Definition of athlete in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈaTHˌlēt/


1A person who is proficient in sports and other forms of physical exercise.
Example sentences
  • Big money comes more quickly for athletes in other sports than it does in boxing.
  • I have noticed in the last year or two a drop-off in the number of young athletes coming into the sport.
  • Although not a natural athlete, he could perform amazing physical feats.
sportsman, sportswoman, sportsperson;
1.1chiefly British A person who is skilled in competitive track and field events (athletics).
Example sentences
  • Any halfway competitive track athlete ought to be able to cover that in 20 seconds, tops.
  • Many local athletes competed in the North East's leading open meeting of the season.
  • Have a good week at work and best of luck to our athletes in the track and field events today!


Late Middle English: from Latin athleta, from Greek athlētēs, from athlein 'compete for a prize', from athlon 'prize'.

  • In Greek athlon meant ‘prize’, and the word athlētēs, from which we get athlete, literally meant ‘someone who competes for a prize’. It originally referred to one of the competitors in the physical exercises—such as running, leaping, boxing, and wrestling—that formed part of the public games in ancient Greece and Rome.

Words that rhyme with athlete

biathlete, decathlete, heptathlete, pentathlete, triathlete

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ath·lete

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