ath·let·ics | \ath-ˈle-tiks, nonstandard ˌa-thə-ˈle- \

Definition of athletics 

1 : exercises, sports, or games engaged in by athletes

2 : the practice or principles of athletic activities

Examples of athletics in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

At the suggestion of a Nebraska athletics department staffer and with the help of a verse-a-day calendar, Frost has memorized at least one passage from each book of the Old and New Testament, and all of the Book of James. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "Quick recall and quicker offense at Scott Frost's Nebraska," 22 Apr. 2018 Replacing Rocky Rocky Harris leaving as ASU athletics chief operating officer in September to become USA Triathlon chief executive officer had a major impact behind the scenes this school year. Jeff Metcalfe, azcentral, "ASU finishes 2017-18 on the rise in AD Ray Anderson's fourth year," 8 June 2018 That way, a school would not be rewarded for waiting until the playoffs began to inform the athletics office of a violation. Eric Sondheimer,, "Verdugo Hills is headed to Dodger Stadium to play for City Section Division I championship," 1 June 2018 May 19 Entry fee: $60 at StemStep5K at Humboldt Park 1301 N. Humboldt Drive The fundraiser for community science, technology, engineering, math and athletics program is expected to draw 1,000 runners. Samantha Nelson, RedEye Chicago, "Your ultimate guide to Chicago race season," 23 Mar. 2018 At a presentation in February, district leaders said changing school start times would pose challenges to the athletics program. Mikaela Porter, Courant Community, "Final Presentation On West Hartford School Start Time Research Expected Tuesday," 1 May 2018 Likewise, a damaging scandal can wreak reputational harm that goes well beyond the athletics program. Ted Mitchell, Washington Post, "Higher education must clean out its ‘front porch’," 25 Apr. 2018 Can Michigan really be spending almost $4 million more on athletic scholarships than Montana spends on its entire athletics program? Steve Berkowitz, USA TODAY, "3 NCAA matchups between haves and have-nots," 14 Mar. 2018 After the first interaction, Bob reached out to the Providence athletics office to thank Cooley for taking the time to speak to Bobby. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Sussex boy has become 'good luck charm' for one NCAA Tournament-bound basketball program," 11 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'athletics.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of athletics

1738, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about athletics

Statistics for athletics

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for athletics

The first known use of athletics was in 1738

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for athletics



English Language Learners Definition of athletics

: sports, games, and exercises that require strength and skill : athletic activities


noun plural
ath·let·ics | \ath-ˈle-tiks \

Kids Definition of athletics

: games, sports, and exercises requiring strength, endurance, and skill

Hint: Athletics can be used as a singular or a plural in writing and speaking.
  • Athletics is an important part of their curriculum.
  • Athletics are helpful in staying fit.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on athletics

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


a state of commotion or excitement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!