Etymology
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salutatorian (n.)

1841, "member of a college graduating class who pronounces the salutatory oration at the annual commencement exercises," American English; with -ian + salutatory "of the nature of a salutation," here in the specific sense "designating the welcoming address given at college commencement exercises" (1702). The address, usually in Latin, typically was given by the second-ranking graduating student.

updated on December 05, 2021

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Definitions of salutatorian from WordNet

salutatorian (n.)
a graduating student with the second highest academic rank; may deliver the opening address at graduation exercises;
Synonyms: salutatory speaker
From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.