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See also: Academy



From French académie, from Latin acadēmīa, from Ancient Greek Ἀκαδημία (Akadēmía), a grove of trees and gymnasium outside of Athens where Plato taught; from the name of the supposed former owner of that estate, the Attic hero Akademos. Doublet of academia and Akademeia; compare academe.


  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /əˈkæd.ə.mi/
  • (file)
  • (Scotland) IPA(key): /əˈkad.ə.mɪ/
  • Hyphenation: acad‧e‧my


academy (plural academies)

  1. (classical studies, usually capitalized) The garden where Plato taught. [First attested around 1350 to 1470.][1]
  2. (classical studies, usually capitalized) Plato's philosophical system based on skepticism; Plato's followers. [First attested in the mid 16th century.][1]
  3. An institution for the study of higher learning; a college or a university; typically a private school. [First attested in the mid 16th century.][1]
    • 1760–5, Tobias Smollett, The history of England from the revolution in 1688, to the death of George II, published 1805, page 449:
      The artists of London had long maintained a private academy for improvement in the art of drawing from living figures
    • 1776, David Hume, The life of David Hume[1]:
      In this year 1633, I became acquainted with Nicholas Fiske, licentiate in physic, who was born in Suffolk, near Framingham* Castle, of very good parentage, who educated him at country schools, until he was fit for the university; but he went not to the academy, studying at home both astrology and physic, which he afterwards practised in Colchester; and there was well acquainted with Dr Gilbert, who wrote "De Magnete".
  4. A school or place of training in which some special art is taught. [First attested in the late 16th century.][1]
    the military academy at West Point; a riding academy; the Academy of Music.; a music academy; a language academy
    • 1956, Delano Ames, chapter 9, in Crime out of Mind[2]:
      Rudolf was the bold, bad Baron of traditional melodrama. Irene was young, as pretty as a picture, fresh from a music academy in England. He was the scion of an ancient noble family; she an orphan without money or friends.
  5. A society of learned people united for the advancement of the arts and sciences, and literature, or some particular art or science. [First attested in the early 17th century.][1]
    the French Academy; the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; academies of literature and philology.
  6. (obsolete) The knowledge disseminated in an Academy. [Attested from the early 17th century until the mid 18th century.][1]
  7. (with the, without reference to any specific academy) Academia.
    • 2016, Neoliberal Tools (and Archives): A Political History of Digital Humanities[3]:
      In the academy and outside of it, the privileging of technical expertise above other forms of knowledge is a political gesture, and one that has proved highly effective in neutralizing critique of established power relations.
  8. A body of established opinion in a particular field, regarded as authoritative.
  9. (UK, education) A school directly funded by central government, independent of local control.


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  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Brown, Lesley, ed. The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. 5th. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.