Definition of mortarboard in US English:



  • 1An academic cap with a stiff, flat, square top and a tassel.

    • ‘I could see the tall stone buildings, the clocks ticking with civic pride on ornate towers and a flurry of black gowns and mortar boards on bicycles.’
    • ‘With undergraduate degrees from both Victoria and Auckland Universities under his mortar board and the world at his academic feet, Ronald Syme moved on to Oriel College in Oxford, gaining first class honours in Greek and Latin.’
    • ‘I had to bring my mortar board back with me (it's been hanging on the back of my bedroom door at home since March 2003).’
    • ‘As he passed the representatives of the university, they doffed their mortar boards.’
    • ‘So mortar boards off to the lively folk at the Yorkshire Philosophical Society.’
    • ‘In other news, I have been replaced the mortar board that was sacrificed to The Mitre restaurant in the immediate aftermath of this summer's exams, and sorted out my BA gown, in preparation for next week's graduation ceremony.’
    • ‘Before any teacher lobs his/her mortar board in my direction, hands up those teachers with a degree.’
    • ‘I was going to be there and wear the mortar board, and I was going to graduate.’
    • ‘So he'll leave it to readers to decide if the Philosopher might not have had his mortar board screwed down a little too tight while collecting his doctorate.’
    • ‘Declining photographers' requests to model the ceremonial mortar board he had tucked under his arm, he’
    • ‘Kitted out in a gown and mortar board in University College Cork in May 2002, Keane said he felt ‘slightly embarrassed in front of the other people getting doctorates‘.’
    • ‘J. P. Newell, he always wore his gown, mortar board, exquisitely coloured hood and dog collar,’ he writes.’
    • ‘Do they have to keep a mortar board on, or something?’
    • ‘But if he's right, if wholesale lying has been going on for decades, those he names deserve to be stripped of their mortar boards and gowns.’
    • ‘Now the world's most famous referee is to place a mortar board on his trademark bald pate and make the journey from his native Italy to Hull's Queen Victoria Square when he is honoured for his outstanding contribution to sport and fair play.’
    • ‘We are a broad church here, for some there is talk of different hats, the creative and the scholarly, for others the move is seamless, as if the baseball cap can be worn successfully under, or with, or instead of the mortar board or the bonnet.’
    • ‘But let's face it: When you're 22 years old and sitting there with a mortar board lid on, the last thing that you have in mind is taking notes on whatever the speaker has to say.’
    • ‘That's well and good, but what about those who didn't immediately trade their mortar board for the boardroom?’
    • ‘But 1969 would prove to be the zenith of mortar boards and graduation gowns.’
    • ‘Her father, who had worn a cap all his life, considered the mortar board for a while and then asked for his own cap back.’
  • 2A small square board with a handle on the underside, used by bricklayers for holding mortar.

    • ‘If we have 13 bricklayers each laying 12 block per course, we need 30 mortar boards for them to work off of.’
    • ‘It shows guys holding mortar boards with bricks on their heads running down planks.’
    mortar board, academic cap
    View synonyms