[uh-lim-pee-ad, oh-lim-]
noun (often lowercase)
  1. a period of four years reckoned from one celebration of the Olympic Games to the next, by which the Greeks computed time from 776 b.c.
  2. a celebration of the modern Olympic Games.

Origin of Olympiad

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin Olympiad-, stem of Olympias < Greek Olympiás noun use of the adj.: of Olympus. See Olympia, -ad1
Related formsO·lym·pi·ad·ic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for olympiad

Contemporary Examples of olympiad

Historical Examples of olympiad

British Dictionary definitions for olympiad


  1. a staging of the modern Olympic Games
  2. the four-year period between consecutive celebrations of the Olympic Games; a unit of ancient Greek chronology dating back to 776 bc
  3. an international contest in chess, bridge, etc
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 olympiad



late 14c., "period of four years" (between Olympic games), from Old French olimpiade "period of four years," from Latin Olympiadem, from Greek olympiados, genitive of Olympias (see Olympic). Used by ancient Greeks as a unit in computing time. Revived in modern usage with revival of the games, 1896.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper