1. One who participates in physical exercise or sports, especially in competitive events.
2. One possessing the requisite strength, agility, and endurance for success in sports: a natural athlete.
[Middle English, from Latin āthlēta, from Greek āthlētēs, contestant, from āthlein, to contend, possibly from āthlos, contest.]
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Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.