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 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 When put in an arm-wrestling competition with other athletes, my money would be on the cheerleaders every time. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, "How Netflix's superb 'Cheer' dispels your assumptions about cheerleading," 9 Jan. 2020 Here's a look at 10 young athletes who could have a breakout year in 2020. Calum Trenaman And Celine Ramseyer, CNN, "10 young athletes to watch in 2020," 9 Jan. 2020 In September the governor, who took office at the top of 2019, signed a bill that would allow college student-athletes to receive endorsement deals and get paid. Tanya A. Christian, Essence, "California Makes Diapers And Feminine Hygiene Products Tax-Free," 9 Jan. 2020 The new statement makes explicitly clear that athletes can no longer do these things in the spirit of keeping the games a friendly place. Brittney Mcnamara, Teen Vogue, "Athletes at the 2020 Olympics May Be Punished for Protest," 9 Jan. 2020 General admission tickets can be purchased by visiting Individual tickets and family four packs will be available for purchase. Nominated athletes get to walk the red carpet and receive two complimentary tickets. Matthew Glenesk, Indianapolis Star, "Colts All-Pro LB Darius Leonard to be special guest speaker at 2020 IndyStar Sports Awards," 8 Jan. 2020 In many ways, athletes have more complicated physical challenges than actors. Vanessa Friedman, New York Times, "Even NASCAR Drivers Need a Stylist," 8 Jan. 2020 However, many critics disagree, including transgender athlete Chris Mosier. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "Tennessee bill would require transgender athletes to play as gender assigned as birth," 7 Jan. 2020 Jackson-Olin’s Quandarrius Robinson, another 2020 signee, is also a freakish, quick-twitch athlete expected to excel as a pass rusher. Josh Bean |, al, "5-star Alabama signee Chris Braswell confident about playing LB," 6 Jan. 2020

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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Time Traveler for athlete

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for athlete

Last Updated

12 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Athlete.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 January 2020.

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More Definitions for athlete


How to pronounce athlete (audio) How to pronounce athlete (audio)

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

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