• IPA: /ˌækəˈdɛmɪk/


  1. Belonging to the school or philosophy of Plato [from late 16th century]
    the academic sect or philosophy
  2. Belonging to an academy or other higher institution of learning; also a scholarly society or organization. [from late 16th century]
    • academic courses - William Warburton
    • academical study - George Berkeley
  3. Theoretical or speculative; abstract; scholarly, literary or classical, in distinction to practical or vocational [from late 19th century]
    I have always had an academic interest in hacking.
  4. Having little practical use or value, as by being overly detailed, unengaging, or theoretical: having no practical importance.
    • 2018, US Government Accountability Office, "Decision, Matter of Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation", May 22, 2018
      As a general matter, we will not consider a protest where the issue presented has no practical consequences with regard to an existing federal government procurement, and thus is of purely academic interest.
  5. Having a love of or aptitude for learning.
    I'm more academic than athletic — I get lower marks in phys. ed. than in anything else.
  6. (art) Conforming to set rules and traditions; conventional; formalistic. [from late 19th century]
  7. So scholarly as to be unaware of the outside world; lacking in worldliness.
  8. Subscribing to the architectural standards of Vitruvius.
  9. Study of humanities topics rather than science and engineering.
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academic (plural academics)

  1. (usually, capitalized) A follower of Plato, a Platonist. [First attested in the mid 16th century.]
  2. A senior member of an academy, college, or university; a person who attends an academy; a person engaged in scholarly pursuits; one who is academic in practice. [First attested in the late 16th century.]
  3. A member of the Academy; an academician. [First attested in the mid 18th century.]
    • 1624, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], The Anatomy of Melancholy: […], 2nd edition, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Printed by John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, OCLC 54573970 ↗, partition II, section 4, member 2, subsection ii:
      Carneades the academick, when he was to write against Zeno the stoick, purged himself with hellebor first […].
  4. (archaic) A student in a college.
  5. (pluralonly) Academic dress; academicals. [First attested in the early 19th century.]
  6. (pluralonly) Academic studies. [First attested in the late 20th century.]
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