noun, often attributive
col·​lege | \ ˈkä-lij How to pronounce college (audio) \

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 There is a lot to like about the Arizona State football program heading into the 2020 college football season. Jeremy Cluff, azcentral, "Should Herm Edwards' Arizona State football team be ranked to start the 2020 season?," 25 Mar. 2020 Advanced Placement has a powerful effect on U.S. high school curriculums by offering a chance for college credit if a student does well on an AP exam. Jay Mathews, Washington Post, "This year’s AP tests will be shorter and online, a gift to students and colleges," 25 Mar. 2020 Among women overall, Biden leads Trump 53% to 40% including overwhelming support among women of color 77% to 14% and support among white women with a college degree 63% to 33%. Caitlin Conant, CBS News, "2020 Daily Trail Markers: Coronavirus causes drop in Americans' view of economy," 24 Mar. 2020 The eighth player to earn AP All-America honors three times, Ionescu shattered the NCAA career triple-double mark (26) and became the first player in college history to have 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists. oregonlive, "Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu named AP women’s basketball player of the year," 24 Mar. 2020 Pass/fail: As colleges across the nation transition to online classes in response to the coronavirus pandemic, UC Berkeley is among a handful of schools moving to a pass-fail grading system. Taylor Kate Brown,, "Bay Briefing: The testing site where you don’t need a doctor’s note," 24 Mar. 2020 His college career Clinton-Dix played for Nick Saban at Alabama for three seasons. Dallas News, "10 things to know about new Cowboys safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, like why his nickname stuck," 23 Mar. 2020 The NBA Draft Combine is currently scheduled for May 21-24 and the deadline for college players to withdraw from the process and return to school is June 3. Louisville Courier Journal, "The canceled NCAA Tournament changed the outlook for several Louisville basketball players," 23 Mar. 2020 Definitely except some meltdowns from toddlers (and even college-aged students, and probably yourself). Hadley Mendelsohn, House Beautiful, "How to Optimize Your Space (and Prepare Your Kids) for Home-Schooling," 23 Mar. 2020

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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Time Traveler for college

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for college

Last Updated

28 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“College.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for college


How to pronounce college (audio)

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 How to pronounce college (audio) \

Kids Definition of college

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

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