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 But while the film is presented as a biopic of a climber coming to terms with their identity, Sabourin’s work as a coach and their own struggles as a professional athlete epitomize a human experience that anyone could understand. Shanti Lerner,, 14 Nov. 2021 Russell Westbrook is a phenomenal athlete and is practically a lock as a first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee. Los Angeles Times, 13 Nov. 2021 The Browns other defensive end, Jadeveon Clowney, also is a terrific athlete. Khari Thompsom,, 12 Nov. 2021 Kaelyn Franco is a longtime athlete who played soccer and softball in high school and continued with athletics in college. Julie Mazziotta,, 11 Nov. 2021 My first cousin, a professional athlete, is getting married. Washington Post, 5 Nov. 2021 Williams is the just latest former athlete who isn't a boxer to step into the ring. Scooby Axson, USA TODAY, 5 Nov. 2021 In some weird way, that’s one of the highest compliments a professional athlete can receive. Anthony Witrado, Forbes, 4 Nov. 2021 There was Aaron Gordon, who turned out to be a great athlete but not a great basketball player. Mike Bianchi,, 23 Oct. 2021

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

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Dictionary Entries Near athlete



athlete's foot

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Statistics for athlete

Last Updated

22 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Athlete.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 2021.

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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 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

More from Merriam-Webster on athlete

Nglish: Translation of athlete for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of athlete for Arabic Speakers


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