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[kin-der-gahr-tn, -dn] /ˈkɪn dərˌgɑr tn, -dn/
a school or class for young children between the ages of four and six years.
1850-55; < German: literally, children's garden, equivalent to Kinder children (see kind2) + Garten garden
Related forms
prekindergarten, noun, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for kindergarten
  • We should begin teaching it in kindergarten and then teach it straight through high school.
  • Early in his presidency, he likened parliament to a kindergarten.
  • Children understand and use sarcasm by the time they get to kindergarten.
  • Not many of them can read beyond a kindergarten level.
  • His little feet dangled off the kindergarten chair, as his legs were not long enough to reach the floor.
  • The new system will start with kindergarten and the lower elementary grades.
  • She taught kindergarten through second grade for seven years, and then became an education coach at the same school.
  • Next door, a sagging chain-link fence surrounds a cinder block kindergarten.
  • It applies to any school, from kindergarten through graduate school, that receives federal money.
  • Children aged between three and six are guaranteed a place in a kindergarten.
British Dictionary definitions for kindergarten


a class or small school for young children, usually between the ages of four and six to prepare them for primary education Often shortened to (in Australia and New Zealand) kinder, kindy, kindie
Derived Forms
kindergartener, noun
Word Origin
C19: from German, literally: children's garden
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 kindergarten

1852, from German, literally "children's garden," from Kinder "children" (plural of Kind "child;" see kin (n.)) + Garten "garden" (see yard (n.1)). Coined 1840 by German educator Friedrich Fröbel (1782-1852) in reference to his method of developing intelligence in young children.

Kindergarten means a garden of children, and Froebel, the inventor of it, or rather, as he would prefer to express it, the discoverer of the method of Nature, meant to symbolize by the name the spirit and plan of treatment. How does the gardener treat his plants? He studies their individual natures, and puts them into such circumstances of soil and atmosphere as enable them to grow, flower, and bring forth fruit,-- also to renew their manifestation year after year. [Mann, Horace, and Elizabeth P. Peabody, "Moral Culture of Infancy and Kindergarten Guide," Boston, 1863]
The first one in England was established 1850 by Johannes Ronge, German Catholic priest; in America, 1868, by Elizabeth Peabody of Boston, Mass. Taken into English untranslated, whereas other nations that borrowed the institution nativized the name (cf. Danish börnehave, Modern Hebrew gan yeladim, literally "garden of children"). Sometimes partially anglicized as kindergarden (attested by 1879).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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