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

Extremely athletic and agile, Reese can handle the ball and averaged 3.1 assists as a sophomore for the No. Katherine Dunn,, "After missing cut for U.S. team, St. Frances star Angel Reese plans more hoops, closer look at big offers," 14 July 2018 In addition to Knox, second round pick Mitchell Robinson has looked intriguing as a freakishly athletic center flashing potential all over the floor. Andrew Sharp,, "Kevin Knox, Wendell Carter Jr., and Midsummer Hope for the Knicks and Bulls," 13 July 2018 On several recent occasions, the Mets have stated a desire to get younger and more athletic. James Wagner, New York Times, "Syndergaard Returns for Five Innings in Mets’ Win Over Nationals," 13 July 2018 Americans legally gambling on this weekend’s World Cup final and other athletic competitions primarily are doing so in person at a limited number of casinos. Chris Kirkham, WSJ, "States Weigh Bets on Mobile Sports Gambling," 13 July 2018 Soccer’s greatest show is a majestic mix of color and humanity and athletic excellence. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "Qatar is the World Cup every fan should attend," 13 July 2018 The athletic march, in Olympic style, also has been an event stable, taking place at SDCCU Stadium since 2004. Glae Thien,, "San Diego's Cal State Games turning 30," 12 July 2018 Read More Last man standing from Panthers' 'shop-hungry' draft knows what must happen next Breakout candidate Jackson is cocksure, versatile and athletic. Jourdan Rodrigue, charlotteobserver, "Most exciting position battle at Panthers' 2018 training camp fueled by competition," 11 July 2018 Then Jordan’s alleged connection to the Ohio State investigation into a former athletic doctor, Richard Strauss, who allegedly groped student-athletes across 14 sports, gave donors more reason to fill Garrett’s coffers. Tara Golshan, Vox, "Meet the Democrat trying to unseat scandal-plagued Rep. Jim Jordan in his heavily Republican district," 11 July 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

21 Oct 2018

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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Comments on athletic

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