"body of scholars and students within a university," late 14c., from Old French college "collegiate body" (14c.), from Latin collegium "community, society, guild," literally "association of collegae," plural of collega "partner in office," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see com-) + leg-, stem of legare "to choose," from PIE root *leg- (1) "to collect, gather." At first meaning any corporate group, the sense of "academic institution" attested from 1560s became the principal sense in 19c. via use at Oxford and Cambridge.
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