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

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 One young woman who just wrapped her second-to-last semester pointed out that her peers put pressure on themselves to do it all—excel at school, have a part-time job, experience the party scene—while also performing it all on social media. Elizabeth Kiefer, Glamour, "A Cancellation Plague Is Upon Us—and It's Ruining Our Female Friendships," 13 July 2018 Harris struggled academically at times in his first semester, then learned how to handle his schoolwork. Ron Kroichick,, "Top recruit Najee Harris eagerly awaits bigger role at Alabama," 4 July 2018 By their second semester, Allison and Jonathan were dating regularly. M.a.c. Lynch,, "Love Story: Brought Together In A Hurricane," 24 June 2018 After contracting a series of urinary tract infections my first semester of college, my symptoms lingered and then worsened, even after my urine cultures came back clean. Simone Gorrindo, The Cut, "The Mysterious Medical Condition That Defined All My Relationships," 21 June 2018 During her first semester at UAA, Kurgat finished 23rd at the West Region cross- country championships to qualify for the 2014 Division II national championships. Beth Bragg, Anchorage Daily News, "UAA’s Kurgat named Division II athlete of the year," 13 June 2018 Kennedy was in his final semester at the Swinburne University of Technology when a Baltimore Orioles scout asked him to try out. Stephen Ruiz,, "6-foot-8 Australian gives Fire Frogs a helping hand out of bullpen," 7 May 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

8 Oct 2018

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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

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


to reject or criticize sharply

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