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[kol-ij] /ˈkɒl ɪdʒ/
an institution of higher learning, especially one providing a general or liberal arts education rather than technical or professional training.
Compare university.
a constituent unit of a university, furnishing courses of instruction in the liberal arts and sciences, usually leading to a bachelor's degree.
an institution for vocational, technical, or professional instruction, as in medicine, pharmacy, agriculture, or music, often a part of a university.
an endowed, self-governing association of scholars incorporated within a university, as at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge in England.
a similar corporation outside a university.
the building or buildings occupied by an institution of higher education.
the administrators, faculty, and students of a college.
(in Britain and Canada) a private secondary school.
an organized association of persons having certain powers and rights, and performing certain duties or engaged in a particular pursuit:
The electoral college formally selects the president.
a company; assemblage.
Also called collegium. a body of clergy living together on a foundation for religious service or similar activity.
British Slang. a prison.
Origin of college
1350-1400; Middle English < Anglo-French, Middle French < Latin collēgium, equivalent to col- col-1 + lēg-, variant stem of legere to gather + -ium -ium; cf. colleague
Related forms
postcollege, noun, adjective
precollege, noun, adjective
subcollege, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for college
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I might now be dean of a college or a second Dr. Frank Crane.

    Bizarre Lawton Mackall
  • Tom's college life after the first year had been as pleasant as college life ever is.

    Tutors' Lane Wilmarth Lewis
  • Much has been said about the relation of the college to the university.

    Cambridge Mildred Anna Rosalie Tuker
  • Nancy, he had found, was even more attractive than she had been when he was in college.

    Tutors' Lane Wilmarth Lewis
  • As for the college, it has evidently made its toilet for posterity.

British Dictionary definitions for college


an institution of higher education; part of a university
a school or an institution providing specialized courses or teaching: a college of music
the building or buildings in which a college is housed
the staff and students of a college
an organized body of persons with specific rights and duties: an electoral college See also Sacred College
a body of clerics living in community and supported by endowment
(mainly Brit) an obsolete slang word for prison
Word Origin
C14: from Latin collēgium company, society, band of associates, from collēga; see colleague
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for college

"body of scholars and students within a university," late 14c., from Old French college "collegiate body" (14c.), from Latin collegium "community, society, guild," literally "association of collegae" (see colleague). At first meaning any corporate group, the sense of "academic institution" attested from 1560s became the principal sense in 19c. via use at Oxford and Cambridge.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for college


Related Terms

joe college

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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