ath·​lete | \ˈath-ˌlēt, nonstandard ˈa-thə-ˌlēt \

Definition of athlete 

1 : a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility, or stamina

2 : an animal (such as a horse or a dog) that competes in races or other sporting events or has qualities (such a stamina and agility) suggestive of a human athlete Hospice working dogs were wiry, muscular, agile, yellowish-tan or brown athletes with unexaggerated heads …— Deborah Lawson

Examples of athlete in a Sentence

Athletes from around the world will be competing at the Olympics. She was quite an athlete as a child.

Recent Examples on the Web

Race, ethnicity and the relationship between African-American athletes and a predominantly white audience is the subject of three important books this year. Jane Leavy, WSJ, "What to Give: Sports Books," 16 Nov. 2018 Upon their arrival by train at the university, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex met a few honorees at Coach Core, an organization supported by the Royal Foundation that works to inspire the next generation of athletes and train them to become coaches. D. Elizabeth, Glamour, "Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, the People's Royals, Just Commuted to Work on a Train," 26 Sep. 2018 This season, the show is mixing it up with both athletes and celebrities. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "'Dancing with the Stars' Just Announced the Cast for Season 27 and We Can't Wait to Watch," 12 Sep. 2018 But for the National Black Police Association, the criticisms outlined in NAPO’s letter were not a fair reflection of their beliefs about the athlete and his protest. P.r. Lockhart, Vox, "A black police organization issued a powerful defense of Colin Kaepernick," 6 Sep. 2018 And the macro diet — AKA counting your macros — is another phrase that's popping up amongst athletes and dietitians. Colleen Stinchcombe, Redbook, "What Are Macros, Exactly?," 27 Aug. 2018 When the dust settled, dozens of media figures, celebrities and athletes saw their following emaciated. Katherine Fominykh,, "Former Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis lost about half his followers in Twitter's fake account purge," 13 July 2018 In 2018-19, West Side Leadership Academy will join the Great Lakes Athletic Conference to compete against high schools from Hammond and East Chicago, opening up athletes for additional scholarships. Meredith Colias-pete, Post-Tribune, "Resident at first Gary schools forum: 'Where do you come down in terms of obligations to the community?'," 11 July 2018 Ohio State recently ordered an independent investigation into Richard Strauss, the former sports physician accused of groping athletes. Eugene Scott, Washington Post, "Ohio State and Jim Jordan: Why sexual abuse claims against men aren’t taken seriously," 11 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'athlete.' 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 athlete

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for athlete

Middle English, from Latin athleta, from Greek athlētēs, from athlein to contend for a prize, from athlon prize, contest

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Statistics for athlete

Last Updated

30 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for athlete

The first known use of athlete was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for athlete



English Language Learners Definition of athlete

: a person who is trained in or good at sports, games, or exercises that require physical skill and strength


ath·​lete | \ˈath-ˌlēt \

Kids Definition of athlete

: a person who is trained in or good at games and exercises that require physical skill, endurance, and strength

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More from Merriam-Webster on athlete

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with athlete

Spanish Central: Translation of athlete

Nglish: Translation of athlete for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of athlete for Arabic Speakers

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a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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