amateur

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

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-​ˈchər-​ish , -​ˈchu̇r-​ , -​ˈtər-​ , -​ˈtu̇r-​ How to pronounce amateurish (audio) , -​ˈtyu̇r \ adjective
amateurishly adverb
amateurishness noun
amateurism \ ˈa-​mə-​chər-​ˌi-​zəm , -​ˌchu̇r-​ , -​(ˌ)tər-​ How to pronounce amateurism (audio) , -​ˌtu̇r-​ , -​ˌtyu̇r-​ \ 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 Frankly, these amateur football players face health risks every year, not just when there’s a pandemic. Doug Lesmerises, cleveland, "Ohio State football players will do anything to play, which is why someone needs to look out for them," 15 May 2020 Mark Yannetti, director of amateur scouting, is expected to oversee their draft operations. Los Angeles Times, "Kings assistant general manager Michael Futa to leave organization," 11 May 2020 The amateur draft is expected to be reduced by 15 to 20 rounds under the proposal, which would leave plenty of talented players undrafted. Nathan Ruiz, baltimoresun.com, "Independent Southern Maryland Blue Crabs deal with ‘pressures’ that minor league teams could face under MLB proposal," 28 Oct. 2019 The Astros were penalized their next two first- and second-round amateur draft picks. Ronald Blum And Jimmy Golen, Houston Chronicle, "MLB hands down punishment on Red Sox for 2018 sign-stealing," 22 Apr. 2020 Officials expect this year’s amateur draft to be shortened to as few as 10 rounds, down from the usual 40. Ben Thomas | Bthomas@al.com, al, "‘We got robbed by nobody:’ HS baseball coaches ponder what could have been," 17 Apr. 2020 There was 46-year old Lenny Randle, and a slew of former amateur or minor league players who left their jobs as truck drivers and teachers to earn a crack at a big league roster. Hayes Gardner, The Courier-Journal, "25 years ago this week, we saw baseball return from historic monthslong strike," 23 Apr. 2020 At least three of those satellites have since been deorbited, according to amateur satellite trackers, and several more appear to be in unusual orbits. William Harwood, CBS News, "SpaceX launches another 60 Starlink satellites, pushing total above 400," 22 Apr. 2020 The Sombrero Galaxy can be seen with an amateur telescope from Death Valley National Park in California. Michelle Krupa, CNN, "Start your Monday smart: Coronavirus, Ramadan, Orthodox Easter, Earth Day, NFL draft," 19 Apr. 2020

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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Time Traveler for amateur

Time Traveler

The first known use of amateur was in 1777

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Statistics for amateur

Last Updated

26 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Amateur.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/amateur. Accessed 7 Jun. 2020.

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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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