noun, plural u·ni·ver·si·ties.
  1. an institution of learning of the highest level, having a college of liberal arts and a program of graduate studies together with several professional schools, as of theology, law, medicine, and engineering, and authorized to confer both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Continental European universities usually have only graduate or professional schools.

Origin of university

1250–1300; Middle English universite < Old French < Medieval Latin ūniversitās, Late Latin: guild, corporation, Latin: totality, equivalent to ūnivers(us) (see universe) + -itās -ity
Related formsu·ni·ver·si·tar·i·an [yoo-nuh-vur-si-tair-ee-uh n] /ˌyu nəˌvɜr sɪˈtɛər i ən/, noun, adjectivean·ti·u·ni·ver·si·ty, adjective, nouncoun·ter·u·ni·ver·si·ty, noun, plural coun·ter·u·ni·ver·si··ter·u·ni·ver·si·ty, adjectivenon·u·ni·ver·si·ty, noun, plural non·u·ni·ver·si·ties, adjectivepre·u·ni·ver·si·ty, adjectivepro·u·ni·ver·si·ty, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for universitarian


noun plural -ties
  1. an institution of higher education having authority to award bachelors' and higher degrees, usually having research facilities
  2. the buildings, members, staff, or campus of a university

Word Origin for university

C14: from Old French universite, from Medieval Latin universitās group of scholars, from Late Latin: guild, society, body of men, from Latin: whole, totality, universe
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 universitarian



c.1300, "institution of higher learning," also "body of persons constituting a university," from Anglo-French université, Old French universitei (13c.), from Medieval Latin universitatem (nominative universitas), in Late Latin "corporation, society," from Latin, "the whole, aggregate," from universus "whole, entire" (see universe). In the academic sense, a shortening of universitas magistrorum et scholarium "community of masters and scholars;" superseded studium as the word for this.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper