The Jargon

This is a list of definitions of words which are unique to the University of Cambridge, or have special meanings at Cambridge, or refer to places at Cambridge, and some associated abbreviations. There are some definitions local to Queens' College.

At present, there are no live hyper-text links in this document.

Absit - an extinct permission, granted by a Tutor, for a student to be away from Cambridge during the day.

Accommodation Syndicate - formerly the Lodgings Syndicate.

Act - successful candidates for the degree of Doctor of Medicine are said to have kept the Act.

ADC - the Amateur Dramatic Club, the leading university drama society; their Theatre.

Addenbrooke's - the main hospital in Cambridge. See also: Old Addenbrooke's.

Admission - the act of granting and receiving a degree.

ADR - Assistant Director of Research.

Aegrotat - a declaration by the university that a student deserved to have passed a failed examination, usually on account of illness.

AFCU - American Friends of Cambridge University.

Affiliated Student - a graduate of another university who can take the Cambridge B.A. degree in two years rather than three.

Alumni Cantabrigiensis - biographical directory of all members of Cambridge University who matriculated before 1901, by J. & J. A. Venn.

Alumnus - a former student of the university. Plural alumni.

Amalgamated Clubs - (abbrev Amal Clubs) alternative form of United Clubs.

American Friends [of Cambridge University] - an alumnus association of former Cambridge University members now in the USA.

Apostles - university discussion society founded in the 1820s.

Appointments Board - former name of the Careers Service.

Approved Foundation - a collegiate body which has not yet quite made it as a full College of the University. The only Approved Foundation currently is: Hughes Hall.

Approved Society - a collegiate body which is affiliated to the University and can matriculate students only under certain conditions. The only Affiliated Society at the moment is HomertonCollege.

APU (ii) - MRC Applied Psychology Unit.

Arts (i) in opposition to science, a reference to the Arts and Humanities.

Arts (ii) the Arts Theatre or the Arts Cinema.

Arts School - a university building on Bene't Street containing the Scientific Periodicals Library, thePhilosophical Society, and lecture rooms used for mathematics teaching.

Arts Theatre - a theatre in Peas Hill.

ASNC (or ASNaC) - Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic.

Assessor - an assistant to an Examiner.

Assistant Director of Research - a university appointment more senior than a Senior Assistant in Research.

Assistant in Research - a university appointment, the lowest established research post. Not to be confused with a Research Assistant.

Assistant Lecturer - the lowest grade of lecturer appointment in the university. See also:Demonstrator.

Assistant Staff - the non-academic staff of the University.

Athletics Syndicate - university committee dispensing assistance to university sports clubs.

Audit - annual check of a college's finances; formerly the occasion at which a dividend was declared; at some colleges an Audit Feast was held in celebration.

Austin - a building on the New Museums Site.

AVA - Audio-Visual Aids.

Awarder - person responsible for making grants or awarding scholarships, exhibitions, or studentships from certain funds.

B.A. - see Bachelor, Bachelor of Arts.

Babbage - a lecture room on the New Museums Site.

B.A. Status - a graduate student who does not hold a Cambridge degree has B.A. Status in the university. Such a student wears a B.A. gown without strings.

Bachelor - a person holding the degree of Bachelor of Arts. Such persons are colloquially called B.A.s.

Bachelor of Arts - one of the lowest forms of degree in the university, abbreviated B.A. In medieval times obtained by disputation after studying the Trivium, now obtained by obtaining honours in sufficient Tripos examinations and by keeping nine terms. B.A. degrees come in two types: Honoursand Ordinary.

Bachelor of Divinity - this is a higher degree, so senior that it outranks a Doctor of Philosophy. Abbreviated B.D.

Bachelor of Medicine - apart from Divinity, Medicine is the highest ranking bachelors' degree of the University, awarded to those who are qualified to practise in the profession of medicine. AbbreviatedM.B. See also: First M.B., Second M.B., Final M.B.

Bachelor of Surgery - a degree awarded immediately to all who pass the Final M.B. examination to enable them to practise in the profession of medicine without having to wait for a Congregation at which to take the M.B. proper. They usually take the M.B. within the next year. Abbreviated B.Chir.

Backs - a somewhat ill-defined area of Cambridge, around the river between Silver Street and Bridge Street. The former name for Queen's Road.

Baitsbite - a lock on the River Cam. The sport of rowing is normally confined between Jesus Lock and Baitsbite Lock.

Balfour & Newton - library of the Department of Zoology in the New Museums Site.

Bands - a small piece of academic dress worn at the collar by male graduands.

BAS - British Antarctic Survey.

Bats (i) - small winged mammals, of which there is a colony in Queens' College.

Bats (ii) - the dramatic society of Queens'.

Battels - (primarily an Oxford term, though formerly used at some Cambridge Colleges) a student's account with his College, especially for buttery purchases, and board and lodging.

B.Chir. - Bachelor of Surgery.

Bedder - colloquial form of Bedmaker.

Bedmaker - name given to college domestic staff. They no longer make beds.

Bedsit - a single room combining the function of bedroom, study, and living room (a common term in Britain but not apparently in other English speaking countries).

Biffen - a lecture room in the Genetics Department on the Downing Site.

Blazer - a coloured jacket, specifically and originally the scarlet jackets worn by the Lady Margaret Boat Club.

Blue - sporting colours awarded by certain university clubs after a match against Oxford.

Blue - see Cambridge Blue.

Board - in the university, a general term for a committee which is grander than a Syndicate, but not as grand as a Council. Each Faculty is governed by a Faculty Board.

Boards - formerly, having one's name "enscribed upon the boards of a College" defined one as a resident member of the College and the University. This function is now largely performed by the Gate List.

Boatie - student slang for a rower.

Boatrace - a student drinking competition, conducted between two sides of a dining table, whereby each person in turn has to stand up, consume the contents of their wine-glass, invert it over their head, and sit down again, before the next person on their side does likewise. The side which finishes firsts wins. There are no prizes.

The Boatrace - a rowing competition between Oxford and Cambridge Universities.

BoGS - the Board of Graduate Studies.

Bonnet - the festal academic head-dress for Doctors.

Botanic Garden - the University's Botanic Garden lies between Trumpington Street and Hills Road.

Botany School - university building housing the Department of Botany.

Bridget's - hostel to enable disabled students to attend Cambridge.

Bullard - outlying laboratories, in West Cambridge, of the Department of Earth Sciences.

Bulldog - colloquial term for the Proctor's constables. Now rare.

Bumps - a form of rowing race where competing boats start simultaneously but at fixed distances from each other. The aim is to bump the boat in front before being bumped by the boat behind. If neither happens, you are said to row over. A significantly dangerous pastime, and therefore an excellent spectator sport.

Bursar (i) - a college administrative officer. See also: Senior Bursar, Junior Bursar, Domestic Bursar.

Bursar (ii) - a student in receipt of a Bursary (ii).

Bursars' Committee - the intercollegiate committee of College Bursars.

Bursary (i) - place where the College Bursar has an office.

Bursary (ii) - a grant to a student.

Buttery - place in a College where students can purchase provisions.

Bye-Fellow - a college fellowship of lower status than an official Fellow.

Caius - (pronounced Keys) Gonville and Caius College.

Cam - a tributary of the River Ouse. Too narrow for conventional rowing races, hence the development of bumps and heads races.

Cambridge - a market town on the edge of the East Anglian fenlands, and formerly the limit of trading navigation on the river Cam. Now a tourist trap.

Cambridge blue - a pale blue, Pantone 284.

Cambridge end - see punt.

Cambridge Foundation - a fund-raising trust for the University.

University of Cambridge - "A common law corporation, being a corporation by prescription consisting of a Chancellor, Masters, and Scholars who from time out of mind have had the government of their members and enjoyed the privileges of such a corporation." Probably originated in the 12th century.

Cap - academical head-dress, see also Square.

Careers Service - university department which advises members on career choice, etc. Formerly known as the Appointments Board.

Catz - St Catharine's College.

Cavendish - the University Department of Physics, at the West Cambridge Site. Nothing to do withLucy Cavendish College.

CCK - Certificate of Competent Knowledge in a foreign language.

CCT - Cambridge Commonwealth Trust, a provider of Bursaries to overseas students.

Certificate of Advanced Study - usually, the qualification obtained in the fourth year of a four-year undergraduate course if the student qualified for a B.A. after three years.

Chair - the university post occupied by a Professor.

Chancellor - the nominal and ceremonial head of the University. See also: Vice-Chancellor.

Chapel - a building found in all colleges (except New Hall and Homerton); formerly attendance at chapel was compulsory.

CIAO - Cambridge Intercollegiate Applications Office.

CICCU - (pronounced Kick You) Cambridge Inter-Collegiate Christian Union.

Clare Novices - a rowing competition.

Class - a grade of honours, as in First Class, Second Class, Third Class.

Class-List - the list of successful candidates of a University examination, usually divided into Classes,and published by being posted outside the Senate House.

Clinical School - the university clinical teaching department at Addenbrooke's Hospital.

Closed scholarship - (now extinct) a scholarship which could only be awarded to candidates satisfying certain conditions, most commonly tied to specified schools.

Cockcroft - a lecture room in the Cockcroft Building on the New Museums Site.

Cockcroft Building - formerly the H.T. Wing of the old Cavendish Laboratory, on the New Museums Site.

Cockerell Building - part of the Old Schools.

College - at Oxford and Cambridge Universities, an endowed charitable foundation providing teaching for its students to first degree level, and accommodation, food, welfare and recreational activities for both its students and Fellows. The colleges are self-governing corporate bodies independent of the University.

Colleges Committee - the intercollegiate committee of Heads of Houses.

College Union - at Queens', an umbrella organisation of the JCR, MCR and United Clubs.

Colman - library of the Department of Biochemistry.

Combination Room - common room, as in Junior Combination Room (for all students), Middle Combination Room (for graduate students), Senior Combination Room (for Fellows). Hence JCR, MCR, SCR. Hence also the committees or representative organisations responsible for the rooms. The expression JCR may according to context refer either to the room or the organisation.

Commencement - an obsolete term, difficult to render into modern usage. A student would commence as a Bachelor when he graduated B.A., for instance. But Commencement was also a time of year.

Commissary - an extremely obscure University Officer, who "shall perform such duties as have heretofore been customary".

Commoner - a student who is not a scholar, and who therefore pays for his tuition and commons.Nowadays all students start out as commoners. Pensioner means the same as commoner.

Commons - formerly an entitlement to cheap food taken in college; the food itself.

Composition Fee - a single composite fee charged by the University or a College for all academic services.

Compsci - (pronounced Compski) student slang for a student reading Computer Science.

Congregation - a meeting of the Regent House at which University business is transacted or degrees awarded.

Cory - library of the Botanic Garden.

Council - at many colleges (but not Queens'), an executive committee of the Governing Body.Usually established where the Governing Body is too large to transact business effectively.

Council - in the university, a general term for a committee which is grander than a Board. EachSchool is governed by a Council. The Council of the Senate is even grander, and the most importantCouncil of all; it submits Graces to the Regent House.

Courts - the areas enclosed by college buildings. Never referred to as quads (an Oxford expression).

Crackling - decorative strips on the undergraduate gown of St John's College.

Craik-Marshall - university building on the Downing Site.

CS - Computing Service (also UCS)

CST - Computer Science Tripos.

CU - (i) Cambridge University; (ii) Christian Union.

CUBC - Cambridge University Boat Club.

CUCA - Cambridge University Conservative Association.

CUED - Cambridge University Engineering Department.

CULES - Cambridge University Light Entertainment Society.

CUMS - Cambridge University Music Society.

CUOTC - Cambridge University Officers Training Corps.

CUP - Cambridge University Press, the publishing arm of the University.

Cuppers - intercollegiate sporting knock-out competitions.

CUSU - Cambridge University Students' Union. Nothing to do with the Union Society.

DAMTP - (pronounced dampt) Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics.

Dean - a college officer. According to college, may be a priest, a disciplinary officer, or a supplementary Tutor. At Darwin College, the Dean is effectively Senior Tutor.

Degrade - to drop back a year in a course, typically as a result of absence caused by illness.

Degree - (from the Latin gradus meaning step) status or rank within the university. Not necessarily a mark of education.

Degree Committee - subcommittee of each Faculty Board, determines the award of higher degrees.

Demonstrator (i) - as in University Demonstrator, a university academic appointment equivalent to a University Assistant Lecturer.

