Definition of Olympian in English:



  • 1Associated with Mount Olympus in north-eastern Greece, or with the Greek gods whose home was traditionally held to be there.

    ‘a temple of Olympian Zeus’
    • ‘Zeus is the god of the sky and ruler of the Olympian gods.’
    • ‘Further evidence for his radical theology lies in his appropriation of the names of the Olympian gods for his roots of matter and his cosmic forces.’
    • ‘I read in my book that in ancient Greece ivy was sacred to Dionysus, the Olympian vintner who was one of the gods.’
    • ‘These personal advisers were the alleged well-spring of Olympian justice, as Zeus meted out punishment with the same reckless abandon that he exercised in chasing his paramours.’
    • ‘The twelve Titans, children of Uranus and Gê, were the group of gods immediately preceding the Olympian gods in Greek mythology.’
    • ‘The peplos of ritual is the aegis of myth, Athena's impenetrable armour won in the battle of the Giants, those older, monstrous forces of chaos who threatened the orderly and just government of the Olympian gods.’
    • ‘Rather than go down in honor, this half-god Prometheus, in order to avoid further violence, had chosen to desert over to the Olympian forces.’
    • ‘At one end of the spectrum were the official cults of the emperor and the Capitoline Triad: Jupiter, Juno and Minerva, linked to other Olympian gods like Mars.’
    • ‘Athena, Apollo or Dionysus and the other Olympian deities were honoured all over Greece and with rituals specific to each city according to the particular emphasis of their cults.’
    • ‘That Olympian goddesses could be brought down to such a base level is just the kind of thing that Eris might find amusing.’
    • ‘The Olympian gods and goddesses in Greek and Roman mythology, on the other hand, do represent a static binary, and it is this false parallel regarding how the binaries function that Waldman contrasts.’
    • ‘It is as though the Olympian order had thrust the great Mother Goddesses of olden time into the background for the sole purpose of throwing the divine Korai into sharper relief.’
    • ‘The names come from two Olympian gods - Phevos, the Olympian god of light and music, also known as Apollo, and Athena - goddess of wisdom and patron of the city of Athens.’
    • ‘They find their laughter as sweet as nature's own elixir and their round, cherubic faces like heaping helpings of Olympian ambrosia.’
    • ‘The three brothers became the blacksmiths of the Olympian gods, creating Zeus' thunderbolts, Poseidon's trident.’
    • ‘Finally, just 7 kilometres away at the far end of the bay stood the mighty Greek temple to Hera, queen of the Olympian gods, sister and jealous wife of Zeus.’
    • ‘This challenged the accepted view of the stars as dead heroes placed in the firmament by the Olympian gods.’
    • ‘Imagine, if you will, that Achilles was dipped into the Olympian water of invulnerability by a god who dangled him from not from his heel but from his elbow and knee, which had been hog-tied together for the purpose.’
    • ‘Hecate was not an Olympian god but belonged to popular folk religion.’
    • ‘But he gains in confidence, building up to the Olympian ending as Apollo accepts his destiny, watched by the women who nurtured him.’
    1. 1.1 Resembling or appropriate to a god, especially in superiority and aloofness.
      ‘the court is capable of an Olympian impartiality’
      • ‘Ordinarily, of course, like every professional opinion-peddler, I approach all issues from a perspective of utter Olympian detachment.’
      • ‘What's surprising is how often judges - including many with Olympian reputations - have sounded off about legal questions and controversies.’
      • ‘As importantly, it reminded its readers that humans are animals, sharing in the redness of tooth and claw, and therefore not superior beings who can afford to view the animal kingdom with Olympian detachment.’
      • ‘Indeed, there is something willful and maddening in their tone of Olympian detachment.’
      • ‘They add with almost Olympian detachment that there ‘was some increase [in accidents] but not much since Railtrack was sold off in 1996’.’
      • ‘The programme concluded with Mozart's Symphony No. 41, the socalled Jupiter symphony, whose Olympian grandeur justifies its name.’
      • ‘When you're a kid, you imagine people on TV as Olympian figures.’
      • ‘His Olympian incorruptibility never rings true.’
      • ‘What's called for instead is an end to the myth of Olympian objectivity in the press.’
      • ‘Do the network news anchors of the big broadcast networks have to be Olympian figures?’
      • ‘He cultivated an image of Olympian detachment by scrupulously protecting the respective ranks and dignities of the grandees.’
      • ‘Indeed, the regulation should be extended to protect all jobs for which Olympian detachment from reality is an essential requirement.’
      • ‘Ministers can return a little more to Olympian detachment, coming down only for serious interviews, election campaigns and the like.’
      • ‘They regard an Olympian detachment from the concerns of most unionists as a mark of non-sectarian virtue and are happy for company in the wilderness.’
      • ‘Simmons' writing is distinguished not by its Olympian distance from sports but by its almost tender intimacy.’
      • ‘The Greeks could hold I think, opposite things together, usually at one end of their temples there was a statue of great Olympian calm, at the other of dark carnal struggle.’
      • ‘Justices are sometimes praised for ruling with Olympian detachment.’
      • ‘What's interesting is that this big solid newspaper office has this lone outpost of the Service Economy Stratum, an embassy of the economic world we write about with Olympian detachment.’
      • ‘Although the police received many complaints of fraud in the run-up to the election, their ‘attitude… could at the kindest be described as one of Olympian detachment’.’
      • ‘But, outside that charmed circle, we might observe that, although Wolfe speaks from an Olympian distance, it is hard to think of this as a mature view of the world.’
      aloof, distant, remote, stand-offish, unfriendly, unamiable, unaffable, uncongenial, unneighbourly, inhospitable, reclusive, solitary, misanthropic, uncommunicative, unforthcoming, reticent, withdrawn, cold, cool, chilly
      View synonyms
  • 2attributive Relating to the ancient or modern Olympic Games.

