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.
amateuradjective an amateur athlete
amateurishplay \ˌa-mə-ˈtər-ish, -ˈt(y)u̇r-, -ˈchu̇r-, -ˈchər-\ adjective
amateurismplay \ˈa-mə-ˌtər-ˌi-zəm, -ˌt(y)u̇r-, -ˌchu̇r-, -ˌchər-; -ˌtə-ˌri-, -ˌchə-ˌri-\ noun
Recent Examples of amateur from the Web
Opportunist hackers are amateurs and professionals who spend hours a day running random scams on the Internet looking for unprotected home computers.
And the love of owls has also inspired amateur bird watchers to team up with ornithologists to track owls in the wild.
Being able to deliver the bombs bursting and banners waving at a briskly dignified clip is one of the main criteria for making it into the team’s roster of amateur anthemists.
Between two rookie-level Arizona League teams and a Dominican Summer League squad, the Padres have plenty of places to stash the 47 teenagers added in the international amateur free agent period that closed June 15.
Throughout the 20th century Chicago's photographic image of itself was created by amateurs and professionals alike and, often, by commercial filmmakers sparked by a social conscience.
Dunne, Spieth and Nicklaus would not rule out an amateur winning a major.
Most bizarre about this day was that as many amateurs broke par as top 10 players in the world – two apiece.
The U.S. Open Cup is a 103-year-old knockout tournament (third-oldest in the world) that includes teams ranging from amateur clubs to MLS.
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.
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.
Origin and Etymology of amateur
French, from Latin amator lover, from amare to love
First Known Use: 1777See Words from the same year
Synonym Discussion of amateur
AMATEUR Defined for Kids
Definition of amateur for Students
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
amateurish\ˌam-ə-ˈtər-ish, -ˈchər-\ adjective an amateurish actor
History for amateur
The English word amateur came from a French word which in turn came from a Latin word that meant “lover.” In English, amateurs are so called because they do something for the love of doing it and not for pay.
Definition of amateur for Students
: not professional amateur athletes
Seen and Heard
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