acad·​e·​my | \ ə-ˈka-də-mē \
plural academies

Definition of academy

1a : a school usually above the elementary level especially : a private high school
b : a high school or college in which special subjects or skills are taught
c : higher education used with the the functions of the academy in modern society

2 capitalized

a : the school for advanced education founded by Plato
b : the philosophical doctrines associated with Plato's Academy
3 : a society of learned persons organized to advance art, science, or literature
4 : a body of established opinion widely accepted as authoritative in a particular field

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Synonyms for academy


academe, school, seminary

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Did You Know?

Our word academy comes from the Greek word Akademeia, the name of the park or grove outside of ancient Athens where the philosopher Plato taught his students. Just as schools and parks today are often named after famous persons, the Akademeia had been named in honor of a Greek hero, Akademos.

Examples of academy in a Sentence

an academy of the fine arts

Recent Examples on the Web

The man accused of carrying out the bombing of a police academy that killed 20 people here was identified by Colombian authorities as a longtime member of a Marxist rebel group whose guerrilla fighters operate along the porous border with Venezuela. Kejal Vyas, WSJ, "Colombia Pins Police Bombing on Marxist Rebels," 18 Jan. 2019 After an initial conversation, Nikias quickly convened a team from multiple schools to sketch out plans for the academy. Alex Bhattacharji, Town & Country, "Can USC Survive Scandal and Shed Its Spoiled-Kid Reputation Once and For All?," 10 July 2018 By Monday, when the next police academy starts, that number will jump to nearly 450, Thim said. Tegan Hanlon, Anchorage Daily News, "Anchorage School Board wants more police in schools," 16 June 2018 Topspin Opponents of a police academy planned for Chicago’s West Side again took their complaints directly to Mayor Rahm Emanuel this week by disrupting one of his appearances. Chicago Tribune Staff,, "Morning Spin: Activists opposed to new police academy disrupt Emanuel speech, video shows," 1 June 2018 The Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation announced a partnership with Energy Transfer Partners for the academy worth $1 million. Jeff Wilson, star-telegram, "Beltre won't play six more years to catch Colon. What about five more months?," 24 May 2018 The Police Department already has funding in its current $588.3 million budget to graduate 80 recruits from the police academy, which is expected by September. Dominic Fracassa, San Francisco Chronicle, "SF mayor proposes hiring hundreds of new police officers," 15 May 2018 The induction ceremony to the police academy was last week. Doug Criss, CNN, "Her police officer father died on 9/11, rescuing people. Now, she's joined the New York City police academy," 2 May 2018 The pseudonymous authorship proposal allows authors to manipulate the credit and blame systems of the academy in the name of academic freedom. Ars Technica, "The Journal of Controversial Ideas—academic freedom sans responsibility is reckless," 25 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'academy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of academy

1549, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for academy

in sense 2, borrowed from Latin Acadēmīa, borrowed from Greek Akadḗmeia, Akadēmía, from the name of the gymnasium near Athens where Plato taught, from Akádēmos, Attic mythological hero + -eia or -ia -y entry 2; in senses 1, 3, and 4 borrowed from French, Italian, & New Latin; French académie, borrowed from Italian & New Latin; Italian accademia, borrowed from New Latin academia, going back to Latin Acadēmīa

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Statistics for academy

Last Updated

17 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for academy

The first known use of academy was in 1549

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More Definitions for academy



English Language Learners Definition of academy

: a school that provides training in special subjects or skills
US : a private high school
: an organization of people who work to support art, science, or literature


acad·​e·​my | \ ə-ˈka-də-mē \
plural academies

Kids Definition of academy

1 : a private high school
2 : a high school or college where special subjects are taught a military academy
3 : an organization which supports art, science, or literature

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Comments on academy

What made you want to look up academy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a servile follower or underling

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