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[bak-uh-lawr-ee-it, -lor-] /ˌbæk əˈlɔr i ɪt, -ˈlɒr-/
a religious service held at an educational institution, usually on the Sunday before commencement day.
1615-25; < Medieval Latin baccalaureātus, equivalent to baccalaure(us) advanced student, bachelor (for baccalārius (see bachelor), alteration by association with Latin phrase bacca laureus laurel berry) + -ātus -ate1
Related forms
postbaccalaureate, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for baccalaureate
  • baccalaureate degree, post-baccalaureate degree preferred.
  • Previous academic experience in a baccalaureate college or university setting is preferred.
  • Facilitate student success in a new theatre baccalaureate program.
  • Previous teaching experience at the baccalaureate or higher degree level.
  • The community college baccalaureate emerging trends and policy issues.
British Dictionary definitions for baccalaureate


the university degree of Bachelor or Arts, Bachelor of Science, etc
an internationally recognized programme of study, comprising different subjects, offered as an alternative to a course of A levels in Britain
(US) a farewell sermon delivered at the commencement ceremonies in many colleges and universities
Word Origin
C17: from Medieval Latin baccalaureātus, from baccalaureus advanced student, alteration of baccalāriusbachelor; influenced in folk etymology by Latin bāca berry + laureus laurel
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 baccalaureate

1620s, "university degree of a bachelor," from Medieval Latin baccalaureatus, from baccalaureus "student with the first degree," altered by a play on words with bacca lauri "laurel berry" (laurels being awarded for academic success).

The Medieval Latin word perhaps ultimately is derived from Latin baculum "staff" (see bacillus), which the young student might carry, but it is more likely just a re-Latinization of bachelor (q.v.) in its academic sense. In modern U.S. usage, the word usually is short for baccalaureate-sermon (1864), a religious farewell address to the graduating class.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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