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 Basketball players and other winter college sports athletes could get a chance to have one more shining moment. James Crepea | The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "Oregon AD Rob Mullens 'certainly open to’ pausing eligibility clocks for winter athletes in 2020-21, NCAA decision to come today," 14 Oct. 2020 The coronavirus has prompted schools and conferences to postpone more than two dozen college football games and forced many teams to compete without key players. Editors, USA TODAY, "Trump heads to Iowa, Amy Coney Barrett confirmation hearings, Billboard Music Awards: 5 things to know Wednesday," 14 Oct. 2020 But Clemson, their recent personal nemesis, and Alabama, the dynasty of this era coached by arguably the best coach in college football history, would very likely await the Buckeyes in the playoff. Doug Lesmerises, cleveland, "How the Buckeyes could have the best season in Ohio State football history," 14 Oct. 2020 The college offers degrees and certifications across 17 programs of study. Trisha Powell Crain |, al, "Hoover school superintendent to be president of Gadsden State Community College," 14 Oct. 2020 Over time, Americans with college degrees will increase their share of the electorate. William A. Galston, WSJ, "Trump’s ‘Cross of Gold’ Moment," 13 Oct. 2020 Even with college residential life shifting as a result of coronavirus pandemic restrictions, the dating scene hasn’t stopped. Washington Post, "College students are still finding romance in a pandemic, through Zoom crushes and actual dates," 13 Oct. 2020 Inspired by acclaimed folk-blues guitarist Kelly Joe Phelps, Lake eventually quit college to lead a musician’s life in Portland for six years. Keith Spera,, "New Orleans guitarist Colin Lake's new 'Forces of Nature' CD follows his two years at sea," 13 Oct. 2020 This means addressing kitchen table expenses like prescription drugs, college, and childcare. Tom Perriello, Fortune, "How a Biden administration could reverse the four-decade decline of America’s working class," 13 Oct. 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

18 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“College.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Oct. 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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