[sil-uh-buh s]
See more synonyms for syllabus on
noun, plural syl·la·bus·es, syl·la·bi [sil-uh-bahy] /ˈsɪl əˌbaɪ/.
  1. an outline or other brief statement of the main points of a discourse, the subjects of a course of lectures, the contents of a curriculum, etc.
  2. Law.
    1. a short summary of the legal basis of a court's decision appearing at the beginning of a reported case.
    2. a book containing summaries of the leading cases in a legal field, used especially by students.
  3. (often initial capital letter) Also called Syllabus of Errors. Roman Catholic Church. the list of 80 propositions condemned as erroneous by Pope Pius IX in 1864.

Origin of syllabus

1650–60; < New Latin syllabus, syllabos, probably a misreading (in manuscripts of Cicero) of Greek síttybās, accusative plural of síttyba label for a papyrus roll Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for syllabus

Contemporary Examples of syllabus

Historical Examples of syllabus

  • Besides, it was borrowed from the syllabus of a degraded superstition.

  • A syllabus is highly useful in the hands of students in lecture courses.

    College Teaching

    Paul Klapper

  • He himself was keeping his mind on the syllabus with considerable difficulty.

    Stanford Stories

    Charles K. Field

  • A re-perusal of the Syllabus had engendered in her mind a doubt whether it was quite.

    A Likely Story

    William De Morgan

  • What syllabus of intellectual pursuits was simultaneously possible?


    James Joyce

British Dictionary definitions for syllabus


noun plural -buses or -bi (-ˌbaɪ)
  1. an outline of a course of studies, text, etc
  2. British
    1. the subjects studied for a particular course
    2. a document which lists these subjects and states how the course will be assessed

Word Origin for syllabus

C17: from Late Latin, erroneously from Latin sittybus parchment strip giving title and author, from Greek sittuba


noun RC Church
  1. Also called: Syllabus of Errors a list of 80 doctrinal theses condemned as erroneous by Pius IX in 1864
  2. a list of 65 Modernist propositions condemned as erroneous by Pius X in 1907
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 syllabus

1650s, "table of contents of a series of lectures, etc.," from Late Latin syllabus "list," a misreading of Greek sittybos (plural of sittyba "parchment label, table of contents," of unknown origin) in a 1470s edition of Cicero's "Ad Atticum" iv.5 and 8. The proper plural would be syllabi.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper