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From Middle English colleccioun, collection, from Old French collection, from Latin collēctiō, collēctiōnem, from collēctus, from colligō (collect together), composed of con- +‎ legō (bring together, gather, collect), ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *leǵ- (to gather, collect).


  • IPA(key): /kəˈlɛkʃən/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛkʃən
  • Hyphenation: col‧lec‧tion


collection (countable and uncountable, plural collections)

Museum stores its butterfly collection in special specimen drawers.
  1. A set of items or amount of material procured, gathered or presented together.
    The attic contains a remarkable collection of antiques, oddities, and random junk.
    The asteroid belt consists of a collection of dust, rubble, and minor planets.
    This year's Summer Collection will include a wide range of evening wear.
    He has a superb coin collection.
    • 1992, Rudolf M[athias] Schuster, The Hepaticae and Anthocerotae of North America: East of the Hundredth Meridian, volume V, New York, N.Y.: Columbia University Press, →ISBN, page vii:
      Secondly, I continue to base my concepts on intensive study of a limited suite of collections, rather than superficial study of every packet that comes to hand.
    • 1837, William Whewell, History of the Inductive Sciences:
      collections of moisture
    • 1887, Robert Bartholow, A Treatise on the Practice of Medicine:
      a purulent collection
    • 1913, Joseph C[rosby] Lincoln, chapter V, in Mr. Pratt’s Patients, New York, N.Y., London: D[aniel] Appleton and Company, →OCLC:
      Of all the queer collections of humans outside of a crazy asylum, it seemed to me this sanitarium was the cup winner. [] When you're well enough off so's you don't have to fret about anything but your heft or your diseases you begin to get queer, I suppose.
  2. (music) A set of pitch classes used by a composer.
    • 2005, Neil Minturn, The Last Waltz of The Band, page 112:
      The "collectional information" one receives is ambiguous since the collection { C, E, F, G, A } occurs in the key of C and in the key of F.
    • 2009, Brian Moseley, “Form and Transpositional Combination in George Crumb's Lux Aeterna”, in Bruce Quaglia, Jack Boss, editors, Musical Currents from the Left Coast, page 174:
      In fact, students are often taught that specific collections—diatonic, octatonic, and whole-tone, etc.—typify these composers' compositional language.
    • 2012, Marguerite Boland, John Link, Elliott Carter Studies, page 22:
      Simply put, the realm of available collections in a largely diatonic environment is much smaller than it is in truly atonal one.
  3. The activity of collecting.
    Collection of trash will occur every Thursday.
  4. (set theory, topology, mathematical analysis) A set of sets; used because such a thing is in general too large to comply with the formal definition of a set.
  5. A gathering of money for charitable or other purposes, as by passing a contribution box for donations.
  6. (law) Debt collection.
  7. (obsolete) The act of inferring or concluding from premises or observed facts; also, that which is inferred.
  8. (UK) The jurisdiction of a collector of excise.
  9. (Oxford University, usually in the plural) A set of college exams generally taken at the start of the term.
  10. The quality of being collected; calm composure.

Derived terms[edit]


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Alternative forms[edit]


Borrowed from Latin collēctiōnem. Cf. also Old French quieuçon, which may be inherited from the same source, and the modern cueillaison, which was probably formed analogically.



collection f (plural collections)

  1. collection

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


  • Romanian: colecție
  • Turkish: koleksiyon

Further reading[edit]