ac·​a·​dem·​ic | \ ˌa-kə-ˈde-mik How to pronounce academic (audio) \
variants: or less commonly academical \ ˌa-​kə-​ˈde-​mi-​kəl How to pronounce academic (audio) \

Definition of academic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : of, relating to, or associated with an academy or school especially of higher learning the academic curriculum academic courses
b : of or relating to performance in courses of study academic excellence academic achievements
c : very learned but inexperienced in practical matters academic thinkers
d : based on formal study especially at an institution of higher learning her academic qualifications
2 : of or relating to literary or artistic rather than technical or professional studies a region that has both academic and vocational high schools
3a : theoretical, speculative a purely academic question
b : having no practical or useful significance
4 : conforming to the traditions or rules of a school (as of literature or art) or an official academy : conventional academic painting



Definition of academic (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a member (such as a professor) of an institution of learning (such as a university) Both of her parents are academics.
b : a person who is academic in background, outlook, or methods
2 academics plural, chiefly US : academic subjects : courses of study taken at a school or college He has no interest in academics.

Synonyms & Antonyms for academic

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of academic in a Sentence

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The academic world has become more than an untapped market, it’s one of our core business lines. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 5 Jan. 2022 Students and faculty members at some academic institutions have also stepped up support of their Asian and Asian American colleagues. NBC News, 29 Dec. 2021 The views expressed here are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the Department of Veterans Affairs, or their academic institutions. Paul J. Joudrey And Adam J. Gordon, STAT, 25 Dec. 2021 Israeli researchers from the Health Ministry and several academic institutions presented data to the advisory team that made the recommendation for the fourth shot on Tuesday. New York Times, 23 Dec. 2021 The Artemis program also includes contributions from private companies like SpaceX, as well as academic research institutions like Georgia Tech. Kaitlin Mccallum,, 20 Dec. 2021 These are the conversations going on throughout government, in the private sector, at academic institutions, and in ordinary living rooms all over South Africa. Oumar Seydi, Fortune, 9 Dec. 2021 The museum and archive will facilitate research partnerships between the Caribbean’s University of the West Indies and academic institutions in the United States, reports Nadine White for the Independent. Livia Gershon, Smithsonian Magazine, 7 Dec. 2021 Both reached far beyond the academic world via popular writing and broadcasts. John Gribbin, WSJ, 19 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The nonprofit also has started working inside additional satellite locations across the city, helping more youth with the programming aimed to boost the region's number of Black academic, business and community leaders. Ryan Martin, The Indianapolis Star, 7 Dec. 2021 The hands-on program is designed to teach families how to use music to improve their child’s academic, motor, communication and social skills, as well as behavior. Carol Kovach, cleveland, 2 Nov. 2021 There were evocations of body parts both real (hair) and artificial (nails), with sculptures and molds that merged the academic, the clinical, and the grotesque. Amy Verner, Vogue, 28 Oct. 2021 At least, that’s how a boring academic like me would put it. Washington Post, 26 Nov. 2021 Olivia Colman plays Leda, a middle-aged academic who goes on a solo holiday to a Mediterranean island and develops an odd fixation on a glamorous young mother (Dakota Johnson). Jessica Kiang, Variety, 9 Oct. 2021 And in the middle of all of it is Prin, a Canadian academic and backsliding Catholic employed to oversee the project. Sam Sacks, WSJ, 8 Oct. 2021 Matthew Hedges, a British academic, was arrested in the U.A.E. in May 2018 and says he was held in solitary confinement, tortured and coerced into making a false confession. Dominic Dudley, Forbes, 1 Oct. 2021 There’s only one problem with the Democrats’ take on a 19th Century French academic’s prediction that when the people of a nation change, so do their politics. Philip Elliott, Time, 30 June 2021

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.

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First Known Use of academic


1581, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1587, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for academic


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

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Time Traveler for academic

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The first known use of academic was in 1581

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Last Updated

13 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Academic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for academic


ac·​a·​dem·​ic | \ ˌa-kə-ˈde-mik How to pronounce academic (audio) \

Kids Definition of academic

1 : of or relating to schools and education
2 : having no practical importance Your question of whether it's better to fly or drive is purely academic since we're not going anywhere.

Other Words from academic

academically \ -​mi-​kə-​lē \ adverb How is she doing academically?

More from Merriam-Webster on academic

Nglish: Translation of academic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of academic for Arabic Speakers


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