Definition of baccalaureate in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˌbakəˈlɔːrɪət/


1An examination intended to qualify successful candidates for higher education. See also International Baccalaureate.
Example sentences
  • To earn a high school diploma, students must take an exam called a baccalaureate.
  • Pupils taking a science baccalaureate would be obliged to study a foreign language and those studying the arts version would have to include basic maths and science.
  • The Harrogate and Knaresborough MP said the new baccalaureate should allow higher rewards for pupils taking subjects like maths.
2A university bachelor’s degree: [as modifier]: baccalaureate degrees
More example sentences
  • Recently, St. George's University began offering baccalaureate degree programs at its school of arts and sciences.
  • His baccalaureate and doctoral degrees are from the University of Pennsylvania.
  • The university could be offering a four-year baccalaureate degree program in midwifery through the faculty of nursing as early as September.
3US A religious service held at some educational institutions before commencement, including a farewell sermon to the graduating students.
Example sentences
  • But when I got there on a recent Sunday morning, I learned that it wasn't so much a graduation as a baccalaureate, which is some sort of religious ceremony.


Mid 17th century (in sense 2): from French baccalauréat or medieval Latin baccalaureatus, from baccalaureus 'bachelor'. The earlier form baccalarius was altered by wordplay to conform with bacca lauri 'laurel berry', because of the laurels awarded to scholars. sense 1 dates from 1970.

Words that rhyme with baccalaureate

laureate, professoriate

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: bac¦ca|laur¦eate

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.