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

Koepka, fresh off winning the PGA Championship, will tee off at 1:47 p.m. in a group rounded out by Italian Francesco Molinari and Norwegian amateur Viktor Hovland. Cam Inman, The Mercury News, "U.S. Open at Pebble Beach tee times revealed: Tiger, Koepka start midday," 6 June 2019 Johnny Almaraz, the Phillies’ amateur scouting director, believes in taking position players in the first round. Scott Lauber, https://www.inquirer.com, "Andrew McCutchen is out with torn ACL, Adam Haseley is on the way, and the Phillies are a mess | Extra Innings," 4 June 2019 Unfortunately, the required training and certification is not a difficult hurdle to clear, so there are some unprepared amateurs out there masquerading as professionals. Michelle Lee, Allure, "Thanks to Microblading, I Finally Have My Pre-Tweezer Eyebrows Back," 9 May 2019 Not for amateurs: One writer for a high school paper hid a promposal within a review of Fall Out Boy's new album. 19. Yerin Kim, Seventeen, "21 Adorable New Ways to Ask Someone to Prom," 19 Nov. 2018 The trend, which looks just as good as an imperfect painterly smudge, is for amateurs and skilled makeup enthusiasts alike. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "6 Game-Changing Makeup Ideas for 2019, According to a Celebrity Makeup Artist," 21 Jan. 2019 Scientists completely missed STEVEs until amateurs brought the odd lights to their attention. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "The Science Behind Earth's Strangest Light Phenomena," 29 Apr. 2019 But honestly, my nerves were worse in the amateurs. Shawn Mcfarland, courant.com, "Hartford's Richard Rivera Wins ABF Continental Americas Cruiserweight Belt At Fight Night At The Capital," 17 June 2018 Paul Casey got stuck, as did amateurs like Jacob Bergeron. Charles Curtis, For The Win, "The U.S. Open's biggest challenge may be beating the traffic to Shinnecock Hills," 13 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

10 Jun 2019

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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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