mortar-board

mortarboard

[mawr-ter-bawrd, -bohrd]
noun
1.
a board, usually square, used by masons to hold mortar.
2.
Also called cap. a cap with a close-fitting crown surmounted by a stiff, flat, square piece from which a tassel hangs, worn as part of academic costume.

Origin:
1850–55; mortar2 + board

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Collins
World English Dictionary
mortarboard (ˈmɔːtəˌbɔːd)
 
n
1.  a black tasselled academic cap with a flat square top covered with cloth
2.  Also called: hawk a small square board with a handle on the underside for carrying mortar

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

mortarboard
"academic cap," 1854, from mortar (1) + board (1); so called because it resembles a mason's square board for carrying mortar.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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