Use the noun athletics to talk about sports, including team practice, games, and training. A serious baseball player might choose a college based on its athletics program.

In Britain, the word athletics specifically refers to track and field competitions, such as long-distance running, high jump, and javelin. In the US, you can use the word to talk about any kind of sporty activity. The noun athletics comes from the adjective athletic, based on the model of gymnastics. The Greek root is athletes, "prizefighter" or "contestant in the games."

Definitions of athletics

n an active diversion requiring physical exertion and competition

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funambulism, tightrope walking
walking on a tightrope or slack rope
rock climbing
the sport or pastime of scaling rock masses on mountain sides (especially with the help of ropes and special equipment)
contact sport
a sport that necessarily involves body contact between opposing players
field sport, outdoor sport
a sport that is played outdoors
gymnastic exercise, gymnastics
a sport that involves exercises intended to display strength and balance and agility
track and field
participating in athletic sports performed on a running track or on the field associated with it
a sport in which participants must travel on skis
aquatics, water sport
sports that involve bodies of water
row, rowing
the act of rowing as a sport
the sport of shooting arrows with a bow
the sport of riding on a sled or sleigh
the sport of gliding on skates
the sport of engaging in contests of speed
equitation, horseback riding, riding
the sport of siting on the back of a horse while controlling its movements
the sport of traveling on a bicycle or motorcycle
blood sport
sport that involves killing animals (especially hunting)
athletic game
a game involving athletic activity
a sport adapted from jujitsu (using principles of not resisting) and similar to wrestling; developed in Japan
spectator sport
a sport that many people find entertaining to watch
team sport
a sport that involves competition between teams of players
acrobatics, tumbling
the gymnastic moves of an acrobat
running, track
the act of participating in an athletic competition involving running on a track
the act of participating in an athletic competition in which you must jump
cross-country skiing
the sport of skiing across the countryside (rather than downhill)
ski jumping
the act of performing a jump on skis from a high ramp overhanging a snow covered slope
swim, swimming
the act of swimming
surfboarding, surfing, surfriding
the sport of riding a surfboard toward the shore on the crest of a wave
skiing on water while being towed by a motorboat
a stroke of the oar that either misses the water or digs too deeply
rowing by a single oarsman in a racing shell
boxing, fisticuffs, pugilism
fighting with the fists
riding on a long light sled with low handrails
riding on a bobsled
grappling, rassling, wrestling
the sport of hand-to-hand struggle between unarmed contestants who try to throw each other down
ice skating
skating on ice
roller skating
skating on wheels
the sport of skating on a skateboard
speed skating
competitive skating on speed skates (usually around an oval course)
auto racing, car racing
the sport of racing automobiles
boat racing
the sport of racing boats
camel racing
the sport of racing camels
greyhound racing
the sport of racing greyhounds
horse racing
the sport of racing horses
equestrian sport
a sport that tests horsemanship
a sport in which people ride across country on ponies
riding a bicycle
riding a motorcycle
dune cycling
bicycling or motorcycling on sand dunes
bullfighting, tauromachy
the activity at a bullfight
participation in the sport of matching gamecocks in a cockfight
hunt, hunting
the pursuit and killing or capture of wild animals regarded as a sport
fishing, sportfishing
the act of someone who fishes as a diversion
hockey, hockey game, ice hockey
a game played on an ice rink by two opposing teams of six skaters each who try to knock a flat round puck into the opponents' goal with angled sticks
a game with two players who use rackets to strike a ball that is tethered to the top of a pole; the object is to wrap the string around the pole
water polo
a game played in a swimming pool by two teams of swimmers who try to throw an inflated ball into the opponents' goal
outdoor game
an athletic game that is played outdoors
football, football game
any of various games played with a ball (round or oval) in which two teams try to kick or carry or propel the ball into each other's goal
court game
an athletic game played on a court
Type of:
diversion, recreation
an activity that diverts or amuses or stimulates

n participation in sports events as an extracurricular activity

Type of:
extracurricular activity
educational activities not falling within the scope of the regular curriculum

n a contest between athletes

athletic competition, athletic contest
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an athletic contest consisting of ten different events
Olympiad, Olympic Games, Olympics
the modern revival of the ancient games held once every 4 years in a selected country
Special Olympics
an athletic contest modeled after the Olympic Games but intended for mentally or physically handicapped persons
prelim, preliminary
a minor match preceding the main event
an athletic contest consisting of five different events
meet, sports meeting
a meeting at which a number of athletic contests are held
hop-step-and-jump, triple jump
an athletic contest in which a competitor must perform successively a hop and a step and a jump in continuous movement
a contest in which teams pull of opposite ends of a rope; the team dragged across a central line loses
Winter Olympic Games, Winter Olympics
an Olympics for winter sports
a meet at which riders and horses display a range of skills and aptitudes
race meeting
a regular occasion on which a number of horse races are held on the same track
a meeting for boat races
swim meet, swimming meet
a swimming competition between two or more teams
track meet
a track and field competition between two or more teams
Type of:
competition, contest
an occasion on which a winner is selected from among two or more contestants

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