Word of the Week: Ivy League

TO talk about Ivy League schools is to walk down the path to some prickly, uncomfortable words, namely elite and privilege. Frank Bruni, New York Times columnist, who has written extensively about college admissions in the United States, speaks of them as “venerated colleges.”

In his book Where You Go Is Not Who You Will Be, Bruni debunks the idea that an Ivy League school admission will make or break your future. In truth, Ivy League holds “no monopoly on corner offices, governors’ mansions, or the most prestigious academic and scientific grants.”

So which are the Ivy League schools?

There are eight: Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Dartmouth, Cornell, Brown, and the University of Pennsylvania, all of them long-established universities in the eastern United States with high academic and social prestige.

And why are they called Ivy League?

The word originated in the 1930s, with reference to the ivy traditionally growing over the walls of the university buildings.


I invite you to write to me at  viv@mywritinghome.com if you have any word ideas you’d like to share.

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