An athlete is someone who trains for and competes in sporting events, as a professional or just for fun, like an athlete who bowls on a team, runs in local 5K races, or wins a gold medal at the Olympics.

The noun athlete comes from the Greek word athletes, meaning “contestant in the games.” Anyone who competes in sporting competitions can be called an athlete, but usually the term is reserved for people with a high level of dedication, skill and fitness. If your income comes from participating in your sport, you are a professional athlete.

Definitions of athlete

n a person trained to compete in sports

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Richard D. Fosbury
United States athlete who revolutionized the high jump by introducing the Fosbury flop in the 1968 Olympics (born in 1947)
Robert Bruce Mathias
United States athlete who won Olympic gold medals in the decathlon (born in 1930)
James Cleveland Owens
United States athlete and Black American whose success in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin outraged Hitler (1913-1980)
James Francis Thorpe
outstanding United States athlete (1888-1953)
Mildred Ella Didrikson Zaharias
outstanding United States athlete (1914-1956)
Henry Louis Aaron
United States professional baseball player who hit more home runs than Babe Ruth (born in 1934)
Arthur Robert Ashe
United States tennis player who was the first Black to win United States and English singles championships (1943-1993)
Sir Roger Gilbert Bannister
English runner who in 1954 became the first person to run a mile in less than four minutes (born in 1929)
Lawrence Peter Berra
United States baseball player (born 1925)
John Donald Budge
United States tennis player who in 1938 was the first to win the Australian and French and English and United States singles championship in the same year (1915-2000)
Maureen Catherine Connolly
United States tennis player who was the first woman to win the United States, British, French, and Australian championships in the same year (1953) (1934-1969)
James Scott Connors
outstanding United States tennis player (born in 1952)
Margaret Court
Australian woman tennis player who won many major championships (born in 1947)
Dwight Filley Davis
United States tennis player who donated the Davis Cup for international team tennis competition (1879-1945)
Joseph Paul DiMaggio
United States professional baseball player noted for his batting ability (1914-1999)
Gertrude Caroline Ederle
United States swimmer who in 1926 became the first woman to swim the English Channel (1906-2003)
Julius Winfield Erving
United States basketball forward (born in 1950)
Christine Marie Evert
United States tennis player who won women's singles titles in the United States and at Wimbledon (born in 1954)
Henry Louis Gehrig
baseball player who died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (1903-1941)
Althea Gibson
United States tennis player who was the first Black woman player to win all the major world singles titles (1927-2003)
Stephanie Graf
German tennis player who won seven women's singles titles at Wimbledon (born in 1969)
Wayne Gretzky
high-scoring Canadian ice-hockey player (born in 1961)
Sir Edmund Percival Hillary
New Zealand mountaineer who in 1953 first attained the summit of Mount Everest with his Sherpa guide Tenzing Norgay (born in 1919)
John Berry Hobbs
notable English cricketer (1882-1963)
Gordie Howe
Canadian hockey player who holds the record for playing the most games (born 1928)
Sir Leonard Hutton
English cricketer (1916-1990)
Billie Jean Moffitt King
United States woman tennis player (born in 1943)
Olga Korbut
Soviet gymnast (born in 1955)
Rodney George Laver
Australian tennis player who in 1962 was the second man to win the Australian and French and English and United States singles titles in the same year; in 1969 he repeated this feat (born in 1938)
Ivan Lendl
United States tennis player (born in Czechoslovakia) who won several singles championships; in 1992 he became a United States citizen (born in 1960)
Frederick Carleton Lewis
United States athlete who won gold medals at the Olympics for his skill in sprinting and jumping (born in 1961)
Mickey Charles Mantle
United States baseball player (1931-1997)
Willie Howard Mays Jr.
United States baseball player (born in 1931)
John Joseph McGraw
United States baseball player and manager (1873-1934)
Helen Newington Wills
United States tennis player who dominated women's tennis in the 1920s and 1930s (1905-1998)
Stanley Frank Musial
United States baseball player (born in 1920)
Martina Navratilova
United States tennis player (born in Czechoslovakia) who won nine Wimbledon women's singles championships (born in 1956)
Robert Orr
Canadian hockey player (born 1948)
Leroy Robert Paige
United States baseball player; a black pitcher noted for his longevity (1906-1982)
Oscar Palmer Robertson
United States basketball guard (born in 1938)
Jack Roosevelt Robinson
United States baseball player; first Black to play in the major leagues (1919-1972)
William Felton Russell
United States basketball center (born in 1934)
George Herman Ruth
United States professional baseball player famous for hitting home runs (1895-1948)
Monica Seles
United States tennis player (born in Yugoslavia in 1973)
Tenzing Norgay
Sherpa mountaineer guide who with Sir Edmund Hillary was one of the first to attain the summit of Mount Everest (1914-1986)
William Tatem Tilden Jr.
United States tennis player who dominated men's tennis in the 1920s (1893-1953)
Virginia Wade
English tennis player who won many women's singles titles (born in 1945)
John Walker
New Zealand runner who in 1975 became the first person to run a mile in less that 3 minutes and 50 seconds (born in 1952)
Theodore Samuel Williams
United States baseball player noted as a hitter (1918-2002)
Carl Yastrzemski
