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

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 Christian Vitek is a 21-year-old University of Albany student who is finishing a semester in Washington and graduates next week. Dylan Wells, USA TODAY, 3 May 2022 After graduating high school a semester early, Stingley was allowed to practice with LSU before the Tigers played in the Fiesta Bowl. Matt Young, Chron, 28 Apr. 2022 Former Pleasure Ridge Park star Elijah Reed faced a difficult transition this spring after graduating a semester early to enroll at UK in time for Kentucky football’s spring practice. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, 20 Apr. 2022 Even after failing a test that set her back a semester, Maribel Rodriguez will be heading back to nursing school next spring with a generous new state scholarship that abandons eligibility criteria to help more working adults get a college degree. Cedar Attanasio, The Christian Science Monitor, 13 Apr. 2022 With the 2020 season and 2021 regular season and postseason wiped away by COVID-19, Barney deferred a semester and spent it away from school last year, then returned as part of a talent-rich senior class. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 12 Apr. 2022 Schiffman, who's been taking a semester off to work on several projects, said from Miami he was inspired to use his internet activism to help after attending a pro-Ukraine rally in San Diego. CBS News, 5 Apr. 2022 The students of Morehouse and Spelman colleges are about to have a stylish semester. Sophie Dweck, Town & Country, 28 Mar. 2022 This program brings in college students and recent graduates from around the country to work at the Walt Disney World theme parks for a semester while learning valuable life skills while earning college credit. Megan Dubois, Forbes, 25 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near semester



semester hour

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Statistics for semester

Last Updated

9 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Semester.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for semester


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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