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[ath-let-iks] /æθˈlɛt ɪks/
(usually used with a plural verb) athletic sports, as running, rowing, or boxing.
British. track-and-field events.
(usually used with a singular verb) the practice of athletic exercises; the principles of athletic training.
Origin of athletics
1595-1605; see athletic, -ics
Pronunciation note
See athlete. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for athletics
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Write a 500-word article on value of athletics to girls, giving proper method of dressing and naming activities most beneficial.

  • Walter hated books and studying, and athletics, too, for that matter.

    Alice Adams Booth Tarkington
  • Spunyarn had failed to catch the "tone," Latin verse was a closed book to him, but he stuck to athletics.

  • Rowing is now a form of athletics at every college where facilities permit.

    College Teaching Paul Klapper
  • Therefore, this gossip about the signal-stealing ability of the athletics has added to their natural strength.

    Pitching in a Pinch Christy Mathewson
British Dictionary definitions for athletics


noun (functioning as pl or singular)
  1. track and field events
  2. (as modifier): an athletics meeting
sports or exercises engaged in by athletes
the theory or practice of athletic activities and training
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 athletics

c.1730, from athletic; also see -ics. Probably formed on model of gymnastics.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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