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 Both women, who are recent high school graduates, head to college in their hometown at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville this fall, where students won't be required to get vaccinated. Ben Kesslen, NBC News, 24 July 2021 Regardless of what happens, Buium will go the University of Denver in the fall and play a college season. Kevin Reynolds Reporter, San Diego Union-Tribune, 23 July 2021 Football drives all these decisions, but football is near the bottom of what people are talking about as college football season begins to awaken. Doug Lesmerises, cleveland, 23 July 2021 Several Greater Cincinnati products have been named preseason All-Americans for the upcoming major college football season by Athlon Sports. James Weber, The Enquirer, 22 July 2021 Listen, these ears never again want to hear the commissioner of the Southeastern Conference quoting Bob Dylan at the beginning of college football season. Joseph Goodman |, al, 20 July 2021 King is returning to UM for his sixth college season after taking advantage of the extra year of eligibility the NCAA granted student athletes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Khobi Price,, 20 July 2021 But Avery, who went to college late in life and became an educator, also understood the wall’s power to teach. NBC news, 19 July 2021 His oldest son had been due to go to college in January, but the family could no longer afford it. Joe Parkinson, WSJ, 19 July 2021

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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Last Updated

27 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“College.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jul. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on college

Nglish: Translation of college for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of college for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about college


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