pentathlon

noun
pen·tath·lon | \pen-ˈtath-lən, -ˌlän, nonstandard -ˈta-thə-\

Definition of pentathlon 

: an athletic contest involving participation by each contestant in five different events especially : modern pentathlon

Keep scrolling for more

Did You Know?

The Greek word athlos means "contest or trial", so to be an athlete you had to compete in physical contests. The ancient Greek pentathlon tested warriors' skills in sprinting, long jumping, javelin throwing, discus throwing, and wrestling, none of which are part of today's Olympic pentathlon. But a pentathlete must still have muscles and reflexes suited to almost any kind of physical feat.

Examples of pentathlon in a Sentence

the winner of the Olympic pentathlon

Recent Examples on the Web

The pentathlon can be one of several combinations but is generally the 110 hurdles, long jump, shot put, high jump, and 1,500 for boys and men. Dearbea Walker, Philly.com, "Germantown Academy's Kyle Garland to compete in decathlon at under-20 world championships," 9 July 2018 Marshall's older sister, Amiyah Williams, showed her ability in the 13-14 year-old girls pentathlon and placed fifth. Alex Kushel, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Boynton track club trio blitz to top efforts at national meet," 7 July 2018 Playing against the University of Pittsburgh in 1911, the future Olympic gold medalist in both the decathlon and pentathlon blasted a long arching punt from near his own goal line. WSJ, "Five Best: Gordon Marino," 22 June 2018 Johnson was the runner-up in the pentathlon on Thursday, and leaped to a first in long jump (17-6) and placed second in the 100-meter hurdles (14.99) on Monday. Josh Schafer, BostonGlobe.com, "Woburn boys’, Sharon girls’ claim first titles," 29 May 2018 Henry, who won the 2018 Sun Belt Conference Outdoor high jump championship, set four school records (indoor high jump, indoor pentathlon, outdoor high jump, outdoor heptathlon) during the 2018 indoor and outdoor seasons. William Wilkerson, star-telegram, "Meet Alexus Henry, the first woman to ever win a national title at UTA," 11 June 2018 Anoush Krafian of Belmont won the girls’ pentathlon with 3,409 points, scoring first in the 100-meter hurdles, long jump and shot put. Josh Schafer, BostonGlobe.com, "Reading’s Haley Lightbody soars in pole vault," 25 May 2018 Last year, the 6-foot, 175-pound athlete placed 12th in the Massachusetts State Track Coaches Association pentathlon. Andrew Higginbottom, BostonGlobe.com, "In Brockton, a late bloomer hits his stride," 4 May 2018 Portland State's Kristen O'Handley places fourth in the Big Sky pentathlon; PSU's Donte Robinson has the first-day lead in the heptathlon. OregonLive.com, "How close can Portland's Amy Cragg come to winning in Tokyo? Oregon track & field rundown," 23 Feb. 2018

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

1603, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pentathlon

Greek, from penta- + athlon contest

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pentathlon

Share pentathlon

Statistics for pentathlon

Last Updated

21 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pentathlon

The first known use of pentathlon was in 1603

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for pentathlon

pentathlon

noun

English Language Learners Definition of pentathlon

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

pentathlon

noun
pen·tath·lon | \pen-ˈtath-lən, -ˌlän\

Kids Definition of pentathlon

: an athletic contest in which each person participates in five different events

More from Merriam-Webster on pentathlon

See words that rhyme with pentathlon

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about pentathlon

Comments on pentathlon

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to reject or criticize sharply

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?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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!