Demonstrator (ii) - any person who helps supervise university practical classes.

Department - part of the university devoted to one academic subject; see also: Faculty.

Desmond - student slang (current in early 1990s) for Honours Class 2-2, as in "I got a Desmond". Named after Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Development Office - the fund-raising office of the University.

Digs - lodgings outside college.

Director of Studies - a college officer (usually a Fellow) responsible for oversight of an undergraduate's academic studies, and for appointing supervisors for the student.

Discommuning - an ancient and lapsed power of the University over tradesmen in the town. Persons in statu pupillari were forbidden to have dealings with a person who had been discommuned.To a trader in the town, this would be a commercial disaster.

Discussion of the Senate - a formal opportunity for Senior Members to express opinions on proposals of university committees before final decisions are taken; such final decisions usually lead to a Grace.

Dividend - in former times, a subdivision of the college's excess income, paid to each Fellow at the end of each year, to supplement his stipend.

Divinity School - university building housing the Faculty of Divinity.

Division of Term - a date half-way through Term (not Full Term) . Of little practical significance, though many university bureaucratic formalities have a deadline of the Division of Term.

Dna - abbreviation for Domina, used in front of a surname.

Doctor (i) - in the university, a higher degree than Master. From the Latin, meaning "learned".

Doctor (ii) - a courtesy title accorded to those practising in the medical profession, carrying no weight whatsoever in the university.

Doctor of Philosophy - the lowest degree of Doctor in the university. Effectively an apprenticeship examination for the trade of academic.

Doctor of xxxx (where xxxx is anything but Philosophy) - a higher doctorate. People holding these degrees are really hot stuff.

Domestic Bursar - What some colleges call their Junior Bursar.

Dominus (m), Domina (f) - Latin for bachelor as defined above, used as a title before a surname to indicate the person's degree.

Domus - the main buildings and land of a college, as distinct from any outlying hostels and houses, or estates.

Don - (correctly applicable only at Oxford) colloquial form of Fellow.

Double First - the obtaining of First Class Honours in both Parts of a Tripos, or of different Triposes.

Downing Site - a university site on Downing Street and Tennis Court Road.

DPMMS - (or DPM-squared-S) Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics

Dr - abbreviation for Doctor, used in front of a surname.

Ds - abbreviation for Dominus, used in front of a surname.

East Room - a room in the Old Schools.

Easter - the third of three Terms in the academic year, between Easter and midsummer.

EIST - Electrical and Information Sciences Tripos

EMBS - Estate Management and Building Service.

Emeritus - when applied to Professor, Reader or Fellow, means that the person has retired from that post.

Emma - Emmanuel College.

Emma Dashes - a rowing competition.

Entrance Scholar - an extinct form of scholarship awarded after competitive examination.

Esquire Bedell - a university ceremonial officer (c.f. Beadle).

Estate Management - the maintenance department of the University.

Estates Bursar - appointment in some Colleges; the holder is in charge of the college's land and properties.

Evelyn - a private hospital.

Examiner - someone appointed by the University to conduct an examination, Tripos or otherwise.

Excess Residence - staying in College outside the period paid for by termly room rent.

Exeat - permission to leave Cambridge overnight, or at the end of term. See also: Rediit.

Exhibition - an award from a college of lower status, and less value, than a Scholarship.

Exhibitioner - a student holding an Exhibition.

External Examiner - an examiner appointed from another university, to ensure that degree standards are consistent between universities.

Faculty - a number of University Departments gathered together for administrative purposes. See also: Schools.

Faculty Board - the committee which administers a Faculty.

Fairbairns - a rowing competition.

Feast - a better then usual dinner in a college.

Federation - the four Theological Colleges associated with, but not colleges of, Cambridge University: Ridley Hall (Anglican), Wesley House (Methodist), Westcott House (Anglican), Westminster College (United Reformed).

Fellow - an academic post in a college (as distinct from the university). Fellows may be male or female.

Fellow Commoner - formerly a rich undergraduate, often a nobleman, who dined at High Table with the Fellows (i.e. he took his Commons with the Fellows) . Nowadays, often used to mean a form of College membership which gives SCR membership without quite being a Fellowship, and which entails no teaching or duty, nor confers any privilege.

Fenners - the University cricket ground; the University Health Service.

