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The list of synonyms is a little troublesome. Except for "uni", all of the terms have considerably broader application. "College" is even worse. It could refer to

  • One of the colleges within a university (Magadalene college) (more British, but also college of liberal arts in the US
  • Any of several kinds of independent institution (The local community college -- probably just US)
  • University, as in when I went to college, again possibly just US
  • The college of cardinals
  • Any of a number of similar institutions

Hey, I just wrote a definition for "college" -- could someone merge it in please? I'm a little strapped for time at the moment

This definition does not seem to differentiate between "university" and "college." How are they different?

University and college are almost the same thing, except that a college is a single school, while a university consists of several colleges or schools (Medicine, Law, Philosophy, etc.). Other than this, they have the same accreditation and offer the same degrees. —Stephen 16:50, 8 March 2007 (UTC)


Regarding the development of universities in the thirteenth century, Jacques Le Goff (and Barbara H. Rosenwein as well in her "A short history of the Middle Ages") writes in his "The Birth of Europe 400-1500" that university (or Latin universitas) means "corporation". Rosenwein writes that it means "guild". Both authors write that the gatherings of students and teachers (or masters) were in line with the development of organizing trades and professions. Those other trades and professions were organizing in guilds.

My question is: is it true that universitas meant guild or corporation? Wiktionary doesn't list it. Thanks 15:26, 15 December 2010 (UTC)

The etymological sources and Latin dictioanries say it referred to many different types of groups of people, even in classical Latin. See university#Etymology. Which meanings may have been lost or become dominant in later times is less clear from the sources I have been able to access. DCDuring TALK 17:47, 30 December 2010 (UTC)