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 class grew, up to 200 some nights, from across the country, Puerto Rico, Canada and India. Karina Bland, The Arizona Republic, "Art can bring people closer, even when they're far apart," 6 July 2020 Beginning in August, visitors can book a seat in a first-class car where they will be served North Carolina moonshine. Curtis Tate, USA TODAY, "It's 'all aboard' again for these scenic train rides after closing for coronavirus," 6 July 2020 Conversación en la catedral (1969), a novel about a young middle-class Peruvian man who gets involved in leftist politics, sits unread and fading on a windowsill. Andrew Altschul, The New York Review of Books, "Fiction and Responsibility," 6 July 2020 The Tide ranks 12th in the 247Sports composite for the 2020 class with the addition of Tchikou. Michael Casagrande |, al, "Breaking down the new-look Alabama basketball roster," 6 July 2020 Hours before the class gathering, Vu texted Karen Blodgett in a semi-panic. oregonlive, "Even a global pandemic couldn’t stop these Tigard teens from celebrating senior milestones," 6 July 2020 Regeneron’s drug, REGN-COV2, is among the most advanced in a class of medicines known as monoclonal antibodies being developed to treat Covid-19. Joseph Walker, WSJ, "Regeneron Advances Covid-19 Drug Into Later-Stage Testing," 6 July 2020 At the end of the fall semester, freshmen will go home and the senior class will return to campus. Kate Smith, CBS News, "Only 40% of Harvard undergrads will return to campus this fall," 6 July 2020 In fact, renderings that those attorneys say show the extent of the project actually were produced by four University of Kentucky students for a first-year graduate class in the College of Design, The Courier Journal found. Bailey Loosemore, The Courier-Journal, "'A false narrative': Louisville leaders scoff at gentrification claims in Breonna Taylor suit," 6 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Students at the University of Louisville this fall should brace for online finals and wearing masks to class every day, among other changes. Sarah Ladd, The Courier-Journal, "Masks, hybrid classes: What U of L's fall semester will look like amid the coronavirus," 23 June 2020 High school students might attend school on alternating weeks, and tune in to class virtually the rest of the time. Lori Higgins, Eleanore Catolico, Koby Levin, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit schools release draft plan of fall return — and it includes 3 possible scenarios," 9 June 2020 Yet under post-Brexit immigration rules due to take effect in January, a similar applicant would be turned down for a visa, since the job is classed as low-skilled. The Economist, "Labour market How post-Brexit immigration rules will exclude key workers," 16 May 2020 Because his symptoms weren’t classed as very severe, doctors told him to just go home and quarantine himself., "This Is What It Feels Like to Catch the Coronavirus," 12 May 2020 India's biggest and most economically-important cities — including New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai and Ahmedabad — will all be classed as red zones, infection hotspots, and kept under strict lockdown. NBC News, "The Week in Pictures: Lonely roads and the push to reopen," 4 May 2020 The other important change is that, for the first time, gig workers who are classed as self-employed will be able to apply for unemployment benefits. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, "The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly in the Two-Trillion-Dollar Stimulus," 26 Mar. 2020 The Rare Beer Club is the place to score bombers (750-ml bottles) of uncommon barrel-aged stouts, sours, and Belgian-style ales from all over the globe that will class up any connoisseur’s cellar. Tony Rehagen,, "Beer By Mail: The Hot Gift For Drinking Buddies Under Quarantine," 23 Apr. 2020 Well, the downsides include the haunting memory of the murder of Garrison’s wife and the eventual realization that his creator, Dr. Emil Harting (Guy Pearce, classing up the joint), can turn him off with a switch. Jake Coyle, Detroit Free Press, "‘Bloodshot’ has plenty of brawn, but lacks brains," 12 Mar. 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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Time Traveler for class

Time Traveler

The first known use of class was in 1583

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Statistics for class

Last Updated

9 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Class.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for class


How to pronounce class (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on class

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for class

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with class

Spanish Central: Translation of class

Nglish: Translation of class for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of class for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about class

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