Word Confusion: Collage versus College

Posted June 29, 2015 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

A “collage student”? Really? I ran across this in an author’s book description, and I know she didn’t mean that the student was in art classes…

While collage is a mess of different objects and papers, just like college, it just ain’t the same. A collage gets hung up on a wall when it’s done…hmmm…you could say the same about that college diploma. No, no, sorry, it still doesn’t mean they’re the same.

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end. Consider sharing this Word Confusion with friends by tweeting it.

Collage College
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Dictionary.com: collage
A fiber collage from The Detour series

Image courtesy of The Eye’s Delight

Holly Nails Mexican Food is a collage of fabric, paint, clay, and threads.

The main building of Cardiff University

Image by Stan Zurek (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A stately look for a college, although this is a university.

Part of Grammar:
Noun; Verb, transitive

Noun plural: collages
Third person present verb: collages
Past tense or past participle: collaged
Gerund or present participle: collaging

Noun (often attributive)
A piece of art made by sticking various different materials such as photographs and pieces of paper or fabric onto a backing

  • The art of making collages
  • A combination or collection of various things

Verb, transitive:
Make a collage of

An educational institution or establishment, in particular:

  • One providing higher education or specialized professional or vocational training
  • [US; within a university] A school offering a general liberal arts curriculum leading only to a bachelor’s degree
  • [Britain] Any of a number of independent institutions within certain universities, each having its own teaching staff, students, and buildings
  • [British] A private secondary school
  • The teaching staff and students of a college considered collectively

An organized group of professional people with particular aims, duties, and privileges

Hannah Höch, Man Ray, Kurt Schwitters, and Raoul Hausmann are some of the famous collage artists of the twentieth century.

Eileen Agar has done some very funny collage pieces.

Collage is a mixed media art form and can use absolutely anything in its creation.

I often refer to my fiber art as representational fabric collage.

Verb, transitive:
The artist has collaged old photos, cartoon figures, and telephone numbers into a unique work of art.

My brother wanted to go to college.

I’m at college studying graphic design.

Harvard, Yale, and Dartmouth started as schools offering a liberal arts degree.

English colleges were initially set up to discipline lawless students by placing them in a more supervised environment (Trevelyan).

Eton College is a private secondary school.

The college was shocked by his death.

The electoral college is responsible for actually electing the president of the United States.

Noun: collagist Adjective: collegial, collegiate, postcollege, postcollegiate, precollege, precollegiate, procollegiate
Adverb: collegiately
Noun: collegiateness, postcollege, precollege, subcollege
Slang: joe college
History of the Word:
Early 20th century from the French and literally meaning gluing. Late Middle English from the Old French, which is from the Latin collegium meaning partnership or associatio from collega meaning partner in office, which is from col- (together with) + legare (depute).

Return to top

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves?