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[vahr-si-tee] /ˈvɑr sɪ ti/
noun, plural varsities.
any first-string team, especially in sports, that represents a school, college, university, or the like:
He is on the varsity in tennis and in debating.
Chiefly British Informal. university.
of or relating to a university or school team, activity, or competition:
a varsity debater.
Origin of varsity
1840-50; compare versity university, in 17th century; pronunciation probably preserves historical outcome of Middle English ĕr, as in varmint
Related forms
intervarsity, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for varsity
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The journey home was given to the careful recital of news of Winnipeg, of the 'varsity, and of mutual friends.

    The Major Ralph Connor
  • Of them some twenty-four were on the 'varsity and sixteen on the second.

    Left End Edwards Ralph Henry Barbour
  • If a fellow looked as though he might have good material to work upon, he was asked to report at the varsity field the next day.

    Football Days William H. Edwards
  • He's been begging the 'varsity fellows to get stale and be done with it.

    Left End Edwards Ralph Henry Barbour
  • No matter how good he is, he has to win his spurs first on his class team before he can aspire to the ranks of the varsity.

    Baseball Joe on the Giants Lester Chadwick
British Dictionary definitions for varsity


noun (pl) -ties
(Brit & NZ, South African, informal) university, formerly used esp at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge
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 varsity

1846, "university," variant of earlier versity (1670s), shortened form of university.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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