alma mater

\ \ [17] Alma mater literally means ‘mother who fosters or nourishes’. The Latin adjective almusgiving nourishment’, derives from the verb alerenourish’ (source of English alimony and alimentary). The epithet alma mater was originally applied by the Romans to a number of goddesses whose particular province was abundance, notably Ceres and Cybele. In the 17th century it began to be used in English with reference to a person’s former school or college, thought of as a place of intellectual and spiritual nourishment (Alexander Pope was amongst its earliest users, although the reference is far from kind: ‘Proceed, great days! ’till Learning fly the shore … ’Till Isis’ Elders reel, their pupils’ sport, And Alma mater lie dissolv’d in Port!’ Dunciad 1718).
\ \ If that which nourishes is almus, those who are nourished are alumni (similarly derived from the verb alere). Alumnus was first applied in English to a pupil – and more specifically a former pupil or graduate – in the 17th century; an early reference combines the notions of alumnus and alma mater: ‘Lieutenant Governor … promised his Interposition for them, as become such an Alumnus to such an Alma Mater’, William Sewall’s Diary 12 October 1696. The first example of the feminine form, alumna, comes in the 1880s.

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Alma\ mater — Alma Mater …   Deutsche Rechtschreibung Änderungen

  • Alma\ mater — Alma Mater …   Wörterbuch Veränderungen in der deutschen Rechtschreibung

  • Alma Mater — als Statue in den USA Alma Mater (von lateinisch alma „nährend“, „gütig“ und mater, „Mutter“) ist im deutschen Sprachraum heute die Bezeichnung für Universitäten. Inhaltsverzeichnis …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Alma mater — als Statue in den USA „Alma Mater“ (lateinisch alma mater, nährende Mutter) ist eine Redewendung, mit der im deutschen Sprachraum vorwiegend Universitäten bezeichnet werden, da die Studenten dort metaphorisch mit Bildung und Wissen genährt werden …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Alma Mater — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Alma et Mater. L Alma Mater est une expression d origine latine, traduisible par « mère nourricière ». Le terme était employé dans la Rome antique pour désigner la déesse mère[réf. nécessaire]. À l …   Wikipédia en Français

  • alma mater — ● alma mater nom féminin singulier (latin alma mater, mère nourricière) En Belgique, en Suisse, au Canada, l Université. alma mater [almamatɛʀ] n. f. sing. ÉTYM. 1890, in le Tour du monde; mots lat. « mère nourricière ». → Alme. ❖ ♦ (Souvent par… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • alma máter — 1 (lit.) f. Expresión latina que significa literalmente «alma nutricia», usada para referirse a la universidad. 2 (lit.) Se aplica también a la persona que impulsa o da vitalidad a algo. * * * alma máter. (Loc. lat.; literalmente, madre nutricia… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Alma Mater — late 14c., Latin, lit. bountiful mother, a title Romans gave to goddesses, especially Ceres and Cybele, from alma, fem. of almus nourishing, from alere to nourish (see OLD (Cf. old)) + mater mother (see MOTHER (Cf. mother) (n.1)). First used 1710 …   Etymology dictionary

  • Alma Mater — Al ma Ma ter [L., fostering mother.] A college or seminary where one is educated. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Alma mater. — (parens). См. Родина святая …   Большой толково-фразеологический словарь Михельсона (оригинальная орфография)

  • alma mater — лат. (альма матэр) см. альма матер. Толковый словарь иностранных слов Л. П. Крысина. М: Русский язык, 1998 …   Словарь иностранных слов русского языка

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