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 shows could be angry about injustices of class, race, gender, sexuality, and, often, beauty. Jackson Mchenry, Vulture, "With a big Netflix deal and the power to green-light almost anything, Ryan Murphy has become the ultimate insider. And his work is suffering.," 4 Jan. 2021 Who fled and who didn’t mostly divided along race and class lines. New York Times, "Coming Home," 1 Jan. 2021 Race, class, and gender are all on Ada’s mind, but the power structures where those things intersect occasionally get lost. Amy Pedulla,, "Gender fluidity upends a classic genre in Anna North’s ‘Outlawed’," 31 Dec. 2020 In other words, his is a message about race and class. Timothy Pratt, The New Republic, "Can Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock Make History?," 28 Dec. 2020 The series, the first on Netflix from executive produced by Shonda Rhimes, pushes back on traditional notions of class, race, gender and sexuality. David Oliver, USA TODAY, "What Netflix's buzzy 'Bridgerton' says about race: 'We wanted this show to reflect the world'," 28 Dec. 2020 The pandemic has caused disparate outcomes among the infected along lines of class, race, ethnicity, age and ZIP code, with people of color and low-income individuals tending to fare poorer than White people. Hallie Miller,, "Maryland adds 2,280 new coronavirus cases, 21 new deaths a day after Christmas," 26 Dec. 2020 Still Processing is a good podcast for people who like their pop culture news served with a touch of race, class and gender analysis. Eryn Mathewson, CNN, "These podcasts helped get us through some of 2020's most difficult conversations," 26 Dec. 2020 Historian Annelise Heinz’s examination of the game provides unexpected insights into race, gender, class, and leisure in modern America with particular relevance to Chinese-American heritage and Jewish-American women’s culture. Rachel King, Fortune, "21 books to look forward to in 2021," 26 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 On a normal school day, Brookfield resident Sarah Knowles would send her son Matthew to class at about 9 a.m. Evan Casey, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "How Wisconsin's Mother of the Year helped her disabled adult son when his school shut down over the pandemic," 30 Sep. 2020 The parents of the sixth student who tested positive for the virus that causes covid-19 sent him to class anyway, the mayor said. Jaclyn Peiser, Washington Post, "A Massachusetts teenager tested positive for the coronavirus. His parents sent him to school anyway.," 18 Sep. 2020 Since then, thousands of children and teachers have gone into quarantine, but most are going to class regularly and authorities have largely avoided shutting down whole schools. Adam Shaw, Fox News, "As US schools delay reopenings, Europe forges ahead with full in-person learning," 3 Sep. 2020 Campus visits will be limited to a school’s main office, so that means parents of new kindergartners cannot walk those youngsters to class on their first day. Leslie Postal,, "Here’s what Orange students can expect when they go back to campuses on Friday," 17 Aug. 2020 For children, walking to class with friends is fun. Dallas News, "It’s still ‘cool’ to live near school," 16 Aug. 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

11 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Class.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

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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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Comments on class

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