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Slang Dictionary: Valedictorian

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What Does "Valedictorian" Mean

What Does “Valedictorian” Mean?

“Valedictorian” is a term used to refer to the student who achieves the highest academic ranking in their graduating class. It is an honor awarded to the student with the highest grade point average (GPA) and is often recognized by delivering a farewell speech, known as the valedictory address, during the graduation ceremony.

Related Words

  • Salutatorian: The second-highest ranked student in a graduating class who often delivers a welcome address, known as the salutatory address.
  • Honors Student: A general term used to describe students who excel academically and often take advanced courses.

Where Does This Word Come From?

The term “valedictorian” has Latin roots, originating from the word “valedicere,” which means “to say farewell.” It symbolizes the student who bids farewell to their fellow graduates through a speech during the commencement ceremony, reflecting on their academic journey.

Who Uses This Word?

“Valedictorian” is a term commonly used in educational institutions, especially during graduation ceremonies. It is also frequently mentioned in academic contexts, scholarship applications, and discussions about academic achievements.

Examples of Using This Word

  1. “She worked incredibly hard to become the valedictorian of her graduating class.”
  2. “The valedictorian’s speech was inspirational and left a lasting impression on everyone.”

What to Replace This Word in Academic Writing

In formal academic writing, it is appropriate to use terms like “top-ranked student” or “student with the highest academic achievement” instead of “valedictorian” to ensure clarity and maintain a formal tone.

Quote of the Day

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela

(Highlighting the significance of academic achievements, including the valedictorian title, in making a positive impact on the world)


Understanding the slang term “valedictorian” sheds light on the remarkable achievements of students who excel academically and serve as role models for their peers. It signifies dedication, hard work, and a commitment to education. As valedictorians deliver their farewell speeches, they inspire others to reach for excellence and make a difference in the world.