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From French acrobate, from Ancient Greek ἀκροβάτης (akrobátēs, walking on tiptoe, climbing aloft), from ἀκροβατέω (akrobatéō, I walk on tiptoe), from ἄκρον (ákron, highest or farthest point, mountain top, peak) + βαίνω (baínō, I walk, step).


  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈæk.ɹə.bæt/
  • (file)
Acrobats performing in China


acrobat (plural acrobats)

  1. An athlete who performs acts requiring skill, agility and coordination, often as part of a circus performance.
    Hyponyms: contortionist, tightrope walker, trapeze artist, tumbler

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acrobat (third-person singular simple present acrobats, present participle acrobating, simple past and past participle acrobated)

  1. To practise acrobatics.
    • 1861, Henry Mayhew, London Labour and the London Poor[1], volume 3, London: Griffin, Bohn, page 98:
      Tumbling is different from posturing, and means throwing summersets and walking on your hands; and acrobating means the two together []
    • 1882, “Floey and the Angels”, in The Quiver[2], volume 17, page 31:
      They seem to think as clowning and acrobating is a downright paradise, and comes as naturally to anybody as the measles.
    • 1914, Owen Johnson, chapter 21, in The Salamander[3], Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, page 317:
      Mother was teaching me the tight-rope; I’d learned a bit of acrobating, too.
    • 1988, Phyllis Newman, chapter 2, in Just In Time[4], New York: Simon and Schuster, page 32:
      The others were fairly hulking teenagers in terrible costumes and makeup, who tapped, acrobated, sang, recited, played saxoophones, and did bad magic []
  2. (figurative) To move like an acrobat (with agility, balance, long leaps, etc.).
    • 1856, Jonathan F. Kelley, “Ralph Waldo Emerson”, in Humors of Falconbridge,[5], Philadelphia: T.B.Peterson, page 155:
      We have known [] veteran reporters, so dumbfounded and confounded by the first fire of Ralph, and his grand and lofty acrobating in elocution, that they up, seized their hat and paper, and sloped, horrified at the prospect of an attempt to “take down” Mr. Emerson.
    • 1912, Leon Ray Livingston, chapter 2, in The Curse of Tramp Life[6], Cambridge: Springs, PA: The A-N. 1 Publishing Co, page 17:
      [] I laughed at the very idea of one of those heavy-pouched, blue-clad fellows catching hold of an agile fellow like I was, who had on more than one occasion acrobated from the engine’s tender back to the rear end of the caboose, by swinging and vaulting from truck to truck, underneath long freight trains running at top speed, with no member of the ever-alert train crew having discovered him.
    • 1952, Bernard Malamud, “Pre-Game”, in The Natural[7], New York: Dell, published 1965, page 8:
      He acrobated into a shirt, pulled up the pants of his good suit, arching to draw them high []
    • 1976, Edna O’Brien, chapter 6, in Mother Ireland,[8], New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, page 127:
      Here [in the stage show] was all the paraphernalia I longed for—slit skirts, suntanned thighs, boleros, sequins, saucy looks, legs askew and whole bevies of girls acrobating gracefully while covering their more pertinent parts with fans or gigantic powder puffs.
    • 2011, Bradford Morrow, “Gardener of Heart”, in The Uninnocent,[9], New York: Pegasus Books, page 31:
      the blood-red cardinal acrobating about in his holly bush




Borrowed from French acrobate.


acrobat m (plural acrobați, feminine equivalent acrobată)

  1. acrobat