public school, in the United States, a tax-supported elementary or high school open to anyone. In England the term was originally applied to grammar schools endowed for the use of the lay public; however, it has come to be used for the famous endowed preparatory schools that now charge tuition. The English public schools include Charterhouse, Cheltenham, Clifton, Eton, Harrow, Rugby, Westminster, and Winchester. See school.
See also V. Ogilvie, The English Public School (1957).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.