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[fruh-tur-ni-tee] /frəˈtɜr nɪ ti/
noun, plural fraternities.
a local or national organization of male students, primarily for social purposes, usually with secret initiation and rites and a name composed of two or three Greek letters.
a group of persons associated by or as if by ties of brotherhood.
any group or class of persons having common purposes, interests, etc.:
the medical fraternity.
an organization of laymen for religious or charitable purposes; sodality.
the quality of being brotherly; brotherhood:
liberty, equality, and fraternity.
the relation of a brother or between brothers.
Origin of fraternity
1300-50; Middle English fraternite < Latin frāternitās. See fraternal, -ity
Related forms
interfraternity, adjective
nonfraternity, noun, plural nonfraternities. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for fraternity
  • Think only of the initiation into fraternity and sorority houses.
  • Prospective fraternity and sorority members are still kicked, paddled and punched.
  • When a college's social reputation threatens to overwhelm its academic stature, the fraternity house stands.
  • It reminded me of a fraternity hazing with the older monks giving the younger ones grief.
  • Most of the time, when a university penalizes a campus group for hazing, it's a fraternity.
  • In fact, they have remained surprisingly conspicuous, becoming a kind of secular scripture for the aid fraternity.
  • Binge drinking and alcohol-related deaths have inspired a movement to outlaw beer and booze in fraternity houses.
  • The aid fraternity is fascinated and appalled by these two sorry affairs.
  • Hazing and partying have been central to college fraternity life for a long time.
  • Or someone in the reviewer's intellectual fraternity.
British Dictionary definitions for fraternity


noun (pl) -ties
a body of people united in interests, aims, etc: the teaching fraternity Gender-neutral form community
(US & Canadian) a secret society joined by male students, usually functioning as a social club
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for fraternity

early 14c., "body of men associated by common interest," from Old French fraternité (12c.), from Latin fraternitatem (nominative fraternitas) "brotherhood," from fraternus "brotherly," from frater "brother," from PIE *bhrater (see brother). Meaning "state or condition of being as brothers" is from late 15c. College Greek-letter organization sense is from 1777, first in reference to Phi Beta Kappa.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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