Mortar board

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The term mortar board is not as old as the use of the mortar board itself. We will examine the definition of the term mortar board, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

Most often, the term mortar board describes a certain type of academic cap worn by graduating high schoolers and bachelor and master degree candidates. The term is taken from the original mortar board, a type of board used by bricklayers to hold mortar. The comparison of the shape of the academic cap and the bricklayer’s mortar board was first suggested in the 1850s. The comparison stuck. However, the academic hat in some form has been around since the 1200s. It is most probably descended from the biretta, a cap worn by Catholic clergy. A tassel is usually worn hanging from the mortar board. This tassel is worn hanging from the right side of the cap before graduation, after the degree is conferred the tassel is moved to the left side. Note that the term mortar board is rendered as two words, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, though it also seen as one word as in mortarboard.


However, before she dons the maroon mortar board, Ronda Johnson-Dove will be hoping to keep her current crown. (The Pierce Pioneer News)

If you added pick up mortar board and gown, your mom might have been among the six mothers amid 682 graduates participating in Sunday’s commencement ceremony at the University of Puget Sound. (The News Tribune)

Joining together one last time, the classmates sang the PHS alma mater, then enjoyed another long-standing tradition, as they threw their mortarboard caps into the air in celebration of their achievement. (The Clay County Times-Democrat)