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pupil

1
[ pyoo-puhl ]
/ ˈpyu pəl /
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See synonyms for: pupil / pupils on Thesaurus.com

noun
a person, usually young, who is learning under the close supervision of a teacher at school, a private tutor, or the like; student.
Civil Law. an orphaned or emancipated minor under the care of a guardian.
Roman Law. a person under the age of puberty orphaned or emancipated, and under the care of a guardian.
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Origin of pupil

1
First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English pupille, from Middle French, from Latin pūpillus (masculine), pūpilla (feminine) “orphan, ward,” diminutives of pūpus “boy,” pūpa “girl”

synonym study for pupil

1. Pupil, disciple, scholar, student refer to a person who is studying, usually in a school. A pupil is one under the close supervision of a teacher, either because of youth or of specialization in some branch of study: a grade-school pupil; the pupil of a famous musician. A disciple is one who follows the teachings or doctrines of a person whom he or she considers to be a master or authority: a disciple of Swedenborg. Scholar, once meaning the same as pupil, is today usually applied to one who has acquired wide erudition in some field of learning: a great Latin scholar. A student is a person attending an educational institution or someone who has devoted much attention to a particular problem: a college student; a student of politics.

OTHER WORDS FROM pupil

pu·pil·less, adjective

Other definitions for pupil (2 of 2)

pupil2
[ pyoo-puhl ]
/ ˈpyu pəl /

noun Anatomy.
the expanding and contracting opening in the iris of the eye, through which light passes to the retina.

Origin of pupil

2
1350–1400; Middle English <Latin pūpilla literally, little doll; for sense compare Greek kórē girl, doll, pupil of the eye, alluding to the tiny reflections visible in the pupils. See pupa

OTHER WORDS FROM pupil

pu·pil·less, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

MORE ABOUT PUPIL

What does pupil mean?

A pupil is a person who is learning under a teacher or instructor. In this sense, pupil is often used when the student is young but does not strictly apply to young people.

In legal terms, pupil can refer to a minor who is under the care of a legal guardian who is not one of their parents.

In anatomy, a pupil is the opening in the iris of the eye. Light passes through the pupil into the retina at the back of the eyeball, where images are received.

Example: I train my pupils to keep up on their readings by assigning them quizzes.

Where does pupil come from?

The first records of the student sense of pupil come from the 1300s. It ultimately comes from the Latin pūpillus and pūpilla, meaning “orphan” or “ward.” While not every apprentice or student is an orphan, the teacher can take a similar role as a parent or leader that helps their students learn. The first records of the anatomy sense of pupil comes from the same Latin pūpilla, which also means “little doll.”

Pupils vary from species to species, and some species do not have them at all. For example, the pupils of cats, reptiles, and foxes are thin, vertical slits that help their depth perception when they’re hunting at night. Goats’ pupils are horizontal rectangles, which increase their peripheral vision, while dolphins’ pupils are shaped like crescents to help them see light under the water.

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What are some other forms related to pupil?

What are some synonyms for pupil?

What are some words that share a root or word element with pupil?

What are some words that often get used in discussing pupil?

How is pupil used in real life?

Pupil is a common word that is frequently used to refer to a student or the part of the eye that lets in light.

Try using pupil!

Which of the following is NOT a synonym for pupil?

A. student
B. apprentice
C. trainee
D. teacher

How to use pupil in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for pupil (1 of 2)

pupil1
/ (ˈpjuːpəl) /

noun
a student who is taught by a teacher, esp a young student
civil law Scots law a boy under 14 or a girl under 12 who is in the care of a guardian

Word Origin for pupil

C14: from Latin pupillus an orphan, from pūpus a child

British Dictionary definitions for pupil (2 of 2)

pupil2
/ (ˈpjuːpəl) /

noun
the dark circular aperture at the centre of the iris of the eye, through which light enters

Word Origin for pupil

C16: from Latin pūpilla, diminutive of pūpa girl, puppet; from the tiny reflections in the eye
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

Scientific definitions for pupil

pupil
[ pyōōpəl ]

The opening in the center of the iris through which light enters the eye.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for pupil

pupil

The seemingly black, central opening in the iris of the eye, through which light enters.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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