Gymnasium (or gymnázium, gimnazija, gimnazjum, etc.) is a term in various European languages for a secondary school that prepares students for higher education at a university. It is comparable to the British English terms grammar school and sixth form college, and to US English preparatory high school. Before the 20th century, the gymnasium system was a widespread feature of educational systems throughout many European countries.
The word γυμνάσιον (gumnásion), from Greek γυμνός (gumnós) 'naked', was first used in Ancient Greece, in the sense of a place for both physical and intellectual education of young men. The latter meaning of a place of intellectual education persisted in many European languages (including Albanian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Greek, German, Hungarian, the Nordic languages, Dutch, Polish, Czech, Serbian, Macedonian, Slovak, Slovenian, and Russian); whereas in English and Spanish, instead, the former meaning of a place for physical education was retained, in the colloquial, abbreviated form "gym".