Definition of public school in English:

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public school

Pronunciation: /ˈpəblik sko͞ol/


1(Chiefly in North America) a school supported by public funds.
Example sentences
  • Charter schools receive formula-driven tax funds just like public schools.
  • Children are now encouraged to join public schools and funds are sought for the school fees.
  • This doesn't include the property taxes they pay which go directly to funding public schools.
2(In the UK) a private for-fee secondary school.
Example sentences
  • Perhaps some of our celluloid images and commemorations should acknowledge those pilots who could barely speak English, far less muster a public-school accent.
  • The arrival of this ruddy-faced giant, with his public-school accent and naive confidence, proved a turning point.
  • With his slicked-back hair, evening dress and dark three-piece suits for daywear, he looks like a cross between a minor public-school housemaster and Count Dracula on Temazepam.


Late 16th century: from Latin publica schola, denoting a school maintained at the public expense; in England public school (a term recorded from 1580) originally denoted a grammar school under public management, founded for the benefit of the public (contrasting with private school, run for the profit of the proprietor); since the 19th century the term has been applied to the old endowed English grammar schools, and newer schools modeled on them, which have developed into for-fee boarding schools.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pub·lic school

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