decathlon

noun
de·​cath·​lon | \ di-ˈkath-lən How to pronounce decathlon (audio) , -ˌlän, -ˈka-thə-\

Definition of decathlon

: a 10-event athletic contest specifically : a composite contest that consists of the 100-meter, 400-meter, and 1500-meter runs, the 110-meter high hurdles, the javelin and discus throws, shot put, pole vault, high jump, and long jump

Keep scrolling for more

Did You Know?

Decathlon from deca- and athlon, "contest", means "ten contests". The ancient Greek Olympics held five-contest competitions, or pentathlons, that were based on the skills needed in battle. The modern Olympic decathlon, which was born in 1912, consists of the 100-meter run, 400-meter run, 1500-meter run, 110-meter high hurdles, javelin throw, discus throw, shot put, pole vault, high jump, and long jump. The original winner was the legendary Jim Thorpe, who would later be judged the greatest American athlete of the 20th century. And ever since, the Olympic decathlon winner has been called the finest all-around athlete in the world.

Examples of decathlon in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

But Boling developed knee pain that necessitated cutting back on field events, eliminating the punishing decathlon as a future endeavor. Tim Layden, SI.com, "Is High School Sprint Phenom and Viral Star Matthew Boling the Future of Track?," 19 June 2019 Some fitness entrepreneurs are going for the whole decathlon of contained group athletics. Katherine Rosman, New York Times, "The Boutique Fitness Boom," 17 June 2019 Stanford’s Harrison Williams wraps up second place in the NCAA decathlon; former Grant High runner Ella Donaghu of Stanford advances in the 1,500. oregonlive.com, "Ducks reach for trophy as men’s action concludes today at the NCAA Championships: Oregon track & field rundown," 7 June 2019 Houston Baptist's Denim Rogers finished seventh and Rice's Charlie Card-Childers was 12th in the men's decathlon. Joseph Duarte, Houston Chronicle, "Cougars women's team fall short of NCAA Outdoor Track and Field finals," 6 June 2019 Willamette's Keaton Beckmann places second in the Portland Twilight decathlon, moves into the top 20 on this year's Division III list. Ken Goe, OregonLive.com, "Oregon men, USC women favored heading into the Pac-12s: Oregon track & field rundown," 12 May 2018 Willamette's Keaton Beckmann grabs the first-day lead of the Portland Twilight decathlon. OregonLive.com, "Report suggests Hayward's east grandstand isn't in terrible shape: Oregon track & field rundown," 11 May 2018 As a young man, Stefan Schauffele was invited to train for the decathlon with the German team. Doug Ferguson, The Seattle Times, "Xander the Great: Schauffele joins golf’s rising generation," 7 Jan. 2019 Going at the decathlon with all my efforts should bring better results. Terry Monahan, Pomerado News, "RB’s Josh Farmer looks ahead to college career," 7 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'decathlon.' 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 decathlon

1910, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for decathlon

French décathlon, from déca- deca- + -athlon (as in pentathlon)

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about decathlon

Statistics for decathlon

Last Updated

24 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for decathlon

The first known use of decathlon was in 1910

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for decathlon

decathlon

noun

English Language Learners Definition of decathlon

: a sports contest for men that consists of 10 different events

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on decathlon

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with decathlon

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for decathlon

Britannica English: Translation of decathlon for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about decathlon

Comments on decathlon

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

WORD OF THE DAY

showing courage and determination

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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