• University


    • RP IPA: /juːnɪˈvɜːsətiː/
    • US IPA: /junɪˈvɝsəti/


    From Middle English, "institution of higher learning," "body of persons constituting a university," from Anglo-Norman université, from Old French universitei, from Medieval Latin stem of universitas, in juridical and Late Latin "A number of persons associated into one body, a society, company, community, guild, corporation, etc.," in Latin, "the whole, aggregate," from universus ("whole, entire")

    Full definition of university



    (plural universities)
    1. Institution of higher education (typically accepting students from the age of about 17 or 18, depending on country, but in some exceptional cases able to take younger students) where subjects are studied and researched in depth and degrees are offered.
      The only reason why I haven't gone to university is because I can't afford it.
      • 1661, John Fell, The Life of the most learned, reverend and pious Dr. H. HammondDuring the whole time of his abode in the university he generally spent thirteen hours of the day in study; by which assiduity besides an exact dispatch of the whole course of philosophy, he read over in a manner all classic authors that are extant...
      • 2013-07-20, The attack of the MOOCs, Since the launch early last year of  two Silicon Valley start-ups offering free education through MOOCs, massive open online courses, the ivory towers of academia have been shaken to their foundations. University brands built in some cases over centuries have been forced to contemplate the possibility that information technology will rapidly make their existing business model obsolete.

    Usage notes

    In the United States, institutions calling themselves universities are generally relatively large (compared to colleges), and offer postgraduate degrees in addition to undergraduate degrees. In other countries, this distinction is not made and any degree-granting institution is called a university.

    In the United States, students will sometimes say that they go to "the university" or to "a university", but they are far more likely to say they are going "to college". In the UK, students go to "university", sans the article. In Canada, students go "to university" (also without the article) if they are attending a school that grants bachelor's or postgraduate degrees.

    Related terms

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