1. an institution of higher learning, especially one providing a general or liberal arts education rather than technical or professional training.Compare university.
  2. a constituent unit of a university, furnishing courses of instruction in the liberal arts and sciences, usually leading to a bachelor's degree.
  3. an institution for vocational, technical, or professional instruction, as in medicine, pharmacy, agriculture, or music, often a part of a university.
  4. an endowed, self-governing association of scholars incorporated within a university, as at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge in England.
  5. a similar corporation outside a university.
  6. the building or buildings occupied by an institution of higher education.
  7. the administrators, faculty, and students of a college.
  8. (in Britain and Canada) a private secondary school.
  9. 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.
  10. a company; assemblage.
  11. Also called collegium. a body of clergy living together on a foundation for religious service or similar activity.
  12. 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 formspost·col·lege, noun, adjectivepre·col·lege, noun, adjectivesub·col·lege, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for pre-college

Contemporary Examples of pre-college

  • Her pre-college education had been weak, and Leo was utterly unprepared for the academic part of the coursework.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Melissa Leo Breaks Oscar Silence

    Jacob Bernstein

    February 21, 2011

British Dictionary definitions for pre-college


  1. an institution of higher education; part of a university
  2. a school or an institution providing specialized courses or teachinga college of music
  3. the building or buildings in which a college is housed
  4. the staff and students of a college
  5. an organized body of persons with specific rights and dutiesan electoral college See also Sacred College
  6. a body of clerics living in community and supported by endowment
  7. mainly British an obsolete slang word for prison

Word Origin for college

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

Word Origin and History for pre-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