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poet laureate

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noun, plural poets laureate.

(in Great Britain) a poet appointed for life as an officer of the royal household, formerly expected to write poems in celebration of court and national events.
a poet recognized or acclaimed as the most eminent or representative of a country or locality.
(formerly) a poet whose efforts were officially recognized, as by a sovereign, university, etc.

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Origin of poet laureate

Middle English word dating back to 1350–1400
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

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British Dictionary definitions for poet laureate

poet laureate

noun plural poets laureate

British the poet appointed as court poet of Britain who is given a post as an officer of the Royal Household. The first was Ben Jonson in 1616
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

Cultural definitions for poet laureate

poet laureate

The national poet in Britain. Historically, the poet laureate's duty has been to compose official poetry for the king's or queen's birthday and for great public occasions, such as victories in war, coronations, and births and weddings in the royal family. The poets laureate of Britain have included Geoffrey Chaucer, William Wordsworth, and Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

notes for poet laureate

The largely ceremonial position of poet laureate was created in the United States in 1985.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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