Originally: the school of philosophy founded by Plato in Athens in the 4th century b.c., as distinguished from schools founded by later Heads of the Academy, namely the Middle Academy of Arcesilaus, and the New Academy of Carneades. More recently: the Academy following the death of Plato or his immediate successors.
Late 16th century; earliest use found in Thomas North (1535–?1603), translator. From old + academy, in quot. 1579 after Middle French ancienne Academie.