Etymology
Advertisement
contest (v.)

c. 1600, "fight or do battle for, strive to win or hold," from French contester "dispute, oppose," from Latin contestari (litem) "to call to witness, bring action," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see con-) + testari "to bear witness," from testis "a witness," (see testament).

The notion of the Latin compound is "calling witnesses" as the first step in a legal combat. Meaning "make a subject of contention or dispute, enter into competition for" is from 1610s. Sense of "to argue in opposition, call into question" is from 1660s. Related: Contestable; contested; contesting.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
athletic (adj.)
1630s (athletical is from 1590s), "pertaining to an athlete or to contests of physical strength," from Latin athleticus, from Greek athletikos, from athletes "contestant in the games" (see athlete). Meaning "strong of body; vigorous; lusty; robust" [Johnson, who spells it athletick] is from 1650s.
Related entries & more 
contest (n.)

"strife; struggle for victory or superiority; an amicable contest for a prize, etc.," 1640s, from contest (v.).

Related entries & more 
biathlon (n.)
"athletic contest in which participants ski and shoot," 1956, from bi- "two" + Greek athlon, literally "contest," but in this case abstracted from pentathlon.
Related entries & more 
coaching (n.)

1825, "the use of a coach as a public conveyance;" 1849 as "special instruction or training for an exam or an athletic contest;" verbal noun from coach (v.). 

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
tug (n.)
mid-14c., in reference to some part of a harness;" c. 1500 as "act of pulling or dragging," from tug (v.). Meaning "small, powerful vessel for towing other vessels" is recorded from 1817. Phrase tug of war (1670s) was originally figurative, "the decisive contest, the real struggle," from the noun in the sense "supreme effort, strenuous contest of forces" (1650s). As an actual athletic event, from 1876.
Related entries & more 
pentathlon (n.)

"athletic contest of five separate events involving the same competitors and all taking place on the same day," 1650s, from Greek pentathlon "the contest of five exercises," from pente "five" (from PIE root *penkwe- "five") + athlon "prize, contest," a word of uncertain origin. Earlier in English in Latin form pentathlum (1706). The Greek version consisted of jumping, sprinting, discus and spear throwing, and wrestling. The modern version (1912) consists of horseback riding, fencing, shooting, swimming, and cross-country running. Related: Pentathlete.

Related entries & more 
athletics (n.)
"art or practice of athletic games or exercises," c. 1730, from athletic; also see -ics. Probably formed on model of gymnastics.
Related entries & more 
jock (n.)
1952, short for jockstrap "supporter of the male genital organs," which also meant, in slang, "athletic male." Jock with the meaning "an athletic man" is from 1963, American English slang. A jockette (1948) originally was a female disk jockey, then a female jockey (1969), then an athletic female (1979).
Related entries & more 
discus (n.)

circular piece of stone or metal plate about 12 inches in diameter, pitched from a fixed spot the greatest possible distance as a gymnastic exercise and an athletic contest, 1650s, from Latin discus "discus, disk," from Greek diskos "disk, quoit, platter," related to dikein "to throw," which is perhaps from PIE *dik-skos-, from root *deik- "to show, pronounce solemnly; also in derivatives referring to the directing of words or objects" [Watkins]; but Beekes says dikein is of Pre-Greek origin. The notion is "to throw" as "to direct an object."

Related entries & more