ath·​lete ˈath-ˌlēt How to pronounce athlete (audio)
ˈa-thə-ˌlēt How to pronounce athlete (audio)
: a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility, or stamina
: an animal (such as a horse or a dog) that competes in races or other sporting events or has qualities (such as 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 Some athletes get bored with protein shakes and bars and can only eat so many eggs or chicken breasts. Cynthia Sass, Mph, Health, 8 June 2024 Katie Ledecky is among the world’s most accomplished athletes, but people seem to know little about Katie Ledecky, the human. Andrew Trunsky, New York Times, 8 June 2024 The two Stanley Cup Final teams — the Edmonton Oilers and the Florida Panthers — have their puppy versions of their star athletes: Connor McDoodle and Sergei Bobruffsky. Julie Mazziotta, Peoplemag, 7 June 2024 For example, Josh Gibson, a Negro Leagues player, beat out Ty Cobb’s status as the athlete with the highest career batting average. Ella Feldman, Smithsonian Magazine, 7 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for athlete 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'athlete.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near athlete

Cite this Entry

“Athlete.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


ath·​lete ˈath-ˌlēt How to pronounce athlete (audio)
: a person who is trained in or good at games and exercises that require physical skill, endurance, and strength

More from Merriam-Webster on athlete

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