noun, plural di·plo·mas, Latin di·plo·ma·ta [dih-ploh-muh-tuh] /dɪˈploʊ mə tə/.

a document given by an educational institution conferring a degree on a person or certifying that the person has satisfactorily completed a course of study.
a document conferring some honor, privilege, or power.
a public or official document, especially one of historical interest: a diploma from Carolingian times.

verb (used with object), di·plo·maed, di·plo·ma·ing.

to grant or award a diploma to.

Origin of diploma

1635–45; < Latin diplōma a letter of recommendation, an official document < Greek díplōma a letter folded double, equivalent to diplō-, variant stem of diploûn to double (derivative of diplóos; see diplo-) + -ma suffix of result
Related formspre·di·plo·ma, nounun·di·plo·maed, adjective
Can be confusedcertificate degree diploma license
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for diploma

Contemporary Examples of diploma

Historical Examples of diploma

  • "I forgot how long it takes to get a diploma," he said, walking away again.

    Rose in Bloom

    Louisa May Alcott

  • How appropriate that she shares in the diploma that I doubly value for her sake!

    The Chautauquan, Vol. III, January 1883

    The Chautauquan Literary and Scientific Circle

  • They unanimously elected me an Academician, and I have received the diploma.

    Art in England

    Dutton Cook

  • Whether Biscuit or his mother was prouder of the diploma when it came, would have been hard to tell.

    Sube Cane

    Edward Bellamy Partridge

  • If a popular vote had been necessary, not one of them would yet have her diploma.

British Dictionary definitions for diploma



a document conferring a qualification, recording success in examinations or successful completion of a course of study
an official document that confers an honour or privilege

Word Origin for diploma

C17: from Latin: official letter or document, literally: letter folded double, from Greek; see diplo-
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for diploma

1640s, "state paper, official document," from Latin diploma, from Greek diploma "license, chart," originally "paper folded double," from diploun "to double, fold over," from diploos "double" (see diploid) + -oma. Specific academic sense is 1680s in English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper