marathon

A marathon is a very long race that runners compete in — a 26 mile, 385 yard race, to be exact. When you're training for a marathon, you'll gradually increase the distance of your daily runs.

The word marathon has ancient legendary roots: it comes from a long journey taken on foot by the Greek messenger Pheidippides, from the battlefields of Marathon to Athens in 490 BCE. As the story goes, he ran without stopping, announced to the citizens of Athens, "We have won," and promptly died. The marathon was one of the original Olympics events, and its difficulty inspired the figurative meaning of "any difficult undertaking."

Definitions of marathon
  1. noun
    a foot race of 26 miles and 385 yards
    see moresee less
    type of:
    foot race, footrace, run
    a race run on foot
  2. noun
    any long and arduous undertaking
    synonyms: endurance contest
    see moresee less
    type of:
    labor, project, task, undertaking
    any piece of work that is undertaken or attempted
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

ACT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week