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a person trained or gifted in exercises or contests involving physical agility, stamina, or strength; a participant in a sport, exercise, or game requiring physical skill.
Contemporary Examples

Richard Ben Cramer explores the abduction of Olympic athlete Kari Swenson and the indefatigable sheriff who hunted her abductor.
The Ballad of Johnny France Richard Ben Cramer January 11, 2014

Sports Illustrated wondered why any sportswriter would criticize an athlete for being too open and honest.
New York Times Attack on Olympic Athlete Lolo Jones Unfounded and Unfair David Roth August 6, 2012

If the boy is an athlete, there are all-too-often special efforts made to brush the problem under the rug.
Forced to Cheer for Her Attacker Jessica Bennett September 14, 2011

It was the Tiger March, the triumphant joy of an athlete, once so routine, who died young.
Tiger Woods Is Never Coming Back Buzz Bissinger April 13, 2011

In eight previous attempts with at least one athlete participating dating back to 1964, the country has never once podiumed.
India’s Olympic Mess: Why You Won’t See the Nation’s Flag in Sochi Kevin Fixler February 5, 2014

Historical Examples

He had the frame of an athlete; his face, with its luxuriant red-beard, resembled that of a lion.
Told by the Death’s Head Mr Jkai

The athlete was not so far off that she needed to call very loud.
Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald

Her beautiful childish face leans against the arm of the athlete and her hand rests on his neck.
Sielanka: An Idyll Henryk Sienkiewicz

A judge of men would have read him an athlete, perhaps in an unusual line.
The Flying Mercury Eleanor M. Ingram

A successful gladiator enjoyed far greater fame than any modern prize-fighter or athlete.
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 12, Slice 1 Various

a person trained to compete in sports or exercises involving physical strength, speed, or endurance
a person who has a natural aptitude for physical activities
(mainly Brit) a competitor in track and field events

early 15c., from Latin athleta “a wrestler, athlete, combatant in public games,” from Greek athletes “prizefighter, contestant in the games,” agent noun from athlein “to contest for a prize,” related to athlos “a contest” and athlon “a prize,” of unknown origin. Before 1750, usually in Latin form. In this sense, Old English had plegmann “play-man.” Athlete’s foot first recorded 1928, for an ailment that has been around much longer.


Read Also:

  • Athlete’s foot

    a contagious disease, caused by a fungus that thrives on moist surfaces; ringworm of the feet. noun a fungal infection of the skin of the foot, esp between the toes and on the soles Technical name tinea pedis athlete’s foot ath·lete’s foot (āth’lēts) n. A contagious fungal skin infection caused by a species of Trichophyton […]

  • Athlete’s heart

    nonpathological enlargement of the heart resulting from intensive aerobic exercise.

  • Athletic

    physically active and strong; good at or sports: an athletic child. of, like, or befitting an . of or relating to ; involving the use of physical skills or capabilities, as strength, agility, or stamina: athletic sports; athletic training. for : an athletic field. Psychology. (of a physical type) having a sturdy build or well-proportioned […]

  • Athletic heart

    nonpathological enlargement of the heart resulting from intensive aerobic exercise. athletic heart ath·let·ic heart (āth-lět’ĭk) n. Enlargement of the heart observed in some athletes.

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