Final M.B. - the third part of the M.B. examination, taken after postgraduate clinical training.

Financial Board - former name of the Finance Committee, the university committee which controls finance; the administration serving that committee; its offices in the Old Schools.

First - as in "a First": First Class Honours.

First and Third - the Boat Club of Trinity College.

First M.B. - the first part of the M.B. examinations; usually students are exempt from this examination if they have the appropriate A-levels.

Fisher House - the Catholic Chaplaincy to the university.

Fitz - Fitzwilliam College.

Fitzbillies - a cake shop.

FitzP - the Fitzpatrick Hall at Queens' College.

The Fitzwilliam - Fitzwilliam Museum, on Trumpington Street.

Fly-sheets - circulars to the members of Regent House attempting to persuade the recipients either to placet or non placet a Grace.

Footlights - a university drama society devoted mainly to comic revues.

Foundation - the body of people in whose name the College acts, as in: The President, Fellows and Scholars of Queens' College.

Foundation Scholars - those scholars who constitute part of the Foundation, as distinct fromEntrance Scholars.

Fresher - non-sexist form of Freshman.

Freshman - a student in his or her first year at university.

Full Term - a period of 60 days within Term (53 days in the case of Easter Full Term) within which most university and college teaching takes place. Full Terms always begin on a Tuesday and end on a Friday.

Gardies - student slang contraction of Gardenia. Formerly a restaurant noted for its microscopic cellar eating area; now a take-away.

Gate Hours - the times of night during which students must remain within the confines of college, or their lodgings, in order to Keep Term.

Gate List - formal list of all members of a college in residence.

Gated - a now rare punishment whereby a student is confined to college and not allowed out into town.

General Admission - the main degree awarding Congregations in late June.

General Amigos - (student slang) at dinner, a call for a toast, when no specific person can be named.

General Board - the university committee concerned with academic affairs (administers the Schools, Faculties, and Departments) ; the administration serving that committee; its offices in the Old Schools.

Gentlemen - a term which it used to be possible to apply to students, as in a bedmaker referring to"my gentlemen", or as in the College regulations of 50 years ago: "In order to minimize Sunday labour for College servants gentlemen are required to vacate their bedrooms not later than 9.30 a.m. on Sundays".

Godwin - laboratory on the New Museums Site, part of Quaternary Research.

The Gogs - the Gog Magog Hills, to the south of Cambridge.

Governing Body - the ultimate authority within a College, consisting of most of the Fellows.

Gown (i) - academic dress. Undergraduate gowns differ according to college, and are quite small. The higher your degree, the longer your gown gets. In particular, the sleeves get longer. See also: Slit.

Gown (ii) - in opposition to Town, a colloquial term for the university and all its members, as in Town-Gown rivalry.

Grace (i) - a prayer, usually in Latin, said by a Scholar before Hall, and by a Fellow after Hall. Exact details of who says what vary from college to college.

Grace (ii) - a legislative bill published by the university, to be approved by a vote of the Regent House.

Grad - town pejorative slang for university student.

Grad-bashing - a town recreation.

Grad-Pad - the University Centre in Granta Place.

Graduand - a person who is about to graduate.

Graduate (verb) - to progress to a degree higher than the one currently held, if any.

Graduate (noun) - a person who already has a first degree.

Graduate Student - a student reading for a Ph.D., M.Phil., or certain Diplomas. To be distinguished from Postgraduate Student.

Granta (i) - an alternative name for the river Cam. Usefully applied to distinguish the upper riverfrom the rest.

Granta (ii) - formerly a famous student magazine.

Granta (iii) - a project of the University to lay communications ducts and fibre optic cables between all Colleges and Departments.

Great Bridge - the smallish bridge carrying Bridge Street over the river. See also: Small Bridge.

Great Court Run - an attempt to run round the outer path of Great Court, Trinity College, during the time it takes for the clock to strike twelve. Significantly difficult, but usually made more so by the contestants all being drunk at the time.

Great St Mary's - parish church opposite the Old Schools, used for university ceremonies before theSenate House was built.

Grind - obsolete slang word for a walk, especially for exercise.

GSM - Great St Mary's Church.

Guildhall - the offices, on the Market Square, of the Cambridge City Council.

