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fraternity

[fruh-tur-ni-tee] /frəˈtɜr nɪ ti/
noun, plural fraternities.
1.
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.
2.
a group of persons associated by or as if by ties of brotherhood.
3.
any group or class of persons having common purposes, interests, etc.:
the medical fraternity.
4.
an organization of laymen for religious or charitable purposes; sodality.
5.
the quality of being brotherly; brotherhood:
liberty, equality, and fraternity.
6.
the relation of a brother or between brothers.
Origin
1300-1350
1300-50; Middle English fraternite < Latin frāternitās. See fraternal, -ity
Related forms
interfraternity, adjective
nonfraternity, noun, plural nonfraternities.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for fraternities

fraternity

/frəˈtɜːnɪtɪ/
noun (pl) -ties
1.
a body of people united in interests, aims, etc: the teaching fraternity Gender-neutral form community
2.
brotherhood
3.
(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 fraternities

fraternity

n.

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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