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 The Athlete of the Week, presented by TriHealth, occurs each week during high school sports seasons and recognizes athletes across all sports. Sierra Newton,, "Vote: Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky high school winter athletes of week, Feb. 3," 4 Feb. 2020 Iran’s admission of guilt on Jan. 11 sparked backlash from Iranian athletes, actors, and other popular figures as well as anti-government demonstrations by thousands of Iranian citizens. Tim Pearce, Washington Examiner, "Leaked recording shows Iran knew its missile hit Ukrainian passenger jet," 3 Feb. 2020 To a certain kind of athlete, that’s a reason for doing something normal people don’t do. Steve Rubenstein,, "Once was enough, says Oakland principal who rowed from Chile to Antarctica," 2 Feb. 2020 This may mean the Kangaroo is a female celebrity or athlete, going against all the male guesses. Leah Rocketto, Woman's Day, "Who Is The Kangaroo On 'The Masked Singer'? Fans Have A Few Thoughts," 31 Jan. 2020 Her ascension is true to the story of real American athletes, whose talents allow them (at the risk of exploitation) to rise from poverty. David Canfield,, "The Resisters and The Cactus League are great American baseball novels: Review," 31 Jan. 2020 Industrial athletes Nearly half of GM's plant injuries are strains and sprains. Jamie L. Lareau, Detroit Free Press, "This woman eyeballs GM workers, then helps them get fit," 31 Jan. 2020 That venue often is visited by the Valley’s pro athletes, who pose for photos and sign autographs for patrons. John Davis, azcentral, "End of the 'stampede' and other upgrades to greet patrons at Waste Management Phoenix Open," 27 Jan. 2020 This was one special athlete, husband, father and friend. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "The World Mourns the Death of NBA Legend Kobe Bryant," 26 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

9 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Athlete.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Feb. 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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