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.

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Each of the eight schools has already closed campuses and moved classes online for the semester. USA TODAY, "Testing robots, toilet paper thefts, legal fights: News from around our 50 states," 20 Mar. 2020 Albion had moved classes online through semester’s end, and everybody was packing up to leave campus. WSJ, "Dealing With The Coronavirus," 20 Mar. 2020 Here are six local gyms and instructors moving classes online. Azi Paybarah, New York Times, "Coronavirus in N.Y.C.: The Latest," 20 Mar. 2020 And education groups warn that moving classes online won't deliver equitable learning across states, school districts and even within classrooms. CBS News, "States scrapping standardized tests due to school closures face hurdles," 19 Mar. 2020 In the days since colleges across the country announced plans to close dorms and move classes online, current and former students have rallied around those displaced from campuses in response to the coronavirus. Lauren Lumpkin, Washington Post, "Strangers offer housing, meals to students displaced from campuses," 16 Mar. 2020 San Juan College, a community college that serves a large population of Native American students, had not yet moved classes online. Katie Reilly, Time, "As Schools Close Amid Coronavirus Concerns, the Digital Divide Leaves Some Students Behind," 15 Mar. 2020 Move classes online before your students get sick and infect their frail relatives. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "How Social Distancing Can Defeat Coronavirus," 13 Mar. 2020 The ability to move classes online ensures that everyone can continue to learn and, perhaps more important, get credit for learning. Los Angeles Times, "Column: Colleges are closing because of coronavirus so my kids are coming home. Help!," 13 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Instead of returning to class a week later on Monday, March 23, the university will offer online instruction for graduate and undergraduate students for the rest of the semester. Chevaz Clarke, CBS News, "Harvard tells students not to return after spring break as colleges across U.S. take action on coronavirus," 10 Mar. 2020 Starbucks, a small fry in the S&P 500, is the fifth-most popular stock with U.S. ESG funds classed as buyers of large companies. James Mackintosh, WSJ, "ESG Funds Mostly Track the Market," 23 Feb. 2020 The Republicans in Congress, long classed as unreasonable radicals, finally seem like moral heroes. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, "Did Lincoln Really Matter?," 3 Feb. 2020 Little girls wear Mary Janes and jumpers to class on the upper part of campus. Emma Green, The Atlantic, "The Christian Withdrawal Experiment," 12 Dec. 2019 There are certain movies — the recent Adam Sandler hit Uncut Gems is now popularly classed among them — that keep you under high stress until the credits roll. Mary Sollosi,, "Never Rarely Sometimes Always is never easy, always true: Sundance review," 29 Jan. 2020 Not only are the hues specific, (blue, yellow, lavender), but what deeply intrigues me is how specific color saturation is to mood and class hierarchy. Hillel Italie, USA TODAY, "Are new 'Great Gatsby' adaptations in our future? The classic's copyright is set to expire in 2021," 22 Jan. 2020 The unprecedented move means that the Duke of York will no longer be classed as a working royal unless the decision is reversed. Victoria Murphy, Town & Country, "Prince Andrew Is Stepping Back from Public Duties—Here's What That Means for the Royal Family," 21 Nov. 2019 High schools often have Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps programs in which students wear uniforms to class once a week and can earn credit for learning about science, leadership and fitness through a military framework. Tim Arango, New York Times, "Who Signs Up to Fight? Makeup of U.S. Recruits Shows Glaring Disparity," 10 Jan. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about class

Time Traveler for class

Time Traveler

The first known use of class was in 1583

See more words from the same year

Statistics for class

Last Updated

23 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Class.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Mar. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more



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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on class

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

March 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • field of crocuses
  • Which is a synonym of rectitudinous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!