Alma mater

Alma mater
Alma mater statue in front of Low library of Columbia University in New York City

Alma mater (Latin: "nourishing mother"), pronounced UK: /ˈælmə ˈmeɪtər/, US: /ˈɑːlmə ˈmɑːtər/), was used in ancient Rome as a title for various mother goddesses, especially Ceres or Cybele,[1] and in Christianity for the Virgin Mary.


General term

In modern times, it is often any school, college, or university at which one has studied and, usually, from which one has graduated.[2] The term may also refer to a song or hymn associated with a school.[3]

The expression is almost always used in the singular form, but the Latin plural is almae matres.

Alma Mater Studiorum ("Nourishing Mother of Studies") is the motto and original name of the University of Bologna,[4] the oldest continually operating university in the world, and other European universities, such as the Alma Mater Lipsiensis in Leipzig, Germany, have also used the expression in their names.

At Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, British Columbia, the main student government is known as the Alma Mater Society.


On the campus of Columbia University on the steps of Low Library there is a well known bronze statue of Alma Mater by Daniel Chester French. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign also has an Alma Mater statue by Lorado Taft. A mural in Yale University's Sterling Memorial Library depicts alma mater as a bearer of light and truth standing in the midst of the personified arts and sciences, painted in 1932 by Eugene Savage. Outside the United States there is another sculpture of Alma Mater on the steps of the monumental entrance to the Universidad de La Habana, in Havana, Cuba. The statue was cast in 1919 by Mario Korbel, and installed in its current scenic location in 1927 under the direction of architect Raul Otero.

In popular music

"Alma mater" is also used as a song title outside academia.

See also


  1. ^ Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 3rd edition
  2. ^ Alma mater | Define Alma mater at Retrieved July 11, 2011.
  3. ^ Alma mater - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved July 11, 2011.
  4. ^ University of Bologna

External links

Media related to Alma mater at Wikimedia Commons The Wiktionary definition of alma mater

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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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