Gyp - an extinct species of manservant. Survive at Oxford under the name scout.

Gyp-room - formerly the room where a gyp awaited a call from his gentlemen. Now a small kitchen.

Haddon - library of the Faculty of Archaeology and Anthropology, in Downing Street.

Half Blue - a Blue in certain minor sports.

Halingway - the tow-path alongside the Lower River.

Hall - the dining hall in college; hence the meal taken in the evening, as in "meet after Hall".

Hawks Club - private university club, for men who have been awarded blues. Formerly they had rooms at the Pitt Club. See also Ospreys.

Heads (i) - a form of rowing race where competitors row individually and are timed over a fixed distance.

Heads (ii) - a collective noun for Masters of colleges, as in: Heads of Houses. See Master, President, Provost, Mistress, Warden.

Heycock - a lecture room on the New Museums Site.

High Cross - university site on the Madingley Road.

High Steward - an obscure University Officer, whose duties are defined as "the customary duties of his office'". Deputises for the Chancellor when that post is vacant.

High Table - the table in Hall at which Fellows dine.

Higher Degree - any degree ranking higher than a Bachelor.

Higher Doctorate - any degree ranking higher than a Doctor of Philosophy.

Hill - East Anglian term meaning little more than "place", as in Market Hill, Peas Hill, places which are noticeably flat.

Hobson - a Cambridge carrier of the 17th century whose policy in offering choice of horses to his clients was later emulated by Henry Ford in respect of colours of cars.

Hobson's Conduit - streams of water running in gullies beside some streets in Cambridge. Hobson the carrier was involved in these works, but the story that they were to provide water for horses might be legendary.

Honours (i) - classifications of success in Tripos examinations. Honours may be First Class, Second Class, Third Class. The Second Class is often divided into the Upper Division and the Lower Division, as in 2-1 or 2-2.

Honours (ii) - the better type of B.A. degree. Cambridge honours degrees are not classified.

Hood - academic dress which can be worn only by graduates. The colour and material of the hood identify the wearer's degree. Hoods are worn only on defined occasions or in defined places, such as chapel, or upon admission to a degree.

Hopkinson - a lecture room on the New Museums Site.

Hostel - in modern usage, a college residential building outside the main college buildings, or domus.Before the foundation of colleges, hostels for students existed in their own right, as unendowed institutions.

House - a college, as in Heads of Houses, or as in "This House does not indulge in post-prandial histrionics."

House of Residence - an institution recognised by the University as a place additional to theColleges, Approved Foundations, and Approved Societies, where students may keep term without special permission to live out of college. Currently recognised are: Ridley Hall, Wesley House, Westcott House, Westminster College. See also: Federation.

HPS - History and Philosophy of Science.

IoA - Institute of Astronomy

Incorporation - a process by which a graduate of the University of Oxford or of the University of Dublin (Trinity College) may be admitted to a Cambridge degree equivalent to the highest degree held at either of those universities.

Intermit - to interrupt an academic course, with the intention of resuming it later.

JCR - see Combination Room.

Judge Institute - university building of the Department of Management Studies, in the former Old Addenbrooke's Hospital.

Junior Bursar - a college officer responsible for the buildings and services. A harmless drudge.

Junior Fellow - the Fellow who has been a Fellow for the least time, and is assigned various menial duties.

Junior Member - a member (of college, or of the university) who is in statu pupillari.

Kanthack & Nuttall - library of the Department of Pathology.

Keep - as in Keep Term, to sleep overnight within three miles of Great St Mary's Church for the requisite number (59 for Michaelmas and Lent, 52 for Easter) of nights within Term. An essential qualification for many degrees.

Keeping Room - in a set, the room which is not the bedroom; the living-room and study.

Kettle's Yard - an art gallery on Castle Hill.

King Street Run - the feat of consuming in as short a time as possible one pint of beer at every public house in King Street. Now much easier than it used to be.

Kite - an area of Cambridge largely demolished to make way for the Grafton Shopping Centre.

KP - King's Parade.

Lady Margaret - the Boat Club of St John's College (LMBC).

Lady Mitchell - lecture hall on the Sidgwick Site.

Lady Superintendent - term used in some colleges (no longer at Queens') to refer to the person in charge of the bedmakers. Now called Housekeeper.