    ‘an Olympian champion’
    • ‘The German wife of the Australian Olympian has won two gold medals in the Olympian equestrian competition.’
    • ‘We've got the scoop on an Olympian edition of The Sports Factor.’
    • ‘Making an entrance befitting any Olympian athlete, Frances arrived in Emily Square in an open top vintage car, accompanied by her chauffeur for the night.’
    • ‘It was a send-off befitting any Olympian athlete.’
    • ‘Lavish donations outside Palestine established Herod as a benefactor on an empire-wide scale, as well as a flamboyant philhellene; the Olympian games and the city of Athens were among the beneficiaries.’
    • ‘Guest of honour on the night was the twice Olympian athlete, a race-walker who travelled all the way from Cork for the occasion.’
    • ‘Thus the locals put behind the disappointment of not able to witness the Olympian medallist in action.’
    • ‘Baseball might be right up with pentathlon and synchronised swimming among sports of dubious Olympian pedigree.’
    • ‘These are still early days for dress rehearsals, but this week's world rowing championships have already assumed an Olympian scale.’
    • ‘Special Olympian athletes from the Westport electoral area have been congratulated by members of the Westport Electoral Area Committee on their achievements.’
    • ‘So for any of those children born yesterday in Britain - the anticipated number is 1,800-can expect a track and field day out of Olympian magic.’
    • ‘In fact, she's a prodigal vocalist and junior Olympian gymnast, with a genius IQ.’
    • ‘The SHU is hosting an Olympian lunch at Peffermill to celebrate Scotland's former Olympic hockey players and coincide with the Finals.’
    • ‘It was just like my paintings: convex, present, just like those Olympian gymnasts.’


  • 1Any of the pantheon of twelve Greek gods regarded as living on Olympus.

