ath·​lete | \ ˈath-ˌlēt How to pronounce athlete (audio) , nonstandard ˈa-thə-ˌlēt How to pronounce athlete (audio) \

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

But at the end of the day, what’s become clear is that athletes who desire to have long careers and avoid major injuries should be less trusting of their organizations and more empowered to put themselves first. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Kevin Durant's injury should serve as cautionary tale for athletes everywhere," 11 June 2019 Once better, an athlete should be on a flexibility and stretching program to decrease the risk of re-injury, which can approach 25% of patients. miamiherald, "How long will it take for my calf injury to heal?," 4 June 2019 Semenya has been fighting the idea that female athletes should be subject to hormonal testing and restrictions for a decade. Sophie Kemp, Vogue, "What to Know About Olympic Runner Caster Semenya, and Why Her Case Matters," 2 May 2019 The athlete is Love Magazine's latest cover star and his stunning eye makeup has everyone shook. Maya Allen, Marie Claire, "Love Magazine's David Beckham Cover Showing Off His Green Eyeshadow Is Incredible," 9 Jan. 2019 However, ice baths after a particularly hot workout or when the athlete is overheated do seem to be helpful. Alexa Tucker, SELF, "10 Things to Do Before and After a Workout to Get Better Results," 3 Jan. 2019 Recently woman athletes of all levels have been fighting back against sexists dress code policies. Amira Rasool, Teen Vogue, "A College Student Ended Her School’s Sexist Sports-Bra Ban With a Brilliant Essay," 13 Nov. 2018 Commenters couldn't quite figure out if the athlete was joking or actually hinting at an album. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "Carrie Underwood's Husband Mike Fisher Hints At 'New Music' in Instagram Post," 14 Oct. 2018 The younger athletes were slower overall, but their feet-first slides also beat out their head-first slides by a fraction of a second. Jo Craven Mcginty, WSJ, "In Baseball, the Flashiest Slide May Not Be the Fastest," 28 Sep. 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

15 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for athlete

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

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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 How to pronounce athlete (audio) \

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

Comments on athlete

What made you want to look up athlete? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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