Definition of alma mater in English:

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alma mater

Pronunciation: /ˌälmə ˈmädər/


(one's Alma Mater)
1The school, college, or university that one once attended.
Example sentences
  • These schools are Kallis’ ‘Alma Mater’: Wynberg Boys High in Cape Town, Selborne College in East London, Maritzburg College in Pietermaritzburg and Pretoria Boys High in Pretoria.
  • I could get used to Melbourne as an Alma Mater (the weekend turned out to be a wonderful period of revelation in this regard, but more on that later).
  • For the first time since I’ve graduated, I can say that I am proud of my alma mater.
1.1The anthem of a school, college, or university.
Example sentences
  • And best of all, I've already got an Alma Mater tune for them (click on the Playbook on the table)!
  • The new Alma Mater was sung at Graduation for the first time on May 10.
  • My high school doesn't have an alma mater, so I was asked to write one because nobody else in the school shows the ability/interest of writing music, and all the music teachers bugged out on it.


Mid 17th century (in the general sense 'someone or something providing nourishment'): Latin, literally 'bounteous mother'.

  • This phrase, used with reference to a university or college once attended, first had the general sense ‘someone or something providing nourishment’; in Latin the literal meaning is ‘bounteous, nourishing mother’. It was a title given by the Romans to several goddesses but in particular to Ceres and Cybele, both representing fostering mother-figures. Alumnus (mid 17th century) is related, being Latin for ‘nursling, pupil’, from alere ‘nourish’, source of alma.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: al·ma ma·ter

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