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[ath-let-iks] /æθˈlɛt ɪks/
(usually used with a plural verb) athletic sports, as running, rowing, or boxing.
British. track-and-field events.
(usually used with a singular verb) the practice of athletic exercises; the principles of athletic training.
Origin of athletics
First recorded in 1595-1605; See origin at athletic, -ics
Pronunciation note
See athlete. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for athletics
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Walter hated books and studying, and athletics, too, for that matter.

    Alice Adams Booth Tarkington
  • It's the thing to be alive in athletics and a dub in everything else.

    The Harbor Ernest Poole
  • Rowing is now a form of athletics at every college where facilities permit.

    College Teaching Paul Klapper
  • He participated in every phase of school life and was devoted to athletics.

  • My son held that brain as well as muscle was needed in athletics.

British Dictionary definitions for athletics


noun (functioning as pl or singular)
  1. track and field events
  2. (as modifier): an athletics meeting
sports or exercises engaged in by athletes
the theory or practice of athletic activities and training
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for athletics

c.1730, from athletic; also see -ics. Probably formed on model of gymnastics.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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