[am-uh-choor, -cher, -ter, am-uh-tur]
See more synonyms for amateur on
  1. a person who engages in a study, sport, or other activity for pleasure rather than for financial benefit or professional reasons.Compare professional.
  2. an athlete who has never competed for payment or for a monetary prize.
  3. a person inexperienced or unskilled in a particular activity: Hunting lions is not for amateurs.
  4. a person who admires something; devotee; fan: an amateur of the cinema.
  1. characteristic of or engaged in by an amateur; nonprofessional: an amateur painter; amateur tennis.

Origin of amateur

1775–85; < French, Middle French < Latin amātor lover, equivalent to amā- (stem of amāre to love) + -tor -tor, replaced by French -teur (< Latin -tōr-, oblique stem of -tor); see -eur
Related formspro·am·a·teur, adjective
Can be confusedamateur armature

Synonyms for amateur

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for amateur

Contemporary Examples of amateur

Historical Examples of amateur

  • All of which seemed very fascinating to the amateur in adventure.

    The Black Bag

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • One of them had the appearance of an amateur, the other was an artist, an engraver.

  • An amateur, however, is carried away by his desire for results.

    The Forest

    Stewart Edward White

  • People who live by an art always understand it better than an amateur.

  • Franklin went through life with the joyous inventiveness of the amateur.

British Dictionary definitions for amateur


  1. a person who engages in an activity, esp a sport, as a pastime rather than professionally or for gain
  2. an athlete or sportsman
  3. a person unskilled in or having only a superficial knowledge of a subject or activity
  4. a person who is fond of or admires something
  5. (modifier) consisting of or for amateursan amateur event
  1. amateurish; not professional or expertan amateur approach
Derived Formsamateurism, noun

Word Origin for amateur

C18: from French, from Latin amātor lover, from amāre to love
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

Word Origin and History for amateur

1784, "one who has a taste for (something)," from French amateur "lover of," from Latin amatorem (nominative amator) "lover," agent noun from amatus, past participle of amare "to love" (see Amy). Meaning "dabbler" (as opposed to professional) is from 1786. As an adjective, by 1838.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper