Date: 1500-1600
Language: French
Origin: classe, from Latin classis 'class of citizens, social class'


1 noun
class1 S1 W1

social group

a) [countable] one of the groups in a society that different types of people are divided into according to their jobs, income, education etc
professional/landowning/working etc class
a Marxist view of the ruling classes
a member of the landed class (=people who own land)
social class inequalities
lower class, middle class, upper class, working class

; ➔ the chattering classes

at chatter1 (4)
b) [uncountable] the system in which people are divided into these groups:
Defining the concept of class is not an easy task.
class system/structure
The old class system is slowly disappearing.


[C, also + plural verb British English]SE
a) a group of students who are taught together [↪ classmate]
in a class
We're in the same class for math.
Gary came top of the class in English.
My class are going to the Lake District.
b) American English a group of students who finished studying together in the same year [↪ classmate]:
a class reunion
the class of 1965/2001 etc (=the group of students who finished in 1965 etc)
The class of '69 spent almost as much time protesting as learning.

teaching period

[uncountable and countable]SE a period of time during which someone teaches a group of people, especially in a school [= lesson British English]
geography/French/cooking etc class
I missed Bible class last week.
in class (=during the class)
No talking in class!
Were you late for class this morning?
have a class American English
I have physics class at 9:30 on Tuesdays.


[countable] a series of classes in a particular subject [= course British English]
class in
a class in photography at night school
dance/aerobics/Greek etc class
Dance classes start at 5:15.
take/attend/do a class (=go to a series of classes)
Cindy's taking a class on dealing with stress.
He attended evening classes at the local college.

same type of something

[countable]HB a group of people, animals, or things that are considered together because they are similar in some way
class of
Have you passed a test for this class of vehicle?

train/aircraft etc

[countable usually singular] one of the different standards of seats, food etc available on a train, aircraft etc
first/business/tourist etc class
We always travel first class.


[countable] a group into which people or things are divided according to their quality or abilities
nicer/better etc class of something
The port now attracts a wealthier class of visitor.
in a class of its own/in a different class (=better than everything else)
Its sheer versatility puts this computer in a different class.
He's not in the same class (=not as good) as her at tennis.


[uncountable] informal a high level of style or skill in something [↪ classy]
have/show class
The team showed real class in this afternoon's match.
A fountain will give your garden a touch of class.
a class act informal (=someone who is skilful, attractive etc)
Laughton is a class act who's proved his worth in the game.
high-class, low-class

university degree

[countable] British EnglishSEC one of the three levels of a university degree:
a second class degree

Explore COLLEGE Topic