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From Old French collation, from Latin collationem, from the participle stem of conferre (to bring together).



collation (countable and uncountable, plural collations)

  1. Bringing together.
    1. The act of bringing things together and comparing them; comparison. [from 14th c.]
      (Can we find and add a quotation of Alexander Pope to this entry?)
    2. The act of collating pages or sheets of a book, or from printing etc. [from 19th c.]
    3. A collection, a gathering. [from 20th c.]
      • 2010, Will Dean, The Guardian, 29 Apr 2010:
        It's fantastic, as is so much of Forgiveness Rock Record, a collation of so many talents that it's practically bursting at the seams.
  2. Discussion, light meal.
    1. (obsolete) A conference or consultation. [14th-17th c.]
    2. (in the plural) The Collationes Patrum in Scetica Eremo Commorantium by John Cassian, an important ecclesiastical work. (Now usually with capital initial.) [from 13th c.]
      • 1563, John Foxe, Acts and Monuments, vol. 2, p. 55:
        A certain abbot, named Moses, thus testifieth of himself in the Collations of Cassianus, that he so afflicted himself with much fasting and watching, that sometimes, for two or three days together, not only he felt no appetite to eat, but also had no remembrance of any meat at all []
    3. A reading held from the work mentioned above, as a regular service in Benedictine monasteries. [from 14th c.]
      • 1843, TD Fosbroke, British Monachism, p. 52:
        When the hymn was over the Sacrist was to strike the table for collation, and the Deacon to enter with the Gospel, preceded by three converts, carrying the candlestick and censer.
    4. The light meal taken by monks after the reading service mentioned above. [from 14th c.]
    5. Any light meal or snack. [from 16th c.]
      • 2008, Tim Hayward, The Guardian, 13 May 08:
        Yes, absolutely; supper, at least in English tradition, was a cold collation, left out by cook before retiring.
  3. (ecclesiastical) The presentation of a clergyman to a benefice by a bishop, who has it in his own gift.
  4. (law, Scotland) An heir's right to combine the whole heritable and movable estates of the deceased into one mass, sharing it equally with others who are of the same degree of kindred.
  5. (obsolete) The act of conferring or bestowing.
    • Francis Bacon
      Not by the collation of the king [] but by the people.


collation (third-person singular simple present collations, present participle collationing, simple past and past participle collationed)

  1. (obsolete) To partake of a collation, or light meal.
    • Evelyn
      May 20, 1658, I [] collationed in Spring Garden.

Middle French[edit]


collation f (plural collations)

  1. discussion


Old French[edit]


collation f (oblique plural collations, nominative singular collation, nominative plural collations)

  1. discussion