One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
In France: any of a number of elite institutions of higher education outside the university system, having a reputation for training many of France's most influential politicians, civil servants, and intellectuals; (in plural) a collective name for these institutions.
Early 20th century; earliest use found in Michigan Technic. From French grande école from grande, feminine of grand + école.
grande école/ˌɡrɒnd eɪˈkɒl/
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