Where Does the Word “School” Come From and What Does School Mean In Greek?

The Greek schole which was the original source of school, once meant just the opposite from what the schoolboy of today thinks of that institution.

It meant vacation, leisure, rest.

The education of a Greek boy was by private teachers in reading, writing, arithmetic, singing, and gymnastics. But no man ever considered his education to be completed.

His leisure time was spent in listening to the discussions of learned men, and thus this product of leisure, this use of one’s spare time came also to be called schole.

Eventually the Greeks used the term for the lectures or discussions themselves, and ultimately it included as well the place wherein the instruction was given.

It was the latter sense which descended to English use.

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