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 the first La Borinqueña, readers follow along as Marisol, the 20-year-old environmental studies major from Columbia University, travels to Puerto Rico for a semester. Valerie Russ,, "Why this comic book superhero - a Puerto Rican woman exploring the island's history - isn't just about hurricane relief," 19 June 2018 Salim Tamari, a Palestinian scholar who is teaching Middle East history for a semester at Harvard University, said the recent violence in the Gaza Strip represented Israel’s intransigence. Danny Mcdonald And Margeaux Sippell,, "In Boston, hundreds rally for Palestine, against Israel and the US," 16 May 2018 Student-teachers won't have to make up lost hours This week's walkout coincides with the last week for student-teaching at ASU for the semester. Alden Woods, azcentral, "Soon-to-be teachers say outcome of #RedForEd will help determine their futures," 27 Apr. 2018 This designation is awarded to undergraduate students who have a 3.0 or higher academic average for the semester. Houston Chronicle, "Katy-area education honors," 19 Mar. 2018 Students on the dean's list had a grade point average for the semester of 3.71 or higher. Jeff Piorkowski/special To,, "Learn the benefits of solar power in University Hts.; a talk on opioids in Cleveland Hts.; more: Press Run," 2 Mar. 2018 The show follows seven young adults — ages 21 to 26 — who embed themselves for a semester at Highland Park High School in Topeka, Kansas. Steve Helling,, "Undercover High: Seven Young Adults Go Incognito & Return to High School to 'Shed Some Light'," 8 Jan. 2018 Gianna Mejia, 21, transferred this semester from TCU to the University of North Texas because of TCU’s cost. Sarah Smith, star-telegram, "About 70 percent of TCU students are white. And the black ones? Most are athletes | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 12 Apr. 2018 Take the semester abroad, try that trapeze class, join the local roller derby team. Michelle Manetti, Good Housekeeping, "20 Things You'll Only Understand If You're the Cool Aunt," 21 July 2017

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

22 Oct 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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Comments on semester

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a state of commotion or excitement

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