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

    • Studying at a university.

      • ‘During the week, mother and son look after each other while Jess is away at university in Huddersfield.’
      • ‘Before you ask, I haven't used a pen to write anything creative with since I was at university.’
      • ‘Sara, an external financing officer for Chorley Council, met her husband at university.’
      • ‘Her younger sister was at university studying biomedical sciences and the family was very short of funds.’
      • ‘His mother is a teacher and one of his elder sisters is 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.’
      • ‘Kim's alleged second victim was at university in South Korea and came to Britain to study English.’
      • ‘So I'm so much further forward than I've been in the past when I was at university.’
      • ‘If, on the other hand, you are a young student starting out at university, you may have different needs.’
      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.’
      • ‘And moral lessons are much more interesting when demonstrated in the university of life than in the closed academies of fiction.’
      • ‘I know the air is pretty rarified in academia, but has the good professor considered taking an evening course 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’


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