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

Unfortunately for Wildcats and Sun Devils, neither school can claim bragging rights this year over which sits above the other in the most high-profile college rankings. USA TODAY, "Animation behind bars, Elliott the elk, SkyStar: News from around our 50 states," 10 Sep. 2019 Students work alongside a team of highly-qualified trip leaders—college graduates with extensive experience in the field, who love working with students. National Geographic, "Photo, Film, and Multimedia Journalism at Nat Geo in Washington, D.C.," 10 Sep. 2019 And there are scores of other sessions related to health care, historically black colleges and universities, business, technology and climate change. NBC News, "Congressional Black Caucus meeting touts 2020 election agenda," 10 Sep. 2019 Jacobs was one of the seven players from Alabama high schools and colleges who played in the game: · Raiders place-kicker Daniel Carlson (Auburn) made all his kicks -- three extra points and a field goal. Mark Inabinett |, al, "Josh Jacobs duplicates Hall of Famer in NFL debut," 10 Sep. 2019 Rutschman, who won every individual honor available to a college player this year at Oregon State after winning the College World Series with the Beavers in 2018, has an idea of what a winning collection of players looks like. Jon Meoli,, "Orioles’ top pick Adley Rutschman’s first pro season is over. What did he learn in the past three months?," 10 Sep. 2019 And with the help of donors, the foundation awarded $16,000 worth of college scholarships over the past two years, Gamble said. Washington Post, "For this former NFL player’s foundation, a new focus on empowering Baltimore’s young women," 10 Sep. 2019 MacDougall inmates can take college classes or earn a GED, or complete any of the prison’s seven vocational programs that offer valuable carpentry, barber or electromechanical skills. Kelan Lyons,, "Prisoner population tumbles at maximum-security Northern Correctional Institution," 9 Sep. 2019 Now more colleges want to fuel that flow by discouraging students from using social media to over-engineer their choice of roommate. The Christian Science Monitor, "The power that remains when the hurricane leaves," 9 Sep. 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

13 Sep 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).


miscellaneous remnants or debris

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