View synonyms for semester


[ si-mes-ter ]


  1. (in many educational institutions) a division constituting half of the regular academic year, lasting typically from 15 to 18 weeks.
  2. (in German universities) a session, lasting about six months and including periods of recess.


/ sɪˈmɛstə /


  1. (in some universities) either of two divisions of the academic year, ranging from 15 to 18 weeks
  2. (in German universities) a session of six months

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Derived Forms

  • seˈmestral, adjective

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Other Words From

  • se·mestral se·mes·tri·al [si-, mes, -tree-, uh, l], adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of semester1

1820–30; < German < Latin sēmē ( n ) stris of six months duration < *sex-mēnstris, equivalent to sex six + mēns ( is ) month + -tris adj. suffix (perhaps representing an earlier *mens ( i ) -teros )

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Word History and Origins

Origin of semester1

C19: via German from Latin sēmestris half-yearly, from sex six + mensis a month

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Example Sentences

That we’re not going to wait to play later in the semester when it’s mythically going to just magically get better.

The semester I spent abroad in Paris kind of changed all that and I decided I didn’t want to do pre-med anymore, but I wanted to find a way to get back to Paris.

From Ozy

Although this is not the way we wanted to start this new term, we also know that with the proper commitment to our established safety protocols, we will be able to have a successful and safe semester together.

Some, he said, are delaying the start of the semester or the start of in-person teaching to buy time.

Like other schools, Middle Tennessee had moved classes online for the remainder of the semester.

I had been studying abroad in London, and came back to finish the semester at Tufts.

The trick, in any case, was repeated semester after semester.

According to his suit, Carleton would rotate four new boys into his home every semester.

My relationship with foreign cultures began, like many privileged Americans, with an idealistic college semester abroad.

I will be moving out of my House next semester, if only—quite literally—to save my life.

These girls had all arrived at Ardmore several days in advance of the opening of the semester.

This would be sometime between the first of January 1940, and the time you finished the second semester, let us say.

In most instances he was a man of wealth and high social standing, who looked upon his semester or two as a romantic episode.

Queen's is bad enough, but if I am to descend to a room over the post-office after this semester, I'd—I'd rather die!

That young man will not fight another round for many a long semester after I have done with him.'


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More About Semester

What does semester mean?

A semester is one half of an academic year.

If an academic year is divided into semesters, it means it is divided into two semesters. (If the year is divided into thirds, each part is called a trimester.)

Semesters are typically used in high schools and universities. In many universities, a semester lasts 15 to 18 weeks. In German universities, a semester can last up to six months.

Example: I’m thinking about taking a break from school for a semester to work and save some money.

Where does semester come from?

The first records of the word semester come from the 1800s. It comes from the Latin sēmestris, meaning “half-yearly,” from sex, meaning “six,” and mensis, meaning “a month.”

In high school, many classes extend throughout both semesters, meaning students take that class throughout the entire academic year. But in college, new classes typically start each semester and end when the semester is over. Semesters typically run from August or September to December, and from January to May or June. When students take classes in the summer, it’s called the summer semester. Though many schools divide the academic year into semesters, others use a quarter or trimester system.

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What are some other forms related to semester?

  • semestral (adjective)
  • semestrial (adjective)

What are some synonyms for semester?

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


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


How is semester used in real life?

Semester is always used in the context of academic years—never for business schedules or other calendars.



Try using semester!

True or False?

If an academic year is divided into semesters, there are always two.

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Semerusemester hour