med·​al | \ ˈme-dᵊl \

Definition of medal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a small usually metal object bearing a religious emblem or picture
2 : a piece of metal often resembling a coin and having a stamped design that is issued to commemorate a person or event or awarded for excellence or achievement


medaled also medalled; medaling also medalling\ ˈmed-​liŋ, ˈme-​dᵊl-​iŋ \

Definition of medal (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to win a medal medaled in figure skating

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Synonyms for medal

Synonyms: Noun

medallion, order

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Examples of medal in a Sentence


He was awarded a medal for his heroism. the display case held an impressive array of military medals from World War II


She medaled in figure skating in the Olympics.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Flanagan is a decorated runner at shorter distances, winning a silver medal in the 10,000 meters at the 2008 Olympics. Rachel Bachman, WSJ, "U.S. Strong, but Winners Speed Past in New York Marathon," 4 Nov. 2018 Failure to win a gold medal in Indonesia will likely mean that the 26-year-old Son will have to return to South Korea within the next two years to perform his national duty. John Duerden, The Seattle Times, "Son and co faced Vietnam and ‘Korean Hiddink’ at Asian Games," 27 Aug. 2018 Remigino won another gold medal in Helsinki in the 4x100-meter relay. New York Times, "Lindy Remigino, Olympic Champion Runner, Is Dead at 87," 12 July 2018 Even after bringing home an Olympic bronze medal and winning the World Championships, life doesn’t slow down for Miles Chamley-Watson. Michaela Bechler, Vogue, "Here, There, Everywhere: 34 Stars Who Continue to Shine on a Global Stage," 14 Aug. 2018 Yet for all of his goal-scoring prowess and athletic swagger, the Great Eight had never won an Olympic gold medal or a Stanley Cup title. Greg Beacham, Houston Chronicle, "Capitals defeat Golden Knights to earn first Stanley Cup in franchise history," 7 June 2018 Well, maybe he was born to win an Olympic medal and inspire millions of people around the country, but sure, born to do this show as well. The Washington Post,, "'Dancing with the Stars' recap: Adam Rippon is stunning, Tonya Harding on the brink of elimination," 1 May 2018 The glass is colored in stripes according to various campaign medals, from the blue and gray of the Civil War to the blue, yellow, red and white of the global war on terrorism. Julie V. Iovine., WSJ, "A Shrine to Honor Service," 24 Oct. 2018 Kurtz, who also has an Army Corpsman medal for his service, turned the items in to police. Travis Fedschun, Fox News, "Vietnam veteran reunited with lost Purple Heart, thanks to fellow veteran and his dog," 21 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Memorial girls medaled in all three relays, highlighted by silver in the medley from the team of Olivia Cone, Yasemin Bayanay, Hannah Kral and Gore. Jack Marrion, Houston Chronicle, "Memorial girls runner-up at 15-6A swim meet," 24 Jan. 2018 Hosszu won three gold medals in Rio after not medaling during the 2012 London Gamaes. Jenna West,, "Olympic Swimmer Katinka Hosszu and Hubsand-Coach Announce Split," 24 May 2018 Still, Nyjari kept medaling in national races, and her times earned state and national rankings. Katherine Dunn,, "Once a reluctant runner, Franklin's Nyjari McNeil enjoying record-setting career," 25 May 2018 Additionally, this victory is the very first time U.S. women have ever medaled in the sport. Tess Koman, Cosmopolitan, "These Cross-Country Skiers Just Made a Whole Lot of Olympic History in a Shocking Upset," 21 Feb. 2018 At 37 years and 333 days old on Saturday, Bjoergen was the second-oldest woman to ever medal in the team relay. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "Marit Bjoergen makes history with 13th career medal at 2018 Winter Olympics," 17 Feb. 2018 She had never medaled at regionals before, let alone win an event. Gary Curreri,, "Twisters gymnasts set to showcase their routines on the national stage," 28 Apr. 2018 Cinco Ranch won three girls relays, while Strake Jesuit medaled in five, both gaining enough points to win their divisions. Jack Marrion, Houston Chronicle, "Cinco Ranch, Strake Jesuit lead Bubba Fife Relays," 9 Mar. 2018 Canadian men have medaled in curling at every Olympics since the sport was reintroduced in 1998, and the team had won the last three golds. Jon Tayler,, "Friday's Olympic Digest: A Great Night for Russia, a Bad Day for Canada," 23 Feb. 2018

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


circa 1578, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1979, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for medal


Middle French medaille, from Old Italian medaglia coin worth half a denarius, medal, from Vulgar Latin *medalis half, alteration of Late Latin medialis middle, from Latin medius — more at mid

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Dictionary Entries near medal





medal bronze

medal chief


Statistics for medal

Last Updated

13 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for medal

The first known use of medal was circa 1578

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More Definitions for medal



English Language Learners Definition of medal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a piece of metal often in the form of a coin with designs and words in honor of a special event, a person, or an achievement



English Language Learners Definition of medal (Entry 2 of 2)

: to win a medal


med·​al | \ ˈme-dᵊl \

Kids Definition of medal

: a piece of metal often in the form of a coin with design and words in honor of a special event, a person, or an achievement

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More from Merriam-Webster on medal

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with medal

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for medal

Spanish Central: Translation of medal

Nglish: Translation of medal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of medal for Arabic Speakers

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