[ dis-kuhs ]
/ ˈdɪs kəs /
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noun, plural dis·cus·es, dis·ci [dis-ahy]. /ˈdɪs aɪ/.
a circular disk more than 7 inches (18 centimeters) in diameter and 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram) in weight, usually wooden with a metal rim and thicker in the center than at the edge, for throwing for distance in athletic competition.
the sport of throwing this disk for distance.
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Origin of discus

First recorded in 1650–60; from Latin, from Greek dískos “a quoit, discus, disk,” derivative of diskeîn “to throw”


discus , discuss
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does discus mean?

A discus is the disk used in the track-and-field event known as discus or the discus throw—in which athletes compete to throw it as far as they can.

The plural can be discuses or disci (which follows the same pluralization pattern found in other Latin-derived words, like alumnus and its plural, alumni).

In competition, men typically use discuses that have a diameter of about 8.6 inches (22 cm) and weigh about 4.4 pounds (2 kg), while those used by women have a diameter of about 7 inches (18 cm) and weigh about 2.2 pounds (1 kg). They are usually made of wood with a metal rim.

Discus is one of the “field” events in track and field, which also include other events in which objects are thrown as far as possible, namely shot put and javelin. All three are events in the summer Olympic Games (the Summer Games) and are also events in the modern decathlon. Discus was one of the events in the ancient Greek Olympic Games.

Example: Discus is one of my favorite track-and-field events because it was part of the ancient Olympic Games. 

Where does discus come from?

The first records of the word discus in English come from the 1600s. It ultimately comes from the Greek verb diskeîn, meaning “to throw.”

The discus is one of the oldest known sports. It is mentioned in the ancient Greek epics the Iliad and the Odyssey, which are believed to have been written around the time that discus became an event in the ancient Olympic Games. It was one of the five events in the ancient version of the five-event competition known as the pentathlon. (It’s part of the modern decathlon but not the modern pentathlon.)

Discus has been included as an event in the modern Olympic Games (in the Summer Olympics) since the first Olympiad in 1896. It was added as one of the first women’s Olympic events in 1928.

In the late 1800s, future Olympic silver medalist Frantisek Janda-Suk developed a new throwing technique involving the spinning of the whole body—which is still in use today. A similar technique is used in shot put.

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What are some other forms related to discus?

  • discuses (plural)
  • disci (plural)

What are some synonyms for discus?

  • discus throw (in reference to the event)

What are some words that share a root or word element with discus

What are some words that often get used in discussing discus?

How is discus used in real life?

Most people are familiar with discus as a track-and-field event at the Summer Olympics. It was an event in the ancient Greek Olympic Games and is often used as a symbol of ancient sport.

Try using discus!

True or False?

In Olympic competition, the discus is usually thrown like a Frisbee.

How to use discus in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for discus

/ (ˈdɪskəs) /

noun plural discuses or disci (ˈdɪskaɪ)
(originally) a circular stone or plate used in throwing competitions by the ancient Greeks
  1. a similar disc-shaped object with a heavy middle thrown by athletes
  2. (as modifier)a discus thrower
the discus the event or sport of throwing the discus
a South American cichlid fish, Symphysodon discus, that has a compressed coloured body and is a popular aquarium fish

Word Origin for discus

C17: from Latin, from Greek diskos from dikein to throw
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

Medical definitions for discus

[ dĭskəs ]

n. pl. dis•ci (dĭskī′, dĭsī′)
A flat circular surface; a disk.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.