Meaning of poet laureate

po'et lau'reate

Pronunciation: [key]
— pl. poets laureate.
  1. (in Great Britain) a poet appointed for life as an officer of the royal household, formerly expected to write poems in celebration of court and national events.
  2. a poet recognized or acclaimed as the most eminent or representative of a country or locality.
  3. (formerly) a poet whose efforts were officially recognized, as by a sovereign, university, etc.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.