finishing school

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finishing school (plural finishing schools)

  1. (dated) A private school intended to furnish young women with the social skills and cultural education needed in order to fulfill successfully a woman's traditional role in polite society.
    • 1875, Louisa May Alcott, chapter 4, in Eight Cousins:
      "All she needs is a year or two at a fashionable finishing school, so that at eighteen she can come out with éclat," put in Aunt Clara.
    • 1998, Sharon Bertsch McGrayne, Nobel Prize Women in Science, Carol Publishing Group, page 3, [1]
      Until the 1920s, most European high schools for girls were finishing schools.