pen·​tath·​lon | \ pen-ˈtath-lən How to pronounce pentathlon (audio) , -ˌlän, nonstandard -ˈta-thə-\

Definition of pentathlon

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

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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

Right fielder Jim Thorpe, the 1912 Olympic decathlon and pentathlon champion, stepped to the plate. Mark Schmetzer,, "Top games in Cincinnati Reds history: No. 38 – A pitcher's duel for the ages in 1917," 12 June 2019 His preparation and dedication are pushing him to pentathlon glory. Andrew Higginbottom,, "In Brockton, a late bloomer hits his stride," 4 May 2018 There, Meiler took home an impressive seven medals in the 80-85 age division, including five golds (pole vault, pentathlon, high jump, hurdles, and the 4x200-meter relay) and two silvers (triple jump and long jump). Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "Meet Flo Filion Meiler, the 84-Year-Old Track and Field Athlete With Over 775 Medals," 26 Apr. 2019 On Thursday, the Hornets tallied 47 points between the pentathlon and pole vault events. Josh Schafer,, "Emotional victory for Stoughton’s David Peters in Division 3 outdoor track championship," 26 May 2018 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,, "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,, "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,, "Woburn boys’, Sharon girls’ claim first titles," 29 May 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.

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First Known Use of pentathlon

1603, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pentathlon

Greek, from penta- + athlon contest

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Statistics for pentathlon

Last Updated

29 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for pentathlon

The first known use of pentathlon was in 1603

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More Definitions for pentathlon



English Language Learners Definition of pentathlon

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


pen·​tath·​lon | \ pen-ˈtath-lən How to pronounce pentathlon (audio) , -ˌlän\

Kids Definition of pentathlon

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

More from Merriam-Webster on pentathlon

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pentathlon Encyclopedia article about pentathlon

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