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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Novitiate \No*vi"ti*ate\, n. [LL. novitiatus: cf. F. noviciat.] [1913 Webster] 1. The state of being a novice; time of initiation or instruction in rudiments. [1913 Webster] 2. Hence: The time of probation in a religious house before taking the vows. [1913 Webster] 3. One who is going through a novitiate, or period of probation; a novice. --Addison. [1913 Webster] 4. The place where novices live or are trained. [R.] [1913 Webster]