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See more synonyms for athletic on Thesaurus.com
  1. physically active and strong; good at athletics or sports: an athletic child.
  2. of, like, or befitting an athlete.
  3. of or relating to athletes; involving the use of physical skills or capabilities, as strength, agility, or stamina: athletic sports; athletic training.
  4. for athletics: an athletic field.
  5. Psychology. (of a physical type) having a sturdy build or well-proportioned body structure.Compare asthenic(def 2), pyknic(def 1).
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Origin of athletic

1595–1605; < Latin āthlēticus < Greek āthlētikós. See athlete, -ic
Related formsath·let·i·cal·ly, adverbath·let·i·cism [ath-let-uh-siz-uh m] /æθˈlɛt əˌsɪz əm/, nounnon·ath·let·ic, adjectivenon·ath·let·i·cal·ly, adverbqua·si-ath·let·ic, adjectivequa·si-ath·let·i·cal·ly, adverbun·ath·let·ic, adjectiveun·ath·let·i·cal·ly, adverb

Pronunciation note

See athlete.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for athletic

vigorous, energetic, powerful, muscular, active, robust, strong, competitive, recreational, able-bodied, brawny, fit, lusty, strapping, sturdy, sporting, team, contesting

Examples from the Web for athletic

Contemporary Examples of athletic

Historical Examples of athletic

  • He was an athletic man, and the indolence of camp life did not suit him as it did Yates.

  • "Why, you've been made an honorary member of the athletic committee," Ned went on.

  • On their right and left pressed the men, an athletic, hearty, well-fed gang.

    Homeward Bound

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • It lacks the neatness, the athletic movement of Paine's English.

  • You never were in the athletic set, and so it is possible that you don't.

British Dictionary definitions for athletic


  1. physically fit or strong; muscular or active
  2. of, relating to, or suitable for an athlete or for athletics
  3. of or relating to a person with a muscular and well-proportioned bodySee also somatotype
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Derived Formsathletically, adverbathleticism, noun
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 athletic


1630s (athletical is from 1590s), "pertaining to an athlete," from Latin athleticus, from Greek athletikos, from athletes (see athlete). Meaning "strong of body; vigorous; lusty; robust" [Johnson, who spells it athletick] is from 1650s.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper