Definition of study in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈstədē/

noun (plural studies)

1The devotion of time and attention to acquiring knowledge on an academic subject, especially by means of books: the study of English an application to continue full-time study
More example sentences
  • To meet those challenges, scholars must be proficient in more than one area of study.
  • The curriculum can be completed in three years of full time study, including summers.
  • The unintended consequences have already been the subject of much study in many books.
learning, education, schooling, academic work, scholarship, tuition, research
informal cramming
1.1 (studies) Study as pursued by one person: some students may not be able to resume their studies
More example sentences
  • Their oldest daughter is about to graduate from high school and hopes to continue her studies in higher education.
  • She won scholarships to continue her studies in London at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
  • Breda has also recently been employed to work in Kill Post Office, which allows her to focus more time on her studies and evening classes.
1.2An academic book or article on a particular topic: a study of Jane Austen’s novels
More example sentences
  • His other books include studies of directors Robert Aldrich and David Lean and novelist Raymond Chandler.
  • Many of the volumes were ancient and rare studies on various botanical topics.
  • A number of studies on this topic are likely to be published shortly.
1.3 (studies) Used in the title of an academic subject: a major in East Asian studies
More example sentences
  • We mean to foster debate and circulation of ideas in literary studies and contiguous academic areas.'
  • You can trust a literature/cultural studies academic to infer serious meaning from a web cartoon.
  • The task of reviewing academic publications in literary studies has fallen to the more specialized journals.
2A detailed investigation and analysis of a subject or situation: a study of a sample of 5,000 children the study of global problems
More example sentences
  • All authors contributed to the design of the study and writing of the paper.
  • Jeff Konigsberg had been working in his studio on a diagrammatic wall piece based on structural studies of the space.
  • The study of art history in a Ph.D. program took up the better part of the next 15 years.
investigation, inquiry, research, examination, analysis, review, survey
2.1A portrayal in literature or another art form of an aspect of behavior or character: a study of a man devoured by awareness of his own mediocrity
More example sentences
  • Green Fish is a complex study of characters who are each trapped in their own desperate situations.
  • The literature is replete with studies on various aspects of stress and coping in Western populations.
  • There are no deep philosophical messages or complex character studies going on in The Funhouse.
2.2 archaic A thing that is or deserves to be investigated; the subject of an individual’s study: I have made it my study to examine the nature and character of the Indians
2.3 archaic The object or aim of someone’s endeavors: the acquisition of a fortune is the study of all
2.4 [with adjective] A person who learns a skill or acquires knowledge at a specified speed: I’m a quick study
Originally theatrical slang, referring to an actor who memorizes a role
More example sentences
  • However, Betty was a quick study and took to the role of first lady in a way no one had imagined possible.
  • He has had to stand in for injured dancers in leading roles several times, because he's a quick study.
  • While Milne was not experienced in the wine business, Evans stressed she was a quick study.
3A room used or designed for reading, writing, or academic work.
Example sentences
  • In most homes, it makes sense that any formal dining room has the dual function of a quiet study or reading room.
  • Inside, there are six bedrooms, three bathrooms, a breakfast style kitchen, a study and a utility room.
  • All the bedrooms and studies and sitting rooms were of Chinese style while the dining rooms, lounges and bathrooms were Western.
office, workroom, studio
4A piece of work, especially a drawing, done for practice or as an experiment.
Example sentences
  • Among these were about two dozen gouaches that are studies for the larger oil paintings.
  • Some of the drawings, like stained-glass tracery, are studies for the paintings.
  • This celebrated, rare etching is based on studies Picasso made for a figure of a weeping woman in Guernica.
4.1A musical composition designed to develop a player’s technical skill.
Example sentences
  • This kind of ricercar has little musical interest, and is artistically on a par with Czerny's duller technical studies.
  • Harmony and theory studies supported his first compositional efforts as a teen-ager.
  • Indeed, the pianist Egon Petri once said Czerny wrote all of those studies because he hated children.
5 (a study in) A thing or person that is an embodiment or good example of something: he perched on the edge of the bed, a study in confusion and misery
More example sentences
  • But on Bush, now, they remain a study in caution when it comes to adjudicating on the presidential hopefuls.
  • A flock of sea gulls is set down in the field of alfalfa recently harvested, a study in green and white.
  • Dried stalks that will poke up through snow, a thin shadow, barely a study in black and white.
5.1 informal An amusing or remarkable thing or person: Ira’s face was a study as he approached the car

verb (studies, studying, studied)

[with object]
1Devote time and attention to acquiring knowledge on (an academic subject), especially by means of books: she studied biology and botany
More example sentences
  • In the second and third grade classroom, the teacher and the students studied the topic of immigrants.
  • The students will spend two weeks here with a group of foreign students studying gender issues, chemistry and African literature, and a further two weeks at Phillips Academy.
  • She paid attention during class and studied her notes and books.
learn, read, be taught
1.1Investigate and analyze (a subject or situation) in detail: he has been studying mink for many years
More example sentences
  • Catalyst Women, a non-profit business organization that researches women in the workplace, has studied the situation.
  • They have to study the political situation as it has emerged for devising a strategy accordingly.
  • A Ministry spokesman said they were now studying the geographical situation, as North Ribblesdale is close to Cumbria, where there have been 691 confirmed cases.
investigate, inquire into, research, look into, examine, analyze, explore, review, appraise, conduct a survey of
1.2 [no object] Apply oneself to study: he spent his time listening to the radio rather than studying
More example sentences
  • I am gratified to find that history does indeed support the confidence I place in reading, studying, and applying the ancient truths.
  • The codes then get studied, interpreted and applied by the same system.
  • ‘More will have chosen their course by location due to projected rent costs rather than studying where they genuinely want to,’ he said.
work, review
informal cram, hit the books
1.3 [no object] Acquire academic knowledge at an educational establishment: he studied at the Kensington School of Art
More example sentences
  • A total of 1 370 524 children are studying at public educational establishments this school year.
  • Scores of Muslim boys and girls are studying in educational and technical colleges in various parts of the country.
  • He studied at the famous educational establishments of Darul Uloom Nadwatul Ulama and Madinah University.
1.4 [no object] (study up) US Learn intensively about something, especially in preparation for a test of knowledge: a graduate student studies up for her doctoral exams
More example sentences
  • If Jones is a member of the regular Peak writing staff then I urge him to study up on his knowledge of bands and genres of music.
  • He belongs to a small group of law students who are studying up for proper reasons, and who have been providing colorful alternatives to the DNC all week long.
  • And coming up, lawmakers may be squabbling over its merits, but students of business are studying up on outsourcing.
1.5(Of an actor) try to learn (the words of one’s role).
Example sentences
  • The one thing that probably would be on my mind a lot (besides studying my words, of course) was the play.
  • In 1859, when she was 16, she made her opera debut as Lucia di Lammermoor in New York, after studying the role with the conductor Emmanuele Muzio.
  • Unlike ‘Tristan,’ Domingo has been studying this role only recently.
1.6West Indian Give serious thought or consideration to: the people here don’t make so much noise, so you will find that the government doesn’t have us to study
2Look at closely in order to observe or read: she bent her head to study the plans
More example sentences
  • Rue fumed silently as he hummed contentedly and she watched him closely, studying his movements and actions.
  • Lucas watched him closely, studying every inch of his face from those wide blue eyes right down to the spray of freckles across his nose.
  • Paul watched her closely and studied the elder woman while his mind worked quickly.
scrutinize, examine, inspect, consider, regard, look at, eye, observe, watch, survey
informal check out, eyeball
3 archaic Make an effort to achieve (a result) or take into account (a person or their wishes): with no husband to study, housekeeping is mere play


in a brown study

Absorbed in one’s thoughts.
Apparently originally from brown in the sense 'gloomy'
Example sentences
  • She murmured, and lost herself in a brown study.
  • Andrew and Emily began to get worried about me for I simply moped around or was often in a brown study.
  • After that awakening, I walked around in a brown study, trying to think of an appropriate response from us women.
lost in thought, in a reverie, musing, ruminating, cogitating, dreaming, daydreaming
informal miles away


Middle English: shortening of Old French estudie (noun), estudier (verb), both based on Latin studium 'zeal, painstaking application'.

Words that rhyme with study

bloody, buddy, cruddy, cuddy, muddy, nuddy, ruddy

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: stud·y

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