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 \ -​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce athletically (audio) \ adverb
athleticism \ -​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

But the biggest donor in school history, whose given millions to the athletic program, didn’t just make any Hall of Fame. Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, "Stephen Ross wants to keep politics out of sports. Too bad he's a hypocrite," 9 Aug. 2019 Williams was named athletic director in 2017, succeeding Craig Littlepage, who held the post for 16 years. Nick Anderson, Washington Post, "U-Va.: ‘Prospect’ of gifts to school appeared to drive recruitment of student-athletes," 9 Aug. 2019 Those key voices are the head coaches and athletic directors. Jon Wilner, The Denver Post, "Pac-12 matchups that could be candidates for morning kickoffs (plus a roundup of comments from head coaches)," 5 Aug. 2019 One of O’Brien’s first acts as interim athletic director was naming Brian Kallman as the Cadets’ new boys soccer coach. Jace Frederick, Twin Cities, "St. Thomas names football coach Dan O’Brien as interim AD," 30 July 2019 Father Ryan also has a very strong athletic program, and its head football coach, Bruce Lussier, was interested in a few students at Smithson Craighead. Nora Princiotti,, "Patriots rookie Joejuan Williams has come a long way to make it to the NFL," 23 July 2019 Press also presented the Stanford women with the Capital One Cup (given to the nation’s top men’s and women’s college athletic programs). Tom Fitzgerald,, "Christen Press: Support for equal-pay push for U.S. women’s players was ‘jaw-dropping’," 23 July 2019 The athletic program mostly finds success through individual sports such as tennis. James Weber,, "Gene Morrison, Covington Latin athletic director, teacher, coach dies at 64," 18 July 2019 In others, Singer, who goes by Rick, made donations to the athletic programs. New York Times, "Caught Up in the College Admissions Scandal: Stanford’s Boathouse," 17 July 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

12 Aug 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).


a period when something is suspended

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