I would like to know how "academical" compare to "academic", and, since we're here, how they both compare to "scholar".

Also, there are two adjectives ("academic" and "academical") but only one adverb ("academically"), right? Is there an adverb derived from "scholar", such as "scholarly"? If yes, how do these two adverbs relate and differ?

Thank you very much in advance.

  • Good question, but we hope for some basic dictionary research in order to give a more focused answer, and also so we don't just duplicate what a dictionary would tell you. So as for academic vs. scholar, if the definitions weren't helpful, some examples using the words in question (for context) would be helpful to narrow down the actual meanings. Adjective, adverb and such parts of speech should be researched in a dictionary. If more help in understanding is needed, write what the specific problem is.
    – user3169
    Aug 25, 2018 at 23:50

2 Answers 2


The standard adjective is academic and the standard adverb is academically in contemporary English. The noun for a person who teaches at a university, besides the word professor, is academic.

A scholar and an academic can sometimes be used interchangeably. The difference is this: One can be a scholar and not necessarily associated with teaching at a university. If you have a Phd and publish in your field, you can be a scholar but not necessarily an academic (teaching).

Academical is not something one sees in most texts. And it also means something in philosophy.

For example: Merriam Webster:

academic adjective ac·a·dem·ic \ ˌa-kə-ˈde-mik \ variants: or less commonly academical \ˌa-kə-ˈde-mi-kəl\ Popularity: Top 20% of words |Updated on: 14 Aug 2018

  • That difference between scholar and academic is very welcome. This is what I wanted to know. Dictionaries don't seem to bring this up. Could you only please tell me how does "academical" sound if I use it instead of academic? Is it awkward, weird or negative in any way, or simply uncommon but equally reasonable and meaningful? (Also: how do "academically" and "scholarly" relate, please?)
    – ASR
    Aug 28, 2018 at 14:40
  • scholar is to scholarly as academic is to academically. I recommend forgetting about "academical".
    – Lambie
    Aug 28, 2018 at 15:49

'scholar' and 'academic' are, indeed, linked, in the context of the old governance rules and laws associated with the older universities, which, for various romantic reasons liked to model themselves on the Academy of Plato (literally "the garden or grove of Akademos) where Plato taught in a public garden (as Plato went into or out of fashion, the idea of the 'Academy' became more or less fashionable, as did the 'Lyceum' of Aristotle); however, if you ARE an academic (tenured professor, under-professor, etc) you will argue that 'academic' and 'scholar' are only related in terms of location as scholar (from Old English 'scolere', means a student of something) is somebody in the mode of learning (from somebody) and an academic is in the mode of teaching somebody.

'Academic' and 'academical' (again with reference to Plato) are different but linked. 'Academical' is a word referencing a description of something related to the PLACE OF LEARNING, while 'academic' describes something relating to what is taught formally. ("academical' relating to the "Academy" or place of learning; 'academic' relating to what is taught in the place of learning).

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