ath·​let·​ic | \ ath-ˈle-tik How to pronounce athletic (audio) , nonstandard ˌa-thə-ˈle- How to pronounce athletic (audio) \

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 \ ath-​ˈle-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce athletically (audio) \ adverb
athleticism \ ath-​ˈle-​tə-​ˌsi-​zəm How to pronounce athleticism (audio) \ 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

However, emails between Donna Heinel, who at the time was USC's senior associate athletic director, and Timothy Brunold, USC dean of admissions, appear to indicate families' past donations were impacting admissions decisions. Margaret Shuttleworth, CNN, "USC admissions officials considered family potential to donate money, court filings say," 4 Sep. 2019 Steve Fenk, an associate athletic director at Oregon State, is still waiting for word on where it will be aired. oregonlive, "Canzano: Oregon State-Hawaii football broadcast creates a storm of Pac-12 discussion," 4 Sep. 2019 The project to revamp the lounge took 19 days and about $1.5 million, according to U of L's athletic director Vince Tyra. Robert Rimpson, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville football's $1.5M upgrade to players' lounge features Lamar Jackson display," 4 Sep. 2019 Kelvin has amazing athletic ability for the position and is only going to get better with practice and more games. Marcus Gutierrez, Houston Chronicle, "Highly recruited Summer Creek tackle Banks makes first start," 3 Sep. 2019 The same was true of the university’s athletic director, Lynn Swann. New York Times, "U.S.C. and the Art of Skating on Thin Ice," 2 Sep. 2019 Rookie with the most upside: Receiver Preston Williams If Williams didn’t have some baggage, he likely would have been selected in early rounds of the draft because of his size, athletic ability and catch radius. Omar Kelly,, "Kelly: Here’s a look at the Miami Dolphins’ highs and lows from training camp and preseason | Commentary," 1 Sep. 2019 When Tim Novotny took over as athletic director at South Carroll, the boys soccer varsity coaching position was open for the first time in 11 years. Pat Stoetzer,, "Fall Sports Previews: 3 things to watch for boys soccer in 2019," 31 Aug. 2019 Lewis and Odom weren’t picked because of their athletic abilities, just as Spicer wasn’t picked for his ability to put words together. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "Opinion: 'Dancing with the Stars' on wrong foot with Ray Lewis, Lamar Odom and Sean Spicer," 21 Aug. 2019

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

17 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for athletic

The first known use of athletic was in 1585

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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 How to pronounce athletic (audio) \

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 How to pronounce athletic (audio) \

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for athletic

Spanish Central: Translation of athletic

Nglish: Translation of athletic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of athletic for Arabic Speakers

Comments on athletic

What made you want to look up athletic? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make a temporary encampment

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