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

At 18 years old, Beede was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays with the 21st overall pick in Major League Baseball’s amateur draft. Kerry Crowley, The Mercury News, "Tyler Beede’s financial gamble started eight-year journey to first win over Dodgers," 18 June 2019 Tanking — aggressively losing to gain a better spot in the amateur draft — has become an accepted strategy. Peter Abraham, BostonGlobe.com, "Q&A with baseball commissioner Rob Manfred," 15 June 2019 Sedar was drafted in the sixth round as an outfielder by the Sox out of College of Lake County in the old January amateur draft in 1981. George Castle, Lake County News-Sun, "Sedar's point: Waukegan West grad Ed Sedar rides the wave as Milwaukee Brewers’ third base coach," 13 June 2019 A day after signing their top pick of the 2019 amateur draft, the Angels welcomed second-round pick Kyren Paris into the organization. Maria Torres, latimes.com, "Cal commit and second-round draft pick Kyren Paris signs with Angels," 11 June 2019 In other entirely thrilling news, the Reds took a college pitcher with the 7th overall pick in Monday night’s amateur draft. Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati.com, "Doc's Morning Line: I don't like the NFL Draft. Here's why the MLB Draft is even worse.," 4 June 2019 Hammer is still busy on the amateur circuit this summer, too. Adam Coleman, Houston Chronicle, "All-Greater Houston boys golfer of the year: Kinkaid's Cole Hammer," 15 June 2018 After achieving success on the amateur circuit, Phiri turned to professional boxing. Rachel Woods And Chris Giles, CNN, "Punching patriarchy: The Zambian female boxer taking on the world," 24 May 2018 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

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

24 Jun 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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