    • ‘It's pretty much my own personal mythology ‘what if’ scenario, where the Olympians wake up one day and realize their children have usurped control of the collective unconscious.’
    • ‘They survived the war between the Titans and the Olympians and became servants of Zeus.’
    • ‘Polyphemus is one of the Cyclopes, and one of the only creatures born before the Titans, who was not killed by the Olympians.’
    • ‘Prometheus was a god from the old order, the Titans, who had now all been overthrown by a group of young upstarts, the Olympians - all, that is, except for Prometheus.’
    • ‘Besides the twelve Olympians, Demeter and Dionysios, the gods of wheat and wine, have a significant impact on the daily lives of mortals.’
    • ‘In consequence, the Olympians are a superhuman but disreputable warband: no place for an intellectual!’
    • ‘There is so much history bouncing off the hills above Lake Schinias that even giant Olympians are reduced to mere mortals.’
    • ‘The disposition of Olympians apparently follows genealogical principles, perhaps derived from allegorical interpretations of Homer and Hesiod developed by Crates of Mallus, a scholar resident at the Attalid court.’
    • ‘It is certainly possible that behind the rebellious Titan of Aeschylus there lurks an early Greek or Indo-European divinity, a benevolent demiurge, whom the Olympians supplanted.’
    • ‘Athena, intending to entertain the Olympians by playing the flute is mocked by the gods and retreats to Mount Ida to play alone.’
    • ‘The Twelve Olympians, in Greek mythology, were the principal gods of the Greek pantheon, residing atop Mount Olympus.’
    • ‘The Olympians - the mythical Greek Gods - were almost like a fantasy family firm of mobsters.’
    • ‘In Boucher, Olympians, dryads and shepherdesses are interchangeable.’
    • ‘The Olympians defeated the Titans in a battle - the Titanomachy.’
    • ‘Not only that, but depending on who you ask, Aphrodite isn't really an Olympian.’
    • ‘Greek Artemis, when she ‘fled to Egypt’ along with the rest of the Olympians, assumed the features of the cat-headed Bast.’
    • ‘A conflict of interest among the gods could lead to something similar to the war between the Olympians and the Titans.’
    • ‘In spite of being all-powerful, the Olympians weren't too savvy when it came to social functions.’
    • ‘This way, so Zeus believed, the king of the Olympians could deny the charge of infidelity leveled at him by his spiteful and jealous wife, Hera.’
    • ‘Who has thought to listen to the heart and mind of the Kore's Father, Zeus King of the Olympians?’
    1. 1.1 A person of great attainments or exalted position.
      • ‘As usual, Oliver is Olympian, measured, full of historical references, lovely style.’
      • ‘These men represent the Olympians of black business, having employed tens of thousands, achieved major milestones in commerce, and broken barriers for legions of African Americans.’
      great, hero, olympian
      View synonyms
  • 2A competitor in the Olympic Games.

    ‘as the greatest Olympian, he is something of a sporting god’
    • ‘He was a two-time Olympian, placing fourth in the 1964 Olympic Games.’
    • ‘We are fighting to support our Olympians and every Junior Olympian who came to Louisville this weekend.’
    • ‘Community Outreach Programs conducts the Rings of Gold nomination and award process as a way for Olympians to recognize the important individuals and organizations involved in their careers.’
    • ‘As an Olympian I know how special it is to earn the honor of representing the USA.’
    • ‘The U.S. women have seven Olympians on its roster, along with a solid set of not-so-newcomers who played a vital role in securing that Olympic berth and World Champ title over the summer.’
    • ‘Certainly, the few hundred club runners participating in the event didn't know they had a future Olympian lining up alongside them.’
    • ‘In ‘The Inside Edge’, the Olympians pass on their best training, nutritional and motivational tips.’
    • ‘In Los Angeles, one of the torch-bearers was 95-year-old Peter Clentzos, the oldest living Greek Olympian.’
    • ‘Each of the 110 first-quarter Olympians got a handsome, high-end quadrant (echoing the Citibank logo) with their name etched upon it.’
    • ‘Participating Olympians then join the stage and share their own personal experiences to motivate and inspire the audience, while health professionals lend credibility to their wellness message.’
    • ‘After a low-key arrival at the Johannesburg International Airport, the Olympians were loaded onto a convoy of buses for a ticker-tape parade through Greater Johannesburg Metro.’
    • ‘The mother of the Olympian said she was very proud of Gabriel.’
    • ‘The Fan Fest will be a chance to meet and greet present day Olympians, past Olympians and past Olympic Coaches in the 90 minutes before the start of each session.’
    • ‘This one was sealed by another of the United States’ returning Olympians.’
    • ‘Unlike able Olympians who are fêted with sponsorships from the corporate sector and promises of financial rewards if they win gold, Paralympians have to depend on their families and friends for financial support.’
    • ‘Aside from their astounding physical prowess, it is the Olympians ' mental muscles - and how they flex them - that really sets them apart from everyday athletes.’
    • ‘He reasoned, correctly, that to achieve his ambition of becoming an Olympian he would have to find an obscure sport in which there was a dearth of competitors.’
    • ‘As kids are growing up, especially those who aspire to be Olympians, what are they seeing?’
    • ‘He, an Olympian himself, initially supported Australia sending a team, but later, shifted from that position.’
    • ‘The team is a mix of age and experience with three newcomers and three experienced Olympians, all of whom have demonstrated their ability to medal in Athens.’


Late 15th century: Olympian (sense 1 of the adjective) from Latin Olympus (see Olympus) + -ian; Olympian (sense 2 of the adjective) from Olympia (see Olympia) + -an.