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mortarboard

[mawr-ter-bawrd, -bohrd] /ˈmɔr tərˌbɔrd, -ˌboʊrd/
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
1850-1855
1850-55; mortar2 + board
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for mortarboard
  • Tapper not only made appearances at civic events, he donned a mortarboard and became an online tutor for local schoolchildren.
British Dictionary definitions for mortarboard

mortarboard

/ˈmɔːtəˌbɔːd/
noun
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 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 mortarboard
n.

also mortar-board, "academic cap," 1854, probably from mortar (1) + board (n.1); so called because it resembles a mason's square board for carrying mortar. Earlier it was called a mortar cap (1680s) or simply morter (c.1600), from French mortier.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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