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A celebratory dinner or entertainment held by a college for old members. The term is recorded from the mid 16th century (in the sense ‘rejoicing, a celebration’) from Latin gaudium ‘joy’, or from gaude ‘rejoice!’.

gaudy night a gaudy; originally as a quotation from Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra (1606–7), ‘Let's have one other gaudy night’, and reinforced by the title of Dorothy L. Sayers's detective novel (1935), set in a fictional Oxford women's college.

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