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[ath-let-ik] /æθˈlɛt ɪk/
physically active and strong; good at athletics or sports:
an athletic child.
of, like, or befitting an athlete.
of or relating to athletes; involving the use of physical skills or capabilities, as strength, agility, or stamina:
athletic sports; athletic training.
for athletics:
an athletic field.
Psychology. (of a physical type) having a sturdy build or well-proportioned body structure.
Compare asthenic (def 2), pyknic (def 1).
Origin of athletic
1595-1605; < Latin āthlēticus < Greek āthlētikós. See athlete, -ic
Related forms
athletically, adverb
[ath-let-uh-siz-uh m] /æθˈlɛt əˌsɪz əm/ (Show IPA),
nonathletic, adjective
nonathletically, adverb
quasi-athletic, adjective
quasi-athletically, adverb
unathletic, adjective
unathletically, adverb
Pronunciation note
See athlete. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for athletic
  • Neither of these sports require a large amount of athletic ability.
  • Sports engage the athletic ability of the participant.
  • At my large public university, the athletic programs are required to be self-sustaining.
  • Their comparative advantage lies in their athletic ability.
  • My lasting memory of this summer is more than an athletic accomplishment.
  • Those that have lived clean, athletic lives tend to get old and be clean and athletic.
  • But his athletic affiliation matters less than his track record.
  • Sixty years ago, the athletic cognoscenti held that running a four-minute mile was physically impossible.
  • Amateur athletic affairs are dull enough these days.
  • The athletic director did not respond to calls today.
British Dictionary definitions for athletic


physically fit or strong; muscular or active
of, relating to, or suitable for an athlete or for athletics
of or relating to a person with a muscular and well-proportioned body See also somatotype
Derived Forms
athletically, adverb
athleticism, 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
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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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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