1. A man of any age who has not been married. "As merry and mellow an old bachelor as ever followed a hound." (W. Irving)

2. An unmarried woman.

3. A person who has taken the first or lowest degree in the liberal arts, or in some branch of science, at a college or university; as, a bachelor of arts.

4. A knight who had no standard of his own, but fought under the standard of another in the field; often, a young knight.

5. In the companies of London tradesmen, one not yet admitted to wear the livery; a junior member.

6. <zoology> A kind of bass, an edible fresh water fish (Pomoxys annularis) of the southern United States.

Origin: OF. Bacheler young man, F. Bachelier (cf.Pr. Bacalar, Sp.bachiller, Pg. Bacharel, It. Baccalare), LL. Baccalarius the tenant of a kind of farm called baccalaria, a soldier not old or rich enough to lead his retainers into battle with a banner, person of an inferior academical degree aspiring to a doctorate. In the latter sense, it was afterward changed to baccalaureus. See Baccalaureate.

(01 Mar 1998)

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