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 Republican efforts to reduce taxes, limit some abortions, and fund additional roads and dams had little appeal to the new gentry classes on the coast. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "What Happened to California Republicans?," 14 Nov. 2019 One student was killed and eight others were injured in an attack on an English class at STEM School Highlands Ranch. Julie Bosman, New York Times, "Here’s a List of School Shootings in 2019," 14 Nov. 2019 But an introductory biology class, a university requirement, had an enduring impact. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "A love of insects and their microbial partners helped this biologist reveal secrets of symbiosis," 14 Nov. 2019 The work UW’s staff did to build the 2020 class – five scholarship players and one preferred walk-on – was remarkable. Ben Steele, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Badgers add 5 scholarship players; Golden Eagles sign 2 and hope to add more," 13 Nov. 2019 The cloud optimizer—and its massive ingestion of client telemetry—also gives Plume information about broad classes of device, identifiable by BSSID or MAC address, that have consistent problems of their own. Jim Salter, Ars Technica, "How does Plume get all these ISP partnerships? Open source software," 12 Nov. 2019 Working class characters are almost entirely absent, and all characters are white except for an occasional servant. Farah Mohammed, Quartzy, "“Succession” and the allure of the millionaire family drama," 12 Nov. 2019 Actually carving out the time to get out the door and onto the mat for class. Alexa Tucker, House Beautiful, "How to Create a Yoga Studio in Your House," 12 Nov. 2019 Outfits like Yogaqua, which holds classes in Marina del Rey and Ventura, California, as well as Vancouver, Canada, are popping up all across the continent. Outside Online, "Get Adventurous with Your Gifting This Year," 11 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb French authorities activated a heat wave alert plan, classing it as an Orange alert, the second-highest level of warning, France 24 reported. Fox News, "Heat wave threatens Notre Dame repair efforts as temperature records tumble across Europe," 24 July 2019 The town has nearly 85,000 people, roughly a third of them classed as foreign, with Morocco being the most common country of origin. Dominique Soguel, The Christian Science Monitor, "With rise of Vox, Europe's populist wave reaches Spanish shores," 29 Apr. 2019 Naturally, throughout the development of a sport, there will be figures whose roles in its progression will be classed a true innovators. Ben Carter,, "The 50 Greatest Football Managers of All Time," 20 Aug. 2019 About 13% of wards in the north-east are classed as left-behind, the country’s highest rate. The Economist, "A new index finds neglect in Britain’s banlieues," 5 Sep. 2019 Testimony from witnesses in the class said the demonstration that resulted in the fireball came as Poole was restarting the experiment for students who got to class late. Fox News, "Former NYC student awarded nearly $60M after chemistry experiment left him severely disfigured," 3 July 2019 But just a minute later, Valencia had taken the lead in what can probably be classed as an unlucky coincidence., "Chelsea 0-1 Valencia: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Barkley Blunder Ruins Champions League Return," 17 Sep. 2019 Tigers are classed as endangered by the World Wildlife Fund. Julia Hollingsworth, CNN, "Almost 150 tigers were rescued from a Thai temple. Now, over half are dead," 17 Sep. 2019 Lam said that only those involved in violence would potentially fall foul of Hong Kong's anti-rioting laws, backtracking from previous police statements suggesting the entire protest would be classed as a riot. Alexander Smith, NBC News, "Hong Kong leader issues 'sincere apology,' refuses to resign or withdraw bill," 18 June 2019

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

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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

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).


to speed up the process or progress of

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