1 of 2


ac·​a·​dem·​ic ˌa-kə-ˈde-mik How to pronounce academic (audio)
variants or less commonly academical
: of, relating to, or associated with an academy or school especially of higher learning
the academic curriculum
academic courses
: of or relating to performance in courses of study
academic excellence
academic achievements
: very learned but inexperienced in practical matters
academic thinkers
: based on formal study especially at an institution of higher learning
her academic qualifications
: of or relating to literary or artistic rather than technical or professional studies
a region that has both academic and vocational high schools
: theoretical, speculative
a purely academic question
: having no practical or useful significance
: conforming to the traditions or rules of a school (as of literature or art) or an official academy : conventional
academic painting


2 of 2


: a member (such as a professor) of an institution of learning (such as a university)
Both of her parents are academics.
: a person who is academic in background, outlook, or methods
academics plural, chiefly US : academic subjects : courses of study taken at a school or college
He has no interest in academics.

Example Sentences

Adjective She received awards for her academic achievements. I spent my academic career at one school. The board set tough academic standards for graduation. He was offered a teaching job and decided to return to academic life. His interest in sailing is purely academic. He's not a sailor himself. He's not very academic, but he's good with his hands. Noun The book appeals to academics and to the general public. He only cares about sports. He has no interest in academics. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
This includes, of course, the standard measures on applications, such as the student’s academic program and record, intellectual talent and creativity, nonacademic achievement and leadership. Elizabeth Aries, Fortune, 3 Mar. 2023 Sections on weight management or weight-training mistakes unfurl as dispassionately as those on academic journals and aerobic conditioning. Lauren Michele Jackson, The New Yorker, 3 Mar. 2023 An academic study expected later this year could provide detailed insight into nursing home budgets. Jayme Fraser, USA TODAY, 3 Mar. 2023 And because the research focuses exclusively on human remains, not everyone is convinced the analysis shows that humans were riding horses specifically, despite long-standing academic association of the Yamnaya with horses. Meghan Bartels, Scientific American, 3 Mar. 2023 But the most important phase of canon building came in the 1980s and ’90s, a period that institutionalized Black American literature, securing it as a field of academic study. Adam Bradley Tajh Rust, New York Times, 3 Mar. 2023 The scholarly Cristina forged her path at a university in Mexico City, focusing on the sociology of feminism and impoverished communities, eventually landing an academic job in Houston. Hamilton Cain,, 2 Mar. 2023 Later, in the 1990s, this theory evolved into gender ideology under the influence of academic leftists. Madeleine Kearns, National Review, 2 Mar. 2023 Potential academic uses are being considered, the college said, but those plans haven't yet been finalized. Tom Daykin, Journal Sentinel, 2 Mar. 2023
Among those being held for ransom is an Australian academic, CNN affiliates Nine News and Seven News reported, citing Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape. Duarte Mendonca, CNN, 20 Feb. 2023 Frances Horwich was an obscure academic when her husband left Chicago to work for the military during the Korean War. Ron Grossman,, 14 May 2021 His mother, Zarin Musharraf, worked as an academic. Stephen Kinzer, New York Times, 5 Feb. 2023 But Hansen-Love’s semi-autobiographical script provides heart-wrenching glimpses of the empathetic academic within. Thomas Floyd, Washington Post, 31 Jan. 2023 More troubling was Kogan’s minimization of the academic ... Nr Editors, National Review, 25 Aug. 2022 Catherine Barnard, a British academic who specializes in employment law at the University of Cambridge, said Britain has the toughest striking laws in Europe. Karla Adam, Washington Post, 1 Feb. 2023 Before becoming an executive and investor, Wang was a foundational academic in cybersecurity. Bylucy Brewster, Fortune, 24 Jan. 2023 The former Texas Tech academic is one of nine individuals appointed to serve as a content advisor for the 2021-22 revision of social studies curriculum standards. Dallas News, 24 Jan. 2022 See More

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

Word History



borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French achademique, academique, borrowed from Latin Acadēmicus "of the school of Plato," borrowed from Greek Akadēmeikós, Akadēmaikós, from Akadḗmeia, a place where Plato taught + -ikos -ic entry 1 — more at academy


borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French academique, borrowed from Latin Acadēmicus, noun derivative of Acadēmicus, adjective — more at academic entry 1

First Known Use


1581, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1587, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of academic was in 1581

Dictionary Entries Near academic

Cite this Entry

“Academic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


: of or relating to school or college
: literary or general rather than technical
took the academic course
: having no practical importance : theoretical
an academic question

More from Merriam-Webster on academic

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

Love It or Hate It

  • heart-fire
  • When asked about her blind date, Carol spoke for hours with vitriol.
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?