noun, often attributive
col·lege | \ˈkä-lij \

Definition of college 

1 : a body of clergy living together and supported by a foundation

2 : a building used for an educational or religious purpose

3a : a self-governing constituent body of a university offering living quarters and sometimes instruction but not granting degrees Balliol and Magdalen Colleges at Oxford

called also residential college

b : a preparatory or high school

c : an independent institution of higher learning offering a course of general studies leading to a bachelor's degree a liberal arts college also : a university division offering this

d : a part of a university offering a specialized group of courses the university's college of pharmacy

e : an institution offering instruction usually in a professional, vocational, or technical field business college an embalming college

4 : company, group specifically : an organized body of persons engaged in a common pursuit or having common interests or duties a college of cardinals serving as papal councillors and electors

5a : a group of persons considered by law to be a unit

b : a body of electors — compare electoral college

6 : the faculty, students, or administration of a college The college was at the football game in force.

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Examples of college in a Sentence

She teaches art at a local college. He graduated from one of the country's best colleges. She attended a business college. He attended college for several years, but didn't graduate. She dropped out of college. I went to Mount Holyoke College. When I was a junior in college, I spent a semester in Spain. the Edinburgh College of Art the London College of Fashion She is attending fashion college.
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Recent Examples on the Web

If your college has a student health center, that’s the place to start. Houston Chronicle, "Hard-working college student strives to be more organized," 13 July 2018 The last Grand Slam semifinal contested between two players who attended college happened here at Wimbledon in 1996. Sandra Harwitt, USA TODAY, "While not always popular among fans, John Isner has aced his way to Wimbledon semis," 12 July 2018 Each school or college sets its own grade point average requirements. Michelle Mullins, Naperville Sun, "Naperville People in the News," 13 July 2018 While Prince George's godparents include a former staff member of the Cambridges, Prince Louis' godparents appear to have been drawn from close school and college friends, and family. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Who Are Prince Louis' Godparents? Here's Everything You Need to Know About Them," 9 July 2018 But writing is a real skill, and colleges should measure it. Naomi Schaefer Riley, WSJ, "Save the SAT Writing Test," 8 July 2018 Since 1980, whites and Asians have been overrepresented at the most selective colleges, while Latinos and blacks have been underrepresented, with the black student population essentially level during the past four decades. Richard J. Reddick, Fortune, "How Undoing Affirmative Action Hurts America's Colleges," 5 July 2018 Michael Domnitz, a fellow student at the time, remembers meeting Bobby and trying to persuade him that his identical double, a fellow named Eddy Galland, was enrolled at the college the previous year. J.r. Jones, Chicago Reader, "Triplets ripped from family in a Nazi-like experiment, probed in Three Identical Strangers," 5 July 2018 In the wake of SI's story and documentary on the late college QB Tyler Hilinski, the co-founder and CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation reacts and reflects. Chris Nowinski,, "A CTE Researcher Reflects on Tyler Hilinski's Suicide, Concussions and the Future of Football," 2 July 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for college

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin collegium society, from collega colleague — more at colleague

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Statistics for college

Last Updated

11 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for college

The first known use of college was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for college



English Language Learners Definition of college

: a school in the U.S. that you go to after high school : a school that offers courses leading to a degree (such as a bachelor's degree or an associate's degree)

: a part of an American university that offers courses in a specified subject

: a school in Britain that offers advanced training in a specified subject


col·lege | \ˈkä-lij \

Kids Definition of college

: a school that offers more advanced classes than a high school

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Comments on college

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


not any or not one

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