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

Examples of semester in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The shooting took place before the first semester of 2018 began. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "School Shootings in 2018, Remembered," 21 Feb. 2018 The new season of 7 Little Johnstons (which premieres Tuesday at 10 p.m. on TLC) is full of highs: Jonah's first semester at college, Elizabeth and Anna's prom season, and the family's first Christmas at their new house. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "Are Amber and Trent From '7 Little Johnstons' Getting Divorced? The Truth Behind Those Rumors," 2 Apr. 2019 This system benefits kids whose parents likely foot a large percentage of their college tuition bill each semester. James Wellemeyer, Teen Vogue, "Applying to College Early Is a Privilege Not Every Student Can Afford," 20 Mar. 2019 All state university systems, to which many financially strapped students turn, continue to award generous college credit for APs, enabling students to save semesters of tuition fees. Caitlin Macy, WSJ, "AP Tests Are Still a Great American Equalizer," 22 Feb. 2019 Two professors there just began their fourth semester of having students respond to the inmate questions. Max Kutner, Newsweek, "With No Google, the Incarcerated Wait for the Mail," 25 Jan. 2015 These include the Cleveland Clinic, which collaborated with the high school this semester in a six-week project in cardiopulmonary education. John Hanc, New York Times, "Building Skills Outside the Classroom With New Ways of Learning," 5 Apr. 2018 As of November 8, according to the outlet, there were more than 82,000 vets waiting on housing payments with the fall semester almost over, and hundreds of thousands of vets were affected by delays. Emily Stewart, Vox, "The VA’s latest issues paying student veterans their benefits, explained," 11 Dec. 2018 More than 82,000 veterans were still waiting for housing payments for the fall semester as of November 8, with some having lost housing as the result of non-payment. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "VA’s software so SNAFU’d that vets were made homeless waiting for benefits," 12 Nov. 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

7 May 2019

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

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

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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

What made you want to look up semester? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a sum of money that is sent as a payment

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