 19 July 2019 All three of Hardy’s amateur wins came by first-round knockout. Alex Miller, ExpressNews.com, "Tension runs high between heavyweights Juan Adams, Greg Hardy," 18 July 2019 The Bruins also hired Andrew Dickson as an amateur scout. Jenna Ciccotelli, BostonGlobe.com, "Chris Kelly returns to Bruins as player development coordinator," 18 July 2019 An amateur came down from Orlando to spar with Thurman. Chris Mannix, SI.com, "Shadow Trainer: Ben Getty Is Gone, but Keith Thurman Is Still Listening," 18 July 2019 Written and directed by Riley Stearns, the movie stars Eisenberg as Casey Davies, a mild-mannered accountant and amateur Francophile who is shunned by most of his co-workers and has no friends besides his pet dachshund. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: ‘The Art of Self-Defense’ takes violent comic aim at toxic masculinity," 18 July 2019 Written and directed by Riley Stearns, the movie stars Eisenberg as Casey Davies, a mild-mannered accountant and amateur Francophile who is shunned by most of his co-workers and has no friends besides his pet dachshund. Justin Chang, Detroit Free Press, "‘Art of Self-Defense’ takes comic aim at masculinity," 18 July 2019 The Maori team was founded in 1910, in rugby union’s amateur age, as a lure to tempt Maori players away from the money on offer in professional rugby league in Australia. C.h., The Economist, "Why New Zealand’s other All Blacks matter," 18 July 2019

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

22 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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