ath·​let·​ic | \ ath-ˈle-tik , nonstandard ˌa-thə-ˈle- \

Definition of athletic

1 : of or relating to athletes or athletics an athletic scholarship athletic teams athletic events
2a : characteristic of an athlete athletic talent a strong, athletic build
b : vigorous, active an athletic lifestyle
c : active or gifted in sports, games, or exercises He's not very athletic.
3 : used by athletes athletic shoes/equipment the school's athletic fields

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Other Words from athletic

athletically \ -​ti-​k(ə-​)lē \ adverb
athleticism \ -​ˈle-​tə-​ˌsi-​zəm \ noun

Examples of athletic in a Sentence

They each received an athletic scholarship to the school. Students can get discount tickets for all athletic events. His athletic career spanned three decades. She has great athletic ability. She's tall and has an athletic build.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Brady added that his children seem to be following in his athletic footsteps, including his six-year-old daughter, Vivian. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Tom Brady Thanks Gisele Bündchen for "Sacrificing a Lot of Her Dreams" for Him," 5 Feb. 2019 Soon after the company launched a sport line, Linea Rossa, in 1997, the athletic influence made its way into the designer’s Spring 1999 women’s collection, which featured back- and fanny-packs as well as more utilitarian fabrics. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, "Vogue Runway Did a Ten-Year Fashion Challenge: Check Out the Results Here," 30 Jan. 2019 There's a spa and athletic club, and private dining rooms and entertaining spaces. Kaitlin Menza, House Beautiful, "The Most Expensive Home Ever Sold In The U.S. Is In 220 Central Park South," 24 Jan. 2019 Now the World Tennis Organization is reviewing the rules about rankings after maternity leave, simply because what seemed unlikely years ago, is now becoming common: Women are returning to their athletic careers after having children. Michelle Garcia, Vox, "Serena Williams, working mom hero," 11 July 2018 From his playing days at San Pasqual High, to San Diego State, and a high school varsity coaching career that spanned 17 years at Orange Glen and Mission Hills, baseball has been the focus of Putnam’s athletic career. John Maffei,, "New baseball coach, AD step in for stalwart at Mission Hills," 21 June 2018 After her athletic career, Rudolph bounced around the country in various teaching, coaching, and youth-development posts. Kate Siber, Outside Online, "How Wilma Rudolph Became the World’s Fastest Woman," 8 June 2018 Longboat gave up his athletic career in 1916 to join the Canadian forces serving in World War One. Ciara Nugent, Time, "Who Was Tom Longboat? Canada's 'Greatest Long-Distance Runner' Overcame Racism and Set Records," 4 June 2018 Over his storied athletic career, Anderson has broken his ankle and bruised his kidneys. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Holey Swiss: Man Breaks Record in British Downhill Cheese Race," 4 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'athletic.' 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 athletic

1585, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for athletic

see athlete

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Statistics for athletic

Last Updated

11 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for athletic

The first known use of athletic was in 1585

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More Definitions for athletic



English Language Learners Definition of athletic

: of or relating to athletes
: of or relating to sports, games, or exercises
: used by athletes : used during or for sports, games, or exercises


ath·​let·​ic | \ ath-ˈle-tik \

Kids Definition of athletic

1 : of, relating to, or characteristic of athletes or athletics an athletic event
2 : used by athletes athletic equipment
3 : active in sports or exercises She's very athletic.
4 : strong and muscular an athletic build


ath·​let·​ic | \ ath-ˈlet-ik \

Medical Definition of athletic

: characterized by heavy frame, large chest, and powerful muscular development : mesomorphic

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More from Merriam-Webster on athletic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with athletic

Spanish Central: Translation of athletic

Nglish: Translation of athletic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of athletic for Arabic Speakers

Comments on athletic

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