alma mater

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alma mater the university, school, or college that one once attended. The phrase is recorded from the mid 17th century, in the general sense ‘someone or something providing nourishment’; in Latin, literally ‘bounteous mother’, a title given to various Roman goddesses, notably Ceres and Cybele.

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Alma Mater XIX. — L., ‘bounteous mother’, title given by the Romans to Ceres, Cybele, and other goddesses, transf. to universities and schools as the fostering mothers of their alumni.