Lammas Land - grazing land between Newnham Village and Cambridge proper.

Lector - an academic appointment in the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages, usually of a native foreign language speaker.

Lecturer - the most common university academic appointment, having both teaching and research obligations.

Lensfield Road - university site on Lensfield Road, location of the Chemistry Department.

Lent - the second of three terms in the academic year, between Christmas and Easter..

Lent Races - the inter-collegiate bumping races held in the Lent Term.

Lents = Lent Races.

Licensed Lodgings - accommodation in the town deemed by the university to be suitable for students to reside in without special permission. Now extinct.

Life Fellow - formerly, a Fellow who was entitled to a set in college and commons for life. Species extinct at Queens' and rare at other colleges. Now an honorific title. Some colleges call them Emeritus Fellows.

Linkline - a voluntary counselling-by-telephone service run by students.

Lion Yard - a shopping centre and car park, part of which was formerly the yard of the Lion inn.

Little Hall - lecture room at the Sidgwick Site.

LMB - the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology.

LMBC - Lady Margaret Boat Club.

Local Exams - the Local Examinations Syndicate is the Cambridge schools examination board, running GCSEs and A-levels.

Lodge - according to context, may mean Porters' Lodge or President's Lodge, Master's Lodge, etc.

Lodgings Syndicate - former name for the accommodation agency run by the university, now called the Accommodation Syndicate.

Long Vacation - the vacation over summer between Easter and Michaelmas Terms.

Long Vacation Period of Residence - (colloquially Long Vac Term) a fourth period of teaching during the Long Vacation, taken by a minority of undergraduates. Almost extinct.

Lower River - that part of the river Cam below Jesus Lock, where the rowing takes place. Can also be loosely applied to the Middle River, especially in opposition to the Upper River.

Lucy - Lucy Cavendish College.

M.A. - see Master of Arts.

Madingley Hall - the home of university's Department of Continuing Education, formerly the Department of Extra-Mural Studies.

M.A. Status - a status achieved by a graduate student at age 24. Such a student may wear the M.A. gown without strings.

Maggie - Lady Margaret Boat Club.

Magister (m), Magistra (f) - Latin for Master.

Magsoc - the St Margaret Society of Queens', the college music society.

Manciple - (more common at Oxford than Cambridge) a member of college staff with oversight of domestic or catering arrangements.

Marlay Curator - post also held by the Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum.

Marshal - a university ceremonial officer.

Marshall - the library of the Faculty of Economics and Politics.

Master (i) - at most colleges (but not Queens'), the head of the college.

Master (ii) - at Queens', the vocative case of President.

Master (iii) - in the university, originally the holder of a degree of Master of Arts, traditionally the licence to teach students, as used in the corporate title The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge. Colloquially called M.A.s. The term Masters in the corporate title now includes the holders of any Master's or Doctor's degree, and Bachelors of Divinity.

Master of Arts - a degree higher than a B.A. and lower than any Doctor. In medieval times obtained after studying the Quadrivium; now obtainable by any Cambridge Bachelor of Arts six clear years aftermatriculation.

Mat & Met - Materials Science and Metallurgy (formerly Met & Mat) .

Mathematical Bridge - a popular, but erroneous, name for the bridge over the Cam at Queens'.

Mathmo - student slang for a mathematician.

Matriculate - (verb) to become a member of the University.

Maxwell - a lecture room on the New Museums Site.

May Balls - periods of conspicuous consumption and self-indulgence held in the second half of May Week

May Races - the bumping r aces held in the first half of May Week.

May Week - a fortnight in June, comprising the last week of Easter Full Term and the week after.

May Week Sunday - the Sunday immediately after the end of Easter Full Term, after exams have finished, but before the results have come out. Usually celebrated with cocktail parties (previously named Suicide Sunday).

Mays = May Races.

M.B. - Bachelor of Medicine.

MCR - see Combination Room.

Michaelmas - the first of three terms in the academic year, between October and Christmas.

Middle - (as in Middle Combination Room) appertaining to the graduate students of the College.

Middle River - that part of the river Cam from the mill races down to Jesus Lock.