United States baseball player (born in 1939)
Danton True Young
United States baseball player and famous pitcher (1867-1955)
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an athlete who performs acts requiring skill and agility and coordination
an athlete who does not play for pay
ball hawk
a team athlete who is skilled at stealing or catching the ball
ballplayer, baseball player
an athlete who plays baseball
basketball player, basketeer, cager
an athlete who plays basketball
someone who climbs as a sport; especially someone who climbs mountains
an athlete who plays cricket
football player, footballer
an athlete who plays American football
an athlete who is skilled in gymnastics
hockey player, ice-hockey player
an athlete who plays hockey
(rugby) the player in the middle of the front row of the scrum who tries to capture the ball with the foot
an athlete who runs the hurdles
an athlete who competes at jumping
lacrosse player
an athlete who plays lacrosse
an athlete who has earned a letter in a school sport
an athlete who participates in the Olympic games
an athlete who competes in a pentathlon
pro, professional
an athlete who plays for pay
a trained athlete who competes in foot races
an athlete noted for accurate aim
shot putter
an athlete who competes in the shot put
someone who skates
someone who skis
someone who rides a sled
soccer player
an athlete who plays soccer
sport, sportsman, sportswoman
someone who engages in sports
a forward on a soccer team
reserve, second-stringer, substitute
an athlete who plays only when a starter on the team is replaced
a trained athlete who participates in swimming meets
someone who swings sports implements
tennis player
an athlete who plays tennis
pole jumper, pole vaulter, vaulter
an athlete who jumps over a high crossbar with the aid of a long pole
lifter, weightlifter
an athlete who lifts barbells
(sports) player in wing position
an acrobat who performs in the air (as on a rope or trapeze)
(football) a person who plays in the backfield
someone who swims the backstroke
an acrobat who balances himself in difficult positions
ball carrier, runner
(football) the player who is carrying (and trying to advance) the ball on an offensive play
base runner, runner
a baseball player on the team at bat who is on base (or attempting to reach a base)
batsman, batter, hitter, slugger
(baseball) a ballplayer who is batting
bench warmer
(sports) a substitute who seldom plays
a football player whose responsibility is to block players attempting to stop an offensive play
bounder, leaper
someone who bounds or leaps (as in competition)
a cricketer who delivers the ball to the batsman in cricket
someone who swims the breaststroke
(basketball) the person who plays center on a basketball team
(ice hockey) the person who plays center on a hockey team
circus acrobat
an acrobat who performs acrobatic feats in a circus
an acrobat able to twist into unusual positions
a defensive football player stationed outside the linebackers
diver, plunger
someone who dives (into water)
a basketball player who is dribbling the ball to advance it
a basketball player who is able to make dunk shots
someone who gains access by the use of ladders
fielder, fieldsman
a member of the cricket team that is fielding rather than batting
a member of the baseball team that is in the field instead of at bat
football hero
a football player who has achieved a reputation for success
the person who plays the position of forward in certain games, such as basketball, soccer, or hockey
free agent
(sports) a professional athlete who is free to sign a contract to play for any team
funambulist, tightrope walker
an acrobat who performs on a tightrope or slack rope
goalie, goalkeeper, goaltender, netkeeper, netminder
the soccer or hockey player assigned to protect the goal
the person who plays the position of guard on a basketball team
someone who hops
someone who engages in ice skating
a player who kicks the football
a cross-country skier
line backer, linebacker
a defensive football player who takes a position close behind the linemen
one of the players on the line of scrimmage
little leaguer
a player between 8 and 12 years of age who is a member of a little-league team
luger, slider
someone who races the luge
big leaguer, major leaguer
a member of a major-league baseball team
long-distance runner, marathon runner, marathoner, road runner
someone who participates in long-distance races (especially in marathons)
a runner in a one-mile race
bush leaguer, minor leaguer
a player on a minor-league baseball team
mountain climber, mountaineer
someone who climbs mountains
pinch hitter
(baseball) a substitute for the regular batter
hurler, pitcher, twirler
(baseball) the person who does the pitching
pass catcher, pass receiver, receiver
a football player who catches (or is supposed to catch) a forward pass
the tennis player who receives the serve
cragsman, rock climber
a climber of vertical rock faces
someone who engages in roller skating
semipro, semiprofessional
an athlete who plays for pay on a part-time basis
someone who skates on a skateboard
ski jumper
a skier who leaps through the air (especially on a ski jump)
a naked swimmer
outdoor man, sporting man
someone who enjoys outdoor activities
someone who runs a short distance at top speed
a football player who tackles the ball carrier
professional tennis player, tennis pro
someone who earns a living playing or teaching tennis
someone who rides a toboggan
a gymnast who performs rolls and somersaults and twists etc.
utility man
a baseball player valued for the ability to play at several positions
stands behind the wicket to catch balls
a hockey player stationed in a forward position on either side
Type of:
a person who participates in competitions

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