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[lahy-see-uh m]
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  1. an institution for popular education providing discussions, lectures, concerts, etc.
  2. a building for such activities.
  3. (initial capital letter) the gymnasium where Aristotle taught, in ancient Athens.
  4. a lycée.
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Origin of lyceum

1570–80; < Latin Lycēum, Lycīum < Greek Lýkeion place in Athens, so named from the neighboring temple of Apollo; noun use of neuter of lýkeios, epithet of Apollo, variously explained
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for lyceum


noun (now chiefly in the names of buildings)
  1. a public building for concerts, lectures, etc
  2. US a cultural organization responsible for presenting concerts, lectures, etc
  3. another word for lycée
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noun the Lyceum
  1. a school and sports ground of ancient Athens: site of Aristotle's discussions with his pupils
  2. the Aristotelian school of philosophy
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Word Origin

from Greek Lukeion, named after a temple nearby dedicated to Apollo Lukeios, an epithet of unknown origin
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 lyceum


1580s, Latin form of Greek lykeion, name of a grove or garden with covered walks near Athens where Aristotle taught, from neuter of Lykeios "wolf-slayer," an epithet of Apollo, whose temple was nearby, from lykos "wolf." Hence lycée, name given in France to state-run secondary schools. In England, early 19c., lyceum was the name taken by a number of literary societies; in U.S., after c.1820, it was the name of institutes that sponsored popular lectures in science and literature.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper