noun, often attributive
col·​lege | \ ˈkä-lij How to pronounce college (audio) \

Definition of college

1 : a body of clergy living together and supported by a foundation
2 : a building used for an educational or religious purpose
3a : a self-governing constituent body of a university offering living quarters and sometimes instruction but not granting degrees Balliol and Magdalen Colleges at Oxford

called also residential college

b : a preparatory or high school
c : an independent institution of higher learning offering a course of general studies leading to a bachelor's degree a liberal arts college also : a university division offering this
d : a part of a university offering a specialized group of courses the university's college of pharmacy
e : an institution offering instruction usually in a professional, vocational, or technical field business college an embalming college
4 : company, group specifically : an organized body of persons engaged in a common pursuit or having common interests or duties a college of cardinals serving as papal councillors and electors
5a : a group of persons considered by law to be a unit
b : a body of electors — compare electoral college
6 : the faculty, students, or administration of a college The college was at the football game in force.

Examples of college in a Sentence

She teaches art at a local college. He graduated from one of the country's best colleges. She attended a business college. He attended college for several years, but didn't graduate. She dropped out of college. I went to Mount Holyoke College. When I was a junior in college, I spent a semester in Spain. the Edinburgh College of Art the London College of Fashion She is attending fashion college. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Not only are college and graduate students disproportionately well off, but the money has already been borrowed, so canceling loans would do nothing for incentives. Roger Lowenstein, WSJ, 5 Aug. 2022 Harvey arrived in Portland in 2015 after finishing college. Joanna Slater, Washington Post, 5 Aug. 2022 The establishment of medical trust fund that would help athletes with health-care costs related to injuries athletes suffer during their college careers, including head injuries. Steve Berkowitz, USA TODAY, 5 Aug. 2022 But one night, Kravchenko received a call from a college friend. New York Times, 5 Aug. 2022 Apart from Jordan, the daughter of mere college professors, everyone here is couched in privilege and wealth. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, 5 Aug. 2022 The first year of name, image and likeness has been a turbulent one for college sports. Zach Osterman, The Indianapolis Star, 5 Aug. 2022 Cooley is entering his second season of college ball. Alexis Cubit, The Courier-Journal, 5 Aug. 2022 Tell me about playing the college version of Issa and getting to throw the braces back on. Angelique Jackson, Variety, 5 Aug. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'college.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of college

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for college

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin collegium society, from collega colleague — more at colleague

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The first known use of college was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

8 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“College.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for college


col·​lege | \ ˈkä-lij How to pronounce college (audio) \

Kids Definition of college

: a school that offers more advanced classes than a high school

More from Merriam-Webster on college

Nglish: Translation of college for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of college for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about college


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