se·​mes·​ter | \sə-ˈme-stər \

Definition of semester 

1 : either of the two usually 18-week periods of instruction into which an academic year is often divided

2 : a period of six months

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Other Words from semester

semestral \sə-​ˈme-​strəl \ or semestrial \sə-​ˈme-​strē-​əl \ adjective

Examples of semester in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

In 2017, enough students planned their study-abroad semesters around recruiting schedules that Boston College faced a housing crunch in the spring. WSJ, "Goldman, JPMorgan Hit Pause on Intern Recruiting ‘Madness’," 29 Oct. 2018 Students beginning their semester at MIT have reason to celebrate—the Massachusetts university was just named the number one school in the country. Sam Dangremond, Town & Country, "The 10 Best Colleges in America Are...," 27 Aug. 2018 Louisiana lawmakers are expected to consider a bill this week to prohibit hazing at colleges and require those schools to expel, suspend, or dismiss students who haze from school for at least one semester. Wilborn P. Nobles Iii,, "Bill to prohibit hazing at Louisiana's colleges advances to House," 30 Apr. 2018 This school year, the program served eight teen mothers during the first semester and is currently serving six, Jackson said. Sarah Freishtat, Aurora Beacon-News, "East Aurora to close high school day care program for teen parents," 19 Apr. 2018 Victoria was on a medical leave from school that semester and doing research projects, which gave her a little time to visit Shane’s farm and go with him to farmers’ markets over the summer. M.a.c. Lynch,, "Love Story: 'Two Old Souls' On A New Path," 1 Apr. 2018 The Norse ably defended their goal while being outmanned and outgunned by virtue of not having last season's graduating seniors, just one newcomer for spring semester and four field players off the bench. Patrick Brennan,, "Match report: FC Cincinnati downs NKU in preseason action, Nashville SC up next," 27 Feb. 2018 Lyles, a three-star recruit, initially signed with Shaka Smart and Virginia Commonwealth before transferring to Robert Morris, for only one semester. Katherine Fominykh,, "In 'uphill battle' to secure NBA roster spot, UMBC hero Jairus Lyles is still an underdog," 12 July 2018 Kane, another 7-footer, is not on campus this summer because of a transcript issue but aims to rejoin the Illini for the fall semester. Shannon Ryan,, "Illinois signs 7-foot graduate transfer Adonis De La Rosa from Kent State: report," 2 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'semester.' 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 semester

1827, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for semester

German, from Latin semestris half-yearly, from sex six + mensis month — more at six, moon

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Dictionary Entries near semester





semester hour



Statistics for semester

Last Updated

3 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for semester

The first known use of semester was in 1827

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More Definitions for semester



English Language Learners Definition of semester

: one of two usually 18-week periods that make up an academic year at a school or college


se·​mes·​ter | \sə-ˈme-stər \

Kids Definition of semester

: either of two terms that make up a school year

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More from Merriam-Webster on semester

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with semester

Spanish Central: Translation of semester

Nglish: Translation of semester for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of semester for Arabic Speakers

Comments on semester

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living or existing for a long time

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