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[kal-uh s-then-iks] /ˌkæl əsˈθɛn ɪks/
(used with a plural verb) gymnastic exercises designed to develop physical health and vigor, usually performed with little or no special apparatus.
(used with a singular verb) the art, practice, or a session of such exercises.
Also, callisthenics.
Origin of calisthenics
1840-50; cali- (variant of calli-) + Greek sthén(os) strength + -ics
Related forms
calisthenic, calisthenical, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for calisthenics
  • Then he does calisthenics at the gym, followed by work with a strength and conditioning coach and sparring.
  • The workout began with calisthenics and rope jumping, he said.
  • They come to exercise a newly won right, doing calisthenics in a public spot.
  • One of these fights features strange calisthenics and unearthly shrieks.
  • Always warm up by walking or doing gentle calisthenics before doing intensive exercise or your back exercises.
  • The fast river made in-water warmup impossible, and the staging of athletes in pens made calisthenics impossible.
  • Muscle strengthening can be done with a weight program, heavy gardening, or push-ups and calisthenics.
  • Circuit training and calisthenics can also be considered for this phase.
  • Sailors did calisthenics, marched, and even played baseball and football.
British Dictionary definitions for calisthenics


a variant spelling (esp US) of callisthenics
Derived Forms
calisthenic, adjective


(functioning as pl) light exercises designed to promote general fitness, develop muscle tone, etc
(functioning as sing) the practice of callisthenic exercises
Derived Forms
callisthenic, calisthenic, adjective
Word Origin
C19: from calli- + Greek sthenos strength
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 calisthenics

1847 (calisthenic (adj.) is from 1839), formed on model of French callisthenie, from Latinized comb. form of Greek kallos "beauty" + sthenos "strength" + -ics. Originally, gymnastic exercises suitable for girls and meant to develop the figure and promote graceful movement. The proper Greek, if there was such a word in Greek, would have been *kallistheneia.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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calisthenics in Medicine

calisthenics cal·is·then·ics (kāl'ĭs-thěn'ĭks)
Gymnastic exercises, such as sit-ups, designed to develop muscular tone and promote physical fitness.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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