What do the words 'Valedictorian' and 'Salutatorian' actually mean?
Question #53797. Asked by eytank.
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lothruin 23 year member
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The word Valedictorian stems from "valediction", which is from a latin root meaning "to say farewell to". The word Valedictorian refers to the student with the highest academic rank in their class, who has earned the honor of giving the valedictory, or farewell, speech at the graduation ceremony.
The word 'Salutatorian' is from the root for Saluation, meaning a greeting, and refers to the student with the second highest academic rank, who earned the honor of giving the salutatory, or opening speech at the graduation ceremony.