• synonyms


[ dih-kath-lon ]
/ dɪˈkæθ lɒn /


an athletic contest comprising ten different track-and-field events and won by the contestant amassing the highest total score.

Nearby words

decasualize, decasyllabic, decasyllable, decathect, decathlete, decathlon, decating, decatur, decatur, stephen, decatyl alcohol, decay

Origin of decathlon

1910–15; dec- + Greek âthlon prize, contest Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for decathlon

  • "I did ask Ashton Eaton to come out," the driver of USA-1 said of the 2012 Olympic decathlon gold medalist, who declined.

    Is It Really That Easy to be an Olympic Bobsledder?|Kevin Fixler|January 17, 2014|DAILY BEAST
  • Dylan Bright died too young to compete in the Decathlon of Flourishing.

  • One example among several: his time in the decathlon 1,500-meter run—4 minutes 40.1 seconds—was not beaten until the 1972 Games.

  • There were five events in the Pentathlon and ten in the Decathlon.

British Dictionary definitions for decathlon


/ (dɪˈkæθlɒn) /


an athletic contest for men in which each athlete competes in ten different eventsCompare pentathlon
Derived Formsdecathlete, noun

Word Origin for decathlon

C20: from deca- + Greek athlon contest, prize; see athlete
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 decathlon



1912, from deca "ten" (see ten) + Greek athlon "contest, prize," of uncertain origin. A modern Olympic event consisting of 10 challenges.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper