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noun, plural di·plo·mas, Latin di·plo·ma·ta [dih-ploh-muh-tuh] /dɪˈploʊ mə tə/.
  1. 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.
  2. a document conferring some honor, privilege, or power.
  3. a public or official document, especially one of historical interest: a diploma from Carolingian times.
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verb (used with object), di·plo·maed, di·plo·ma·ing.
  1. to grant or award a diploma to.
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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. 2018

Related Words

credentials, warrant, voucher, degree, recognition, charter, confirmation, authority, commission, award, honor, shingle, sheepskin

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British Dictionary definitions for diploma


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

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper