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A study can be a room or space used for reading, writing, and any activity requiring focus of the mind. Historically, the study of a house was reserved for use as the private office and reading room of the father as the head of a household, but today studies are generally either used to operate a home business or else open to the whole family. However, they are usually off-limits to young children.

A typical study might contain a desk, chair, computer, a desk lamp or two, and bookshelves. A spare bedroom is often utilized as a study, but many modern homes have a room specifically designated as a study. Such rooms are usually located in a convenient area on the main floor of the house and may be referred to as a den, home office, or library.

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  • 1. In certain senses of L. studium (chiefly in translations from Latin): Affection, friendliness, devotion to another's welfare; partisan sympathy; desire, inclination; pleasure or interest felt in something. Obs.
  • 2. a. An employment, occupation, pursuit. Obs.
b. ? Ostensible function or character. Obs.
  • 3.a. A state of mental perplexity or anxious thought. Sometimes with indirect question: Doubt whether, etc. Obs.
b. A state of reverie or abstraction. Obs. exc. in BROWN STUDY.
  • 4. a. Thought or meditation directed to the accomplishment of a purpose; studied or deliberate effort or contrivance; also, the object or aim of (a person's) solicitous endeavour, one's ‘concern’.
b. of one's own study: of one's own composition. Obs. rare.
  • 5. a. Application of mind to the acquisition of learning; mental labour, reading and reflection directed to learning, literary composition, invention, or the like.
b. at (his) study: as a student at a university or college. Obs.
c. Acquirements, learning. Obs.
d. A department of study; the cultivation of a particular branch of learning or science. Often in collect. pl., a person's work as a student.
  • 6. a. The action of studying (something specified or implied); mental effort in the acquisition of (some kind of learning); attentive reading of (a book, etc.), or careful examination or observation of (an object, a question, etc.). Phrase, to make a study of, to study, observe carefully.
b. Theatr. The action of committing to memory one's part in a play. Hence, to have or be a quick, slow, etc. study, to be quick, slow, etc. in learning by heart; also transf. in general contexts.
  • 7. a. That which is studied; the object of one's study. Chiefly with possessive.
b. Something worth studying, or that requires to be studied; an object presenting effects of colour (and the like) attractive to an artist. Hence applied to the face registering an expression of incredulity, etc. (colloq.).
  • 8. a. A room in a house or other building, furnished with books, and used for private study, reading, writing, or the like. Often applied to ‘the private room or office of the master of a house, however it may be used’ (Cent. Dict.). In Public Schools (and other large schools), the private room for study and other occupations of one or more boys.
b. A room or cupboard containing books, etc.
c. The books contained in a ‘study’ (sense 8, 8b); a student's collection of books, etc.; a private library. Often a study of books. Obs.
d. The office or place of business of a professional man. (= F. étude.) Obs.
  • 9. A seat of learning. general study, study general (= med.L. studium generale), a university.
  • 10. a. An artistic production executed for the sake of acquiring skill or knowledge, or to serve as a preparation for future work; a careful preliminary sketch for a work of art, or (more usually) for some detail or portion of it; an artist's pictorial record of his observation of some object, incident, or effect, or of something that occurs to his mind, intended for his own guidance in his subsequent work. Also, occas., a drawing, painting, or piece of sculpture aiming to bring out the characteristics of the object represented, as they are revealed by especially careful observation.
b. A discourse or literary composition devoted to the detailed consideration of some question, or the minute description of some object; a literary work executed as an exercise or as an experiment in some particular style or mode of treatment.


Intransitive uses

  • 1. a. To apply the mind to the acquisition of learning, whether by means of books, observation, or experiment. Const. in, on, upon (a book, a branch of learning). See also sense 1d.
b. quasi-refl. with complement.
c. To follow one's educational or professional studies at a university, college, or the like; to be a student or learner of some science or art under a professor or master. Const. in.
d. To make a close study of (a subject), to ‘bone’ up (on, in), esp. in preparation for some display of knowledge (intr. use of sense 7b). U.S. colloq.
  • 2. a. To think intently; to meditate (about, of, on, upon, in); to reflect, try to recollect something or to come to a decision. Now dial. and U.S. colloq.
b. Phrase, to study by or in oneself. Obs.
c. To be in doubt or perplexity; to ‘take thought’ anxiously. Obs.
d. With indirect question: To debate with oneself, deliberate, consider. Obs.
e. To ask oneself without answer, ‘wonder’ why, what, etc. Obs.
f. To search, ‘cast about’ for. Obs.
  • 3. To exercise oneself, employ one's thought or effort in. Obs.
  • 4. a. With inf.: To endeavour, make it one's aim, set oneself deliberately to do something. arch.
b. With clause: To employ one's effort that.
  • 5. [After L. studre with dat.] To be addicted to; to direct one's efforts to; to be solicitous for, after; to set one's mind upon. Obs.

Transitive uses

  • 6.a. To ponder over, meditate upon. Obs.
b. causatively. To cause to muse; to perplex. Obs. exc. dial.
b. colloq. to study up: to study (a subject) in view of some special emergency, e.g. an examination; to ‘get up’.
  • 8. a. To be occupied with (a specific branch of learning) as the subject of one's educational course or professional training.
b. In passive, To be educated. Obs.
  • 9. a. To read (a book, a passage, an author) with close attention.
b. Of an actor: To commit to memory and exercise oneself in the rendering of (a part).
  • 10. a. To examine in detail, seek to become minutely acquainted with or to understand (a phenomenon, a state of circumstances, a series of events, a person's character, etc.); to investigate (a problem).
b. To scrutinize (a visible object) in order to ascertain its nature or to be familiar with or interpret its appearance; loosely, to look at as if examining minutely.
  • 11. To aim at, seek to achieve. Now only, to be solicitous of, aim at (some quality in one's own action).
  • 12. To meditate, purpose. Obs.
  • 13. To devise, excogitate. Now only with out.
  • 14. To exercise thought and deliberation in (an action, composition, etc.).
  • 15. To pay practical regard to, ‘consider’ (a person's wishes, feelings or interests); hence colloq., to be careful of the convenience or feelings of, to humour (a person).