ath·​let·​ic ath-ˈle-tik How to pronounce athletic (audio)
ˌa-thə-ˈle- How to pronounce athletic (audio)
: of or relating to athletes or athletics
an athletic scholarship
athletic teams
athletic events
: characteristic of an athlete
athletic talent
a strong, athletic build
: vigorous, active
an athletic lifestyle
: active or gifted in sports, games, or exercises
He's not very athletic.
: used by athletes
athletic shoes/equipment
the school's athletic fields
athletically adverb

Example Sentences

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.
Recent Examples on the Web Vintage Cardigan Wearing a soft longline cardigan over your tennis skirt and workout tank takes your look from athletic to totally cozy. Hannah Oh,, 17 May 2023 In a Facebook post, Reed said he’s accepted a position as assistant principal and athletic director at East Oldham Middle School. Jason Frakes, The Courier-Journal, 16 May 2023 Tim Cook, the athletic director at the Western Brown school district, was voted to the Southwest District board for a term that lasts six years, expiring July 31, 2029. James Weber, The Enquirer, 16 May 2023 Whether that place remains in the Pac-12 or elsewhere is the question that has been facing the University of Oregon, its administration and athletic director for nearly 11 months and looms as the conference continues to negotiate a new media deal. oregonlive, 16 May 2023 West Aurora athletic director Jason Buckley confirmed Monday that Fowler had been hired to succeed Brian Johnson, who was let go in early March. Rick Armstrong, Chicago Tribune, 16 May 2023 With five teams scheduled to compete for regional championships, athletic director Ed DeVincent was prepared to make room in the school’s trophy case. Timothy Dashiell, Baltimore Sun, 15 May 2023 Loyola has won the Commissioner’s Cup as the top Southern Section athletic program 10 times. Eric Sondheimer, Los Angeles Times, 15 May 2023 Notables Nate Greene, assistant athletic director the past two years at Bishop Stang, and also boys’ soccer coach since 2018, will succeed Dennis Golden as AD at the Dartmouth school on July 1. Ethan Fuller,, 14 May 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'athletic.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


see athlete

First Known Use

1585, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of athletic was in 1585

Dictionary Entries Near athletic

Cite this Entry

“Athletic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


ath·​let·​ic ath-ˈlet-ik How to pronounce athletic (audio)
: of, relating to, or characteristic of athletes or athletics
athletically adverb

Medical Definition


ath·​let·​ic ath-ˈlet-ik How to pronounce athletic (audio)
: characterized by heavy frame, large chest, and powerful muscular development : mesomorphic
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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