Definition of university in US English:



  • An educational institution designed for instruction, examination, or both, of students in many branches of advanced learning, conferring degrees in various faculties, and often embodying colleges and similar institutions.

    in names ‘Oxford University’
    ‘the University of California’
    as modifier ‘the university buildings’
    ‘a university professor’
    • ‘Research in universities and agricultural institutes, as well as by the industry, has a crucial role to play.’
    • ‘His holidays from university have found him up on the release site, near Pewsey, working on maintenance of the pens.’
    • ‘I met up with an old friend from university this morning and we are headed out for a little trip.’
    • ‘On June 28, her daughter found out that her exam marks would qualify her for university.’
    • ‘All members of the university administration refused to comment on this issue.’
    • ‘He began his university studies in 1951 when he entered Tokyo University.’
    • ‘He was born the son of a poor mill owner, and was the first in his family to go to university.’
    • ‘So there is a vast amount of information that's available through academic research institutes or in universities.’
    • ‘You just have to remember that university is a time not only to learn about your major, but about yourself.’
    • ‘We hear a lot about how much it costs a student to get a university degree in the UK these days.’
    • ‘She also said that this situation is not uncommon here at this university.’
    • ‘This is alleged to be the first time in the 800 year history of that university.’
    • ‘She was also a university student studying in a really interesting course.’
    • ‘That means that I have passed my peak, and many students in university are passing by theirs too.’
    • ‘Get out and enjoy the artistic side of our often misrepresented university.’
    • ‘I'm happy to be back with my family and I'm looking forward to university.’
    • ‘I had three weeks left until university began and the need for one last venture overseas was becoming overwhelming.’
    • ‘The thing is, I always assumed that by the time we hit university, the drama would be left behind.’
    • ‘At least one university is paying heed to what may be the reshaping of psychotherapy.’
    • ‘At present, foreign students can only work for 90 days in universities and research institutes.’
    college, academy, educational establishment, educational institution, institute, varsity
    View synonyms


  • the university of life

    • The experience of life regarded as a means of instruction.

      • ‘I didn't have the benefit of a great education as a young man, but the university of life and travel through golf has been an incredible thing for me.’
      • ‘But electoral snobbery cannot be solely to blame: Cambridge has done no better of late than redbrick institutions or the university of life.’
      • ‘He brought the perspective of someone who is educated in the university of life.’
      • ‘Having graduated from the university of life through his extensive travels, Martin, a self made man, must be rated among the most successful business people ever to come from the heather county.’
      • ‘That is acquiring the knowledge which you will do well to put into practice as you travel to the next stage of your journey through the university of life.’
      • ‘She didn't go into higher education, leaving school at 16, but says, with a wink that acknowledges she recognises the cliche, that she attended the university of life.’
      • ‘By education he means at the university of life as well as Le Havre University, where he got his degree in mathematics, giving himself a safety net in case he does tumble from the current pedestal.’
      • ‘I came into this business without any formal qualification, other than my training in the university of life.’
      • ‘I know the air is pretty rarified in academia, but has the good professor considered taking an evening course in the university of life?’
      • ‘And moral lessons are much more interesting when demonstrated in the university of life than in the closed academies of fiction.’
  • at university

    • Studying at a university.

      • ‘Kim's alleged second victim was at university in South Korea and came to Britain to study English.’
      • ‘His mother is a teacher and one of his elder sisters is at university.’
      • ‘During the week, mother and son look after each other while Jess is away at university in Huddersfield.’
      • ‘Her younger sister was at university studying biomedical sciences and the family was very short of funds.’
      • ‘Sara, an external financing officer for Chorley Council, met her husband at university.’
      • ‘If, on the other hand, you are a young student starting out at university, you may have different needs.’
      • ‘So I'm so much further forward than I've been in the past when I was at university.’
      • ‘Before you ask, I haven't used a pen to write anything creative with since I was at university.’
      • ‘Melanie lived at home while at university and met a former boyfriend while studying at Bath.’
      • ‘And even when she is at university, Stella is determined that Edie will not suffer.’
      college, academy, educational establishment, educational institution, institute, varsity
      View synonyms


Middle English: from Old French universite, from Latin universitas ‘the whole’, in late Latin ‘society, guild’, from universus (see universe).