Definition of polytechnic in English:



  • An institution of higher education offering courses in many subjects, especially vocational or technical subjects.

    • ‘To supply the growing educational and training demand, active support has been granted to private institutes, polytechnics and colleges that provide IT training.’
    • ‘Students from 22 engineering colleges, 24 polytechnics and 13 schools had displayed their projects, and were vying for prizes in various categories.’
    • ‘So, in 1992, the Conservative government of the day turned the polytechnics into universities, doubling overnight the proportion of students attending university.’
    • ‘This result was accomplished by granting university status to the polytechnics and to some colleges of higher education.’
    • ‘From 1825 all vacant professorships at Austrian universities and polytechnics were filled by public competition.’
    • ‘Other tertiary institutions such as polytechnics and private training establishments are funded the same way.’
    • ‘Students at those polytechnics, recently renamed universities, are of course the worst of all the studying kind.’
    • ‘As early as the mid-1970s, the desire of the polytechnics to be put on an equal footing with the universities was viewed by some, including the public press, to be detrimental to their mission.’
    • ‘This policy has put a whole lot of people's backs up - everybody from universities, polytechnics, and private training providers - the whole lot were opposed to the export levy from day one.’
    • ‘It removed the polytechnics (now universities) and sixth-form colleges from local control and allowed secondary schools to opt out of local authority control and become grant-maintained schools funded by Whitehall.’
    • ‘He believed downgrading education in Britain, so that technical colleges and polytechnics became universities, was a backward step.’
    • ‘When aspiring to become universities, the British polytechnics envisioned more funding and greater autonomy over the expenditure of those funds, but neither came with university status.’
    • ‘He has to promote the involvement of the private sector in that, because the polytechnics and the universities will simply not be able to provide the number of courses needed.’
    • ‘Academic staff from universities and polytechnics, as well as research scientists and engineers from the industry and research institutes, will play important roles for the organization of the workshops.’
    • ‘Muslim students are banned from wearing head scarves at schools and junior colleges but are allowed to wear them in polytechnics and universities.’
    • ‘Because the polytechnics had always been primarily teaching institutions, the requirements to compete in both the research and fundraising arenas have created stress.’
    • ‘The dignity of academic people and their universities and polytechnics has been assailed from without by government and from within by the corrosion of bureaucracy.’
    • ‘The point of tension in the system began when polytechnics and institutions of technology were allowed to issue degrees.’
    • ‘The conversion of the British polytechnics into universities is parallel to the move by some community colleges to offer a workforce bachelor's degree.’
    • ‘The total number of Maori participating in universities, polytechnics, colleges of education and wananga has increased by 103 percent since 1990.’
    educational institution, training establishment, centre of learning, seat of learning
    View synonyms


  • Dealing with or devoted to various vocational or technical subjects.

    • ‘Even though residents carry on ancient traditions and live secluded from a modern lifestyle, they have bidden farewell to illiteracy, and have generated over 20 polytechnic school and college students in recent years.’
    • ‘Hundreds of polytechnic students at Andalas University attacked the university's School of Law on the Limau Manis campus on Thursday.’
    • ‘Twenty-four lower, middle, and higher polytechnic schools train students exclusively in applied work.’
    • ‘You can almost see their nostrils twitching as they detect the whiff of a hapless polytechnic lecturer who considers logic an outdated bourgeois construct.’
    • ‘As the new assistant minister of education she devotes herself to educational improvement, opening polytechnic schools in remote areas.’
    • ‘Luis Inacio's experience of working with metals, in a screw factory, led to his acceptance by the local polytechnic school, SENAI.’
    • ‘What measures has the Government undertaken to reinforce polytechnic activity in areas that contribute strongly to its core role?’
    • ‘Her 17-year-old daughter is now studying at a polytechnic school.’
    • ‘Why should these failed teachers, polytechnic lecturers and social workers be allowed to preen and feather their nests at public expense?’
    • ‘The actor portrays Sneath, the chameleon-esque former polytechnic lecturer and current hanger-on and social commentator.’


Early 19th century: from French polytechnique, from Greek polutekhnos, from polu- ‘many’ + tekhnē ‘art’.