Definition of varsity in English:



North American
  • 1The principal team representing a high school or college in a sport or other competition.

    ‘Miller promoted him to the varsity for his sophomore season’
    [as modifier] ‘girls' varsity basketball’
    • ‘Your best friend made the varsity basketball team?’
    • ‘With five assistant coaches and two trainers, the varsity's bench resembled an NBA team's.’
    • ‘He was also elected captain for the varsity basketball team and class president that same year.’
    • ‘Mikie was the captain of the varsity basketball team and had been away a week at Ohio for a tournament with the top high school teams in the country.’
    • ‘His junior year he decided to give the game another try, and made the junior varsity squad.’
    • ‘Emily, Crash's buddy and team mate, was good enough that they moved her up to play varsity with the 16-18 year olds.’
    • ‘He shot up to 5-8 before joining the varsity, and now, listed at 6-0, is at least an inch taller than his father and brother.’
    • ‘I was into music and arts; he was on the baseball varsity of his school and the team representing his city.’
    • ‘The freshman and junior varsity programs can continue the development of fundamentals in preparation for the varsity.’
    • ‘By the time he joined the varsity as a sophomore, he and his coach realized he should become a full-time catcher.’
    • ‘Her boyfriend went to Vallier, and played on the varsity basketball team.’
    • ‘There were about ten people who were from the varsity team last year, and fifteen from the junior varsity.’
    • ‘Greg Henderson was the youngest on the team; he was a sophomore on varsity.’
    • ‘I've played two years on varsity for Lincoln - 9th and 10th grade.’
    • ‘Conner had him on the freshman team for two days before moving him to the varsity.’
    • ‘As a freshman at Birmingham High School in Los Angeles, he was a pretty good basketball player, made junior varsity, and although he didn't play much he put up good numbers when he did.’
    • ‘The varsity is for the most experienced and talented players.’
    • ‘He was even more of an athlete than Ross - although he would be entering eighth grade come fall, he was on the varsity football, basketball, and lacrosse team.’
    • ‘I played varsity golf my senior year in high school.’
    • ‘In varsity and Olympic competition, races may involve boats with one, two, four, or eight rowers.’
    1. 1.1British, NZ, South African dated University.
      ‘he had his hair cut as soon as he got back from varsity’
      • ‘A spokesperson for the Nelson Mandela varsity, Roslyn Baatjies, said their student debt stood at R101,9m at the end of July.’
      • ‘I have a clear memory of lunch at a similar time of year in my first year of varsity, although it's probably several memories compressed into one.’
      • ‘Students come from across Africa, are based at varsities across the country, but come to Cape Town for an initial intense burst of studying.’
      • ‘They'd worked out that they had the same lectures at varsity.’
      • ‘There are a few students who will only be returning to varsity tomorrow, and so will be joining our new choir next week.’
      • ‘Noelle is having a holiday then going back to varsity.’
      • ‘‘Between us we found three horn players around campus and got organised to meet for rehearsals when varsity kicked off in the new year,’ Nick says.’
      • ‘The powers that be had better soon realise that this varsity has outstanding lecturers who are by far the most competent and passionate people for the job.’
      • ‘My father, who described himself as a ‘language master’, frequently regaled me with tales of his life at the varsity.’
      • ‘For me it was just vacation work before I went back to varsity, but Danny needed something that provided a career.’
      • ‘‘They grow in confidence and this benefits them later when they go to varsity,’ says Rebeck.’
      • ‘While still at varsity, Nyokong married and had two children sandwiched on either side of her first degree.’
      • ‘After the end of varsity in 1997, I decided to stay on in Dunedin and job hunt.’
      • ‘On the advice of several industry people whom I consulted fresh out of varsity, I'd always intended to work in a commercial law role for two years.’
      • ‘Yeah, well it's kind of helped me through some pretty dire times of stress, like my 4th year at varsity.’
      • ‘Singh said the Government would soon release funds to provide basic facilities for Tumkur varsity.’
      • ‘I think I'm going to go back to varsity next year, after all.’
      • ‘In varsity, a friend told me quite plainly and cynically that friends use each other to gain something, using to gain information, influence, solace and companionship.’
      • ‘I was driving up the coast, to Kakanui, a small east coast beach settlement, a place were I lived for about six months after finishing varsity.’
      • ‘When I finished varsity and started paying the loan off, I had gone to work as a laboratory analyst.’
    2. 1.2British [as modifier] (especially of a sporting event or team) relating to a university, especially Oxford or Cambridge.
      ‘a varsity match’
      • ‘He said he wanted to play for the varsity team but never went out for it.’
      • ‘Also a special word for Steve Bacon, who added to his recent heroics in the varsity match to ease his way to the singles cuppers championship as well.’
      • ‘I played at Lord's in the varsity match, but unfortunately we lost.’
      • ‘It was only a few weeks later that he scored 169 for Cambridge in the varsity match.’
      • ‘On the weekend of 7th week the varsity marathon kayaking takes place.’
      • ‘The reason why Clemington had made it to the finals four years in a row would have to be based on the fact that four years ago, Chris Donovan and Devon Matthews joined the boy's varsity team.’
      • ‘The sport has been played at the university for almost 30 years and this year, the annual varsity match against Cambridge was on Sky TV.’
      • ‘How could I not be used to it when I'm in the volleyball varsity team?’


Mid 17th century: shortening of university, reflecting an archaic pronunciation.