verb (used without object)

to follow a major course of study: He is majoring in physics.

Origin of major

1350–1400; < Latin, comparative of magnus large (cf. majesty); replacing Middle English majour < Anglo-French < Latin, as above

Synonym study

8. See capital1. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for majoring

Contemporary Examples of majoring

Historical Examples of majoring

  • What he's majoring it for, Brocton and the devil alone know.

    The Yeoman Adventurer

    George W. Gough

  • "I'm thinking of majoring in physics when I go to Berkeley," Darryl said.

    Little Brother

    Cory Doctorow

  • Did Wittemore, majoring in philanthropy, ever spend nights like this?

    The Witness

    Grace Livingston Hill Lutz

  • Maistra ang gikúhang kursu ni Pirla, Perla is majoring in Education.

  • Brilliant in his work—he was majoring in chemistry—he was a mathematician who was never stopped.

British Dictionary definitions for majoring



Sir John. born 1943, British Conservative politician: Chancellor of the Exchequer (1989–90); prime minister (1990–97)



military an officer immediately junior to a lieutenant colonel
a person who is superior in a group or class
a large or important companythe oil majors
(often preceded by the) music a major key, chord, mode, or scale
US, Canadian, Australian and NZ
  1. the principal field of study of a student at a university, etchis major is sociology
  2. a student who is studying a particular subject as his principal fielda sociology major
a person who has reached the age of legal majority
logic a major term or premise
a principal or important record company, film company, etc
the majors (plural) US and Canadian the major leagues


larger in extent, number, etcthe major part
of greater importance or priority
very serious or significanta major disaster
main, chief, or principal
of, involving, or making up a majority
  1. (of a scale or mode) having notes separated by the interval of a whole tone, except for the third and fourth degrees, and seventh and eighth degrees, which are separated by a semitone
  2. relating to or employing notes from the major scalea major key
  3. (postpositive)denoting a specified key or scale as being majorC major
  4. denoting a chord or triad having a major third above the root
  5. (in jazz) denoting a major chord with a major seventh added above the root
logic constituting the major term or major premise of a syllogism
mainly US, Canadian, Australian and NZ of or relating to a student's principal field of study at a university, etc
British the elder: used after a schoolboy's surname if he has one or more younger brothers in the same schoolPrice major
of full legal age
(postpositive) bell-ringing of, relating to, or denoting a method rung on eight bells


(intr usually foll by in) US, Canadian, Australian and NZ to do one's principal study (in a particular subject)to major in English literature
(intr usually foll by on) to take or deal with as the main area of interestthe book majors on the peasant dishes
Derived Formsmajorship, noun

Word Origin for major

C15 (adj): from Latin, comparative of magnus great; C17 (n, in military sense): from French, short for sergeant major
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

Word Origin and History for majoring



c.1300, from Latin maior (earlier *magjos), irregular comparative of magnus "large, great" (see magnate). Used in music (of modes, scales, or chords) since 1690s, on notion of an interval a half-tone greater than the minor.



military rank, 1640s, from French major, short for sergent-major, originally a higher rank than at present, from Medieval Latin major "chief officer, magnate, superior person," from Latin maior "an elder, adult," noun use of the adjective (see major (adj.)). The musical sense attested by 1797.



"focus (one's) studies," 1910, American English, from major (n.) in sense of "subject of specialization" (1890). Related: Majored; majoring. Earlier as a verb, in Scottish, "to prance about, or walk backwards and forwards with a military air and step" [Jamieson, 1825].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper