Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An institution for higher learning with teaching and research facilities constituting a graduate school and professional schools that award master's degrees and doctorates and an undergraduate division that awards bachelor's degrees.
  • n. The buildings and grounds of such an institution.
  • n. The body of students and faculty of such an institution.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. 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.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The universe; the whole.
  • n. An association, society, guild, or corporation, esp. one capable of having and acquiring property.
  • n. An institution organized and incorporated for the purpose of imparting instruction, examining students, and otherwise promoting education in the higher branches of literature, science, art, etc., empowered to confer degrees in the several arts and faculties, as in theology, law, medicine, music, etc. A university may exist without having any college connected with it, or it may consist of but one college, or it may comprise an assemblage of colleges established in any place, with professors for instructing students in the sciences and other branches of learning. In modern usage, a university is expected to have both an undergraduate division, granting bachelor's degrees, and a graduate division, granting master's or doctoral degrees, but there are some exceptions. In addition, a modern university typically also supports research by its faculty.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The whole; the universe.
  • n. A corporation; a gild.
  • n. An association of men for the purpose of study, which confers degrees which are acknowledged as valid throughout Christendom, is endowed, and is privileged by the state in order that the people may receive intellectual guidance, and that the theoretical problems which present themselves in the development of civilization may be resolved.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the body of faculty and students at a university
  • n. establishment where a seat of higher learning is housed, including administrative and living quarters as well as facilities for research and teaching
  • n. a large and diverse institution of higher learning created to educate for life and for a profession and to grant degrees

Etymologies

Middle English universite, from Old French, from Medieval Latin ūniversitās, from Latin, the whole, a corporate body, from ūniversus, whole; see universe.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
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") (Wiktionary)

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