noun, often attributive
\ ˈklas How to pronounce class (audio) \
plural classes

Definition of class

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a body of students meeting regularly to study the same subject Several students in the class are absent today.
b : the period during which such a body meets
c : a course of instruction is doing well in her algebra class
d : a body of students or alumni whose year of graduation is the same donated by the class of 1995
2a : a group sharing the same economic or social status the working class
b : social rank especially : high social rank the classes as opposed to the masses
c : high quality : elegance a hotel with class
3 : a group, set, or kind sharing common attributes: such as
a : a major category in biological taxonomy ranking above the order and below the phylum or division
b : a collection of adjacent and discrete or continuous values of a random variable
c : a collection of elements (such as numbers or points) : set sense 21
d : a property of a geometric curve that is equal to the number of tangents that can be drawn to it through any point not on the curve A curve is said to be of the nth degree or order when any right line meets it in n points and of the nth class when n tangents can be drawn to it through any assumed point.— George Salmon
4 : a division or rating based on grade or quality a class B movie
5 : the best of its kind the class of the league
6 : a data type in object-oriented programming that consists of a group of objects (see object entry 1 sense 6a) with the same properties and behaviors and that can be arranged in a hierarchy with other such data types


classed; classing; classes

Definition of class (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: classify She was classed as a part-time worker.

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Examples of class in a Sentence

Noun There are 20 students in the class. Several people in the class are absent today. This class is really difficult. He will be teaching an American history class next semester. The college offers classes in computer programming and engineering. She is taking a class on psychology. What classes are you taking this semester? I have an English class this morning. My class got out early today. I have already missed two classes. Verb I would class that suggestion as helpful, so let's make a note of it.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The suit, which seeks class-action status on behalf of anyone who bought the bites in Wisconsin, asks the court to make Kraft Heinz correct its packaging and for unspecified damages. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Lawsuit alleges cheese fraud in Bagel Bites Pizza Snacks," 26 Apr. 2021 Anticouni plans to go to mediation with the Four Seasons at the end of April to retrieve the money if the hotel agrees to treat the case as a class-action lawsuit. Mica Soellner, Washington Examiner, "Employees of luxury California hotel demand $6 million in separation pay," 24 Apr. 2021 Cruz is currently representing the plaintiffs in a class-action suit against heart valve maker Stonemore Medical, the same company that is believed to be behind his deceased wife's faulty heart valve. Rosy Cordero,, "Andy Garcia on that heart-stopping Rebel cliffhanger: 'There's a ticking time bomb in his soul'," 23 Apr. 2021 This is like the misdirection that the Biden Administration employed in an important class-action case. John Masslon, Forbes, "Administration’s Positional Flip-Flops In Supreme Court Go Largely Unnoticed," 20 Apr. 2021 Attorneys representing hundreds of patients of former UCLA gynecologist Dr. James M. Heaps on Tuesday urged other former patients to opt out of a $73-million class-action settlement before a May 6 deadline. Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times, "Class-action settlement against former UCLA gynecologist a ‘travesty,’ lawyers say," 20 Apr. 2021 Arbitration clauses are a key reason why class-action lawsuits might not be possible. Nerd Wallet, oregonlive, "How to file a complaint against your bank," 20 Apr. 2021 The class-action lawsuit was filed Thursday morning in federal court in Richmond on behalf of the plaintiffs by several legal aid groups and their pro bono partners. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Crowd record, ‘secret prom,’ demand drop: News from around our 50 states," 20 Apr. 2021 In San Francisco, brakes failed as some users were scootering down steep hills, leading to class-action lawsuits. John Seabrook, The New Yorker, "The E-Scooters Loved by Silicon Valley Roll Into New York," 19 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Smith, at the time, was entering his senior year at the University of Utah, majoring in economics and taking classes from Spencer’s grandpa, Kay Hunt, who would take Spencer to football and basketball games and sometimes bring him to class with him. Robert Gehrke, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Robert Gehrke: Not all of quarterback Alex Smith’s heroics were on the field. This one left a profound impression on one 9-year-old boy," 25 Apr. 2021 Brewers games, walking to class on Marquette's campus in fall ... Hannah Kirby, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Here are 23 things we love about Milwaukee in honor of its 175th year as a city," 14 Apr. 2021 With these different immigration histories come different relationships to education, to class to everything. Los Angeles Times, "Q&A: Two generations of Asian American activists on making the most of this moment," 24 Mar. 2021 The issue of when to return students to class on a full-time basis has been a contentious one, with many parents arguing there was no reason to delay reopening the schools. Karie Angell Luc,, "Elgin’s U-46 ready to bring all hybrid students back to school on a full-time basis starting April 7," 16 Mar. 2021 Contra its own intentions, the Up series stands as a monument to the importance of character in determining outcomes, not to class as destiny. Kyle Smith, National Review, "Farewell to a Non-Visionary Filmmaker," 11 Jan. 2021 And there’s nothing like a little wainscoting to class up a joint. Los Angeles Times, "Hot Property newsletter: A cross-country real estate trek," 19 Dec. 2020 This year, many schools, such as Clarksville Middle School and River Hill High School, are encouraging students to bring a family member to class with them virtually. Susan Soldavin,, "Modified for coronavirus pandemic, Girl Scout cookie time arrives in Howard County | Clarksville," 20 Nov. 2020 Mike Williams actually got to class early and caught a huge 29- yarder down to the 1 at the end of the half and then a perfect Herbert throw for a 24-yard score to open the second. Nick Canepa Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Nick Canepa’s Chargers report card: at Broncos," 1 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'class.' 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 class


1583, in the meaning defined at sense 3


1642, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for class

Noun and Verb

French classe, from Latin classis group called to military service, fleet, class; perhaps akin to Latin calare to call — more at low entry 3

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Statistics for class

Last Updated

29 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Class.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
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More Definitions for class



English Language Learners Definition of class

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a group of students who meet regularly to be taught a subject or activity
: a series of meetings in which students are taught a particular subject or activity : a course of instruction
: one of the meetings in which students are taught a particular subject or activity



English Language Learners Definition of class (Entry 2 of 2)

: to decide that (someone or something) belongs to a particular group


\ ˈklas How to pronounce class (audio) \

Kids Definition of class

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a group of students who are taught together regularly I'm the youngest in my class.
2 : one of the meetings of students being taught I'm late for class.
3 : a course of instruction a class in science
4 : a group of students who graduate together the senior class
5 : a group of people in a society who are at the same level of wealth or social status the working class
6 : a group of related living things (as plants or animals) that ranks above the order and below the phylum or division in scientific classification Birds and mammals form two separate classes in the animal kingdom.
7 : a category (as of goods or services) based on quality


classed; classing

Kids Definition of class (Entry 2 of 2)

: classify “… I cannot be classed with ordinary insects …”— L. Frank Baum, The Marvelous Land of Oz


noun, often attributive
\ ˈklas How to pronounce class (audio) \

Medical Definition of class

: a group, set, or kind marked by common attributes or a common attribute especially : a major category in biological taxonomy ranking above the order and below the phylum or division the class Mammalia

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Legal Definition of class

: a group of persons or things having characteristics in common: as
a : a group of persons who have some common relationship to a person making a will and are designated to receive a gift under the will but whose identities will not be determined until sometime in the future — see also class gift at gift
b : a group of securities (as stocks or bonds) having similar distinguishing features (as voting rights or priority of redemption)
c : a group whose members are represented in a class action
e : a group of crimes forming a category distinguished by a common characteristic (as the use of violence or the requirement for a maximum penalty) murder is a class A felony

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Comments on class

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