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[kol-ij] /ˈkɒl ɪdʒ/
an institution of higher learning, especially one providing a general or liberal arts education rather than technical or professional training.
Compare university.
a constituent unit of a university, furnishing courses of instruction in the liberal arts and sciences, usually leading to a bachelor's degree.
an institution for vocational, technical, or professional instruction, as in medicine, pharmacy, agriculture, or music, often a part of a university.
an endowed, self-governing association of scholars incorporated within a university, as at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge in England.
a similar corporation outside a university.
the building or buildings occupied by an institution of higher education.
the administrators, faculty, and students of a college.
(in Britain and Canada) a private secondary school.
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.
a company; assemblage.
Also called collegium. a body of clergy living together on a foundation for religious service or similar activity.
British Slang. a prison.
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 forms
postcollege, noun, adjective
precollege, noun, adjective
subcollege, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for colleges
  • Tuition charges at both public and private colleges have more than doubled-in real dollars-compared with a generation ago.
  • The last two years have not been kind to for-profit colleges.
  • State colleges, universities, and technical colleges manage their recruitment and hiring independently.
  • colleges and universities are uniquely able to improve the quality of urban schools.
  • colleges bury college, formerly bury technical college and peel sixth form college.
  • Many of these colleges employ their own students to work in the cafeteria.
  • The seven colleges explored the issue of coeducation in a variety of ways.
British Dictionary definitions for colleges


an institution of higher education; part of a university
a school or an institution providing specialized courses or teaching: a college of music
the building or buildings in which a college is housed
the staff and students of a college
an organized body of persons with specific rights and duties: an electoral college See also Sacred College
a body of clerics living in community and supported by endowment
(mainly Brit) an obsolete slang word for prison
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for colleges



"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
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Slang definitions & phrases for colleges


Related Terms

joe college

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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colleges in the Bible

Heb. mishneh (2 Kings 22:14; 2 Chr. 34:22), rendered in Revised Version "second quarter", the residence of the prophetess Huldah. The Authorized Version followed the Jewish commentators, who, following the Targum, gave the Hebrew word its post-Biblical sense, as if it meant a place of instruction. It properly means the "second," and may therefore denote the lower city (Acra), which was built after the portion of the city on Mount Zion, and was enclosed by a second wall.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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