se·​mes·​ter | \ sə-ˈme-stər How to pronounce semester (audio) \

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 How to pronounce semester (audio) \ or semestrial \ sə-​ˈme-​strē-​əl How to pronounce semester (audio) \ adjective

Examples of semester in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Officials also scattered mental health days throughout the semester, when classes are canceled and professors are discouraged from assigning work. Lauren Lumpkin, Anchorage Daily News, "A mental health crisis was unraveling on college campuses, and the pandemic has made it worse," 31 Mar. 2021 Although the spread of the coronavirus at Clemson University has remained low throughout the spring semester, many fear that with students returning from spring break and the state’s COVID-19 restrictions mostly lifted, a surge could be on the way. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Tulips in bloom, Vegas bustling, Blackfeet Nation: News from around our 50 states," 24 Mar. 2021 The semester-long position is selected through an application and interview process by senior leadership and the commandant’s staff. Fox News, "Sydney Barber: What to know about the US Naval Academy's first Black female brigade commander," 24 Mar. 2021 Others have cut spring break entirely from their calendars, choosing instead to spread individual days off throughout the semester. Amanda Blanco,, "College students returning to Connecticut from spring break will be tested for COVID-19 at some universities; others cancel weeklong break altogether," 22 Mar. 2021 Enrollment updates will be provided throughout the Spring semester, with the next release scheduled for late April. Michael T. Nietzel, Forbes, "College Enrollment Declines Have Continued This Spring," 11 Mar. 2021 There was the semester-long academic suspension of guard Jerian Grant, who would return the following season to earn first team all-league honors. Tom Noie, The Indianapolis Star, "Notre Dame basketball season likely nearing its end," 9 Mar. 2021 In the fall, Brandon Summers, a violinist in Las Vegas, began a semester-long substitute assignment as an orchestra teacher in the Clark County School District, the nation’s fifth-largest school system. New York Times, "Pandemic Teacher Shortages Imperil In-Person Schooling," 19 Jan. 2021 Throughout the fall semester, many districts have struggled to reopen campuses to in-person learning. Deborah Sullivan Brennan, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Learning pods offer students that first, safe step back to campus," 13 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for semester

Time Traveler

The first known use of semester was in 1827

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Statistics for semester

Last Updated

3 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Semester.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for semester



English Language Learners Definition of semester

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


se·​mes·​ter | \ sə-ˈme-stər How to pronounce semester (audio) \

Kids Definition of semester

: either of two terms that make up a school year

More from Merriam-Webster on semester

Nglish: Translation of semester for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of semester for Arabic Speakers

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