Can the word “alma mater” be used to refer to one’s school?

First, let’s deal with the pronunciation. The first “a” in “alma” is like the “a” in “cat”, “bat” and “sat”, while the second is like the “a” in “china”. The “a” in “mater” is like the “a” in “bath” and “path”, and the final “er” is like the “a” in “china”. The main stress is on the first syllable of “mater”. This is just one way of pronouncing the word.

Alma mater means “bountiful mother” and it can be used to refer to the school, college or university that you graduated from. Sometimes, schools and colleges have their own songs; these official songs can also be called “alma mater”.

Source: ‘Know Your English’ ( The Hindu) – October 22, 2007

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