n. & v.
1. any set of persons or things grouped together, or graded or differentiated from others esp. by quality (first class; economy class).
2 a a division or order of society (upper class; professional classes). b a caste system, a system of social classes. c (the classes) archaic the rich or educated.
3 colloq. distinction or high quality in appearance, behaviour, etc.; stylishness.
4 a a group of students or pupils taught together. b the occasion when they meet. c their course of instruction.
5 US all the college or school students of the same standing or graduating in a given year (the class of 1990).
6 (in conscripted armies) all the recruits of a given year (the 1950 class).
7 Brit. a division of candidates according to merit in an examination.
8 Biol. a grouping of organisms, the next major rank below a division or phylum.
--v.tr. assign to a class or category.
Phrases and idioms:
class-conscious aware of and reacting to social divisions or one's place in a system of social class. class-consciousness this awareness. class-list Brit. a list of candidates in an examination with the class achieved by each. class war conflict between social classes. in a class of (or on) its (or one's) own unequalled. no class colloq. lacking quality or distinction.
Etymology: L classis assembly