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

Keep scrolling for more

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 City officials plan to expand Tech-in-Residence Corps, with the goal of offering 100 courses per semester starting next year. Kate King, WSJ, "Google, LinkedIn and Other Tech Firms Send Employees Into New York Classrooms," 9 Feb. 2020 The protests started in July this year after the institute hiked the hostel accommodation fee to Rs56,000 per semester from Rs8,500 for the open category. Niharika Sharma, Quartz India, "The JNU uprising has profound implications for India’s student community," 3 Dec. 2019 The cost of attendance is determined by the institution using federal guidelines and generally ranges from $2,000-$5,000 per semester., "The NCAA took a major step Tuesday toward allowing college athletes to cash in on their fame, voting to permit them to ‘‘benefit from the use of their name, image and likeness.’’," 30 Oct. 2019 The cost of attendance is determined by the institution using federal guidelines and generally ranges from $2,000-$5,000 per semester. Ralph D. Russo,, "NCAA board backs plan to allow athletes to cash in on their fame," 29 Oct. 2019 The referendum proposed that each student pay a fee of $27.20 per semester to benefit descendants of 272 enslaved people sold by the school in the 19th century. Ayanna Runcie, CBS News, "Georgetown students push university for action on slavery reparations," 3 Oct. 2019 In the latest semester, inmates could take three classes for credit — personal finance, prisons and punishment, and philosophy of law — and six not for credit. Nick Anderson, Washington Post, "Prisoners free their minds in Georgetown University class behind bars," 27 Dec. 2019 She was hospitalized for 40 days this spring but managed to recover enough to take two courses in the fall semester., "The caption identified the woman in it as “a visitor.”," 15 Dec. 2019 Nebulon’s visionaries and seers, its éminences grises and starchy mandarins, mostly attended Nebulese community colleges on volleyball scholarships but dropped out in the first semester grousing about undue homework burdens. Kyle Smith, National Review, "Elizabeth Warren’s Plan Nine from Outer Space," 19 Nov. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about semester

Time Traveler for semester

Time Traveler

The first known use of semester was in 1827

See more words from the same year

Statistics for semester

Last Updated

12 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Semester.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for semester


How to pronounce semester (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!