1. a person who attends school, especially a child (usually used in combination): a new course for junior-high-schoolers.


  1. an institution where instruction is given, especially to persons under college age: The children are at school.
  2. an institution for instruction in a particular skill or field.
  3. a college or university.
  4. a regular course of meetings of a teacher or teachers and students for instruction; program of instruction: summer school.
  5. a session of such a course: no school today; to be kept after school.
  6. the activity or process of learning under instruction, especially at a school for the young: As a child, I never liked school.
  7. one’s formal education: They plan to be married when he finishes school.
  8. a building housing a school.
  9. the body of students, or students and teachers, belonging to an educational institution: The entire school rose when the principal entered the auditorium.
  10. a building, room, etc., in a university, set apart for the use of one of the faculties or for some particular purpose: the school of agriculture.
  11. a particular faculty or department of a university having the right to recommend candidates for degrees, and usually beginning its program of instruction after the student has completed general education: medical school.
  12. any place, situation, etc., tending to teach anything.
  13. the body of pupils or followers of a master, system, method, etc.: the Platonic school of philosophy.
  14. Art.
    1. a group of artists, as painters, writers, or musicians, whose works reflect a common conceptual, regional, or personal influence: the modern school; the Florentine school.
    2. the art and artists of a geographical location considered independently of stylistic similarity: the French school.
  15. any group of persons having common attitudes or beliefs.
  16. Military, Navy. parts of close-order drill applying to the individual (school of the soldier), the squad (school of the squad), or the like.
  17. Australian and New Zealand Informal. a group of people gathered together, especially for gambling or drinking.
  18. schools, Archaic. the faculties of a university.
  19. Obsolete. the schoolmen in a medieval university.


  1. of or connected with a school or schools.
  2. Obsolete. of the schoolmen.

verb (used with object)

  1. to educate in or as if in a school; teach; train.
  2. Archaic. to reprimand.


    1. an institution or building at which children and young people usually under 19 receive education
    2. (as modifier)school bus; school day
    3. (in combination)schoolroom; schoolwork
  1. any educational institution or building
  2. a faculty, institution, or department specializing in a particular subjecta law school
  3. the staff and pupils of a school
  4. the period of instruction in a school or one session of thishe stayed after school to do extra work
  5. meetings held occasionally for members of a profession, etc
  6. a place or sphere of activity that instructsthe school of hard knocks
  7. a body of people or pupils adhering to a certain set of principles, doctrines, or methods
  8. a group of artists, writers, etc, linked by the same style, teachers, or aimsthe Venetian school of painting
  9. a style of lifea gentleman of the old school
  10. informal a group assembled for a common purpose, esp gambling or drinking

verb (tr)

  1. to train or educate in or as in a school
  2. to discipline or control
  3. an archaic word for reprimand


  1. a group of porpoises or similar aquatic animals that swim together


  1. (intr) to form such a group

n.1“place of instruction,” Old English scol, from Latin schola “intermission of work, leisure for learning; learned conversation, debate; lecture; meeting place for teachers and students, place of instruction; disciples of a teacher, body of followers, sect,” from Greek skhole “spare time, leisure, rest ease; idleness; that in which leisure is employed; learned discussion;” also “a place for lectures, school;” originally “a holding back, a keeping clear,” from skhein “to get” (from PIE root *segh- “to hold, hold in one’s power, to have;” see scheme (n.)) + -ole by analogy with bole “a throw,” stole “outfit,” etc. The original notion is “leisure,” which passed to “otiose discussion” (in Athens or Rome the favorite or proper use for free time), then “place for such discussion.” The Latin word was widely borrowed, cf. Old French escole, French ├ęcole, Spanish escuela, Italian scuola, Old High German scuola, German Schule, Swedish skola, Gaelic sgiol, Welsh ysgol, Russian shkola. Translated in Old English as larhus, literally “lore house,” but this seems to have been a glossary word only. Meaning “students attending a school” in English is attested from c.1300; sense of “school building” is first recorded 1590s. Sense of “people united by a general similarity of principles and methods” is from 1610s; hence school of thought (1864). School of hard knocks “rough experience in life” is recorded from 1912 (in George Ade); to tell tales out of school “betray damaging secrets” is from 1540s. School bus is from 1908. School days is from 1590s. School board from 1870. n.2“group of fish,” c.1400, from Middle Dutch schole (Dutch school) “group of fish or other animals,” cognate with Old English scolu “band, troop, crowd of fish,” from West Germanic *skulo- (cf. Old Saxon scola “troop, multitude,” West Frisian skoal), perhaps with a literal sense of “division,” from PIE root *(s)kel- (1) “to cut, divide” (see scale (n.1)). Cf. shoal (n.2)). For possible sense development, cf. section from Latin secare “to cut.” v.1“to educate; to reprimand, to discipline,” mid-15c., from school (n.1). Related: Schooled; schooling. v.2“collect or swim in schools,” 1590s, from school (n.2). Related: Schooled; schooling. In addition to the idiom beginning with school

  • school of hard knocks
  • also see:

  • tell tales (out of school)
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