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baccalaureate

[bak-uh-lawr-ee-it, -lor-] /ˌbæk əˈlɔr i ɪt, -ˈlɒr-/
noun
2.
a religious service held at an educational institution, usually on the Sunday before commencement day.
Origin
1615-1625
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
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for post-baccalaureate

baccalaureate

/ˌbækəˈlɔːrɪɪt/
noun
1.
the university degree of Bachelor or Arts, Bachelor of Science, etc
2.
an internationally recognized programme of study, comprising different subjects, offered as an alternative to a course of A levels in Britain
3.
(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
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Word Origin and History for post-baccalaureate

baccalaureate

n.

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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