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

More than any other school, USC has been affected by the college admissions scandal. Joel Rubin, Los Angeles Times, "How many students cheated to get into USC? A look inside the admissions investigation," 16 July 2019 Technical colleges' importance was the emphasis of a visit to Waukesha County Technical College on July 15 by Wisconsin Lt. Alec Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Rising importance of technical college prompts local visit by Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes," 16 July 2019 Everyone from Oklahoma fans to national college football analysts left spring practice with no doubt former Alabama starter Jalen Hurts had won the Oklahoma quarterback job. Josh Bean |, al, "Jalen Hurts hasn’t won Oklahoma QB job yet, says Lincoln Riley," 16 July 2019 Shirley Elisabeth Moss stars as a famous horror writer, married to college professor Michael Stuhlbarg, who finds inspiration for her next book after a young couple — played by Odessa Young and Logan Lerman — move in with them. Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter, "Venice Film Fest: 20 Projects on the Short List," 15 July 2019 Ryan Leaf - the former quarterback who struggled in the NFL and battled personal problems, including a drug addiction that led to a prison sentence - has been hired by ESPN to call college football games and serve as a studio host on the network. Ben Strauss,, "ESPN hires Ryan Leaf as college football analyst," 15 July 2019 During the last two years of college, Abby worked on obtaining her private pilot's license, an intense, difficult and expensive process with about an 80% dropout rate. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Meet Abby, the 22-year-old who wants to be the first astronaut on Mars," 13 July 2019 However, general alumni opinion since the turn-down (and the cancellation of the college’s planned Fortieth Alumni Reunion Gala) has been running ten to one against the deplatforming. Nr Editors, National Review, "Letters," 11 July 2019 The high cost of college has also become a key issue in 2020, as a number of Democratic presidential candidates have advocated for a range of policy solutions. Tara Law, Time, "University of Texas-Austin Greatly Expands Its Free Tuition Program Assisting Low and Middle-Income Students," 11 July 2019

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

19 Jul 2019

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 How to pronounce college (audio) \

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).


characterized by aphorism

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