Mill - there were formerly three mills in Cambridge at the limit of navigation from the sea. King's Mill and Bishop's Mill stood side by side between the end of Mill Lane and Laundress Green. They were demolished in the 1920s and only the two mill races remain. Newnham Mill is now Sweeney Todd's restaurant. The public house called The Mill faces the site of the former King's and Bishop's Mills.

Mill Lane - a university site at Mill Lane.

Min & Pet - Mineralogy and Petrology.

Mistress - at Girton College, the head of the college.

Mitchams Corner - the junction of Victoria Avenue and Chesterton Road.

Mond - a building in the New Museums Site.

Motor Proctor - university officer responsible for issuing motor vehicle permits to persons in statu pupillari.

MML - Modern and Medieval Languages.

Mr - abbreviation for Magister, used in front of a surname. Properly, students are not qualified to use this title. This distinction is still observed in the names painted over the oaks of sets.

MRAO - Mullard Radio Astronomy Laboratory.

MRC - Medical Research Council; their laboratories in Cambridge.

MST - Medical Sciences Tripos.

Napier Shaw - the library of Meteorology in the Cavendish Laboratory.

Narg - (late 1970s student slang) a person who over-works and under-plays (Not A Real Gentleman).

Natsci (i) - (pronounced Nat-Sye) the Natural Sciences Tripos.

Natsci (ii) - (pronounced Natski) student slang (early 1980s) for a student reading the Natural Sciences Tripos.

Natural Science - term embracing all of Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Earth Sciences, Material Sciences.

The Network - the university internal telephone network, as in "call me on the network."

New Museums - a university site off Free School Lane and Pembroke Street.

Newnham Regatta - a rowing competition.

Non placet - an objection to a Grace.

NST - Natural Sciences Tripos.

NUTO - Non-University Teaching Officer; a full-time teaching Fellow with no university post.

Oak - where a set has two outer doors, the outer door of the two. See also: sport.

Old Addenbrooke's - the former site of Addenbrooke's Hospital, in Trumpington Street, now a university site.

Old Schools - the buildings used in former times for university teaching, in which the administrative offices of the University are now housed.

Old Syndics Building - university building at the Press Site.

Olly, olly - spectator's cry of support at a rowing race, as in "Olly, olly, Lady Maggie".

Open scholarship - one which was not closed.

Optime - in the Mathematics Tripos, a grade of pass. A Senior Optime is equivalent to Second ClassHonours; a Junior Optime is equivalent to Third Class Honours.

Orator - university officer whose main duty is to present candidates for honorary degrees.

Ordinances - internal University legislation, made under powers granted by Statutes, enacted byRegent House voting on a Grace. The current edition of Statutes and Ordinances runs to 1153 pages.

Ordinary (i) - a classification of success in a Tripos examination below Honours, and just above outright failure. Formerly known as a Special.

Ordinary (ii) - a type of Bachelor of Arts degree conferred upon a student who has not obtained sufficient honours in Tripos examinations to qualify for an Honours Degree, yet is not unworthy of a degree.

Ospreys - female version of Hawks (q.v.).

Overseas student - a student from outside the European Community.

Oxford - a beta-test for Cambridge.

Oxford end - that which a double-ended Cambridge punt does not have.

Parker's Piece - open land in the town, in the centre of which is Reality Checkpoint.

Part - a stage of Tripos examination, as in Part I or Part II. Part II is normally a third or fourth year examination. Part I may be subdivided into Parts Ia and Ib, normally taken in the first and second years. It is usually necessary to obtain honours in all parts to qualify for a Bachelor of Arts degree.

PBI - Plant Breeding International (formerly Plant Breeding Institute).

Pendlebury - the library of the Faculty of Music.

Pensioner - synonymous with commoner.

Pepys - library at Magdalene College.

Pernoctation - the duty of a Tutor to sleep overnight in college.

PGCE - Postgraduate Certificate in Education.

Philosophical Society - a learned society devoted to mathematics and the sciences.

Phoenix (i) - formerly the university mainframe computing service.

Phoenix (ii) - a building on the New Museums Site.

Physic - medicine.

Physics - physics.

Piece - land, as in Christ's Pieces, Parker's Piece. Now usually laid to grass.

Pigeonhole - (noun) a personal mailbox, typically in the Porters' Lodge; (verb) to leave a message for someone in their pigeon-hole.

Pitt Building - former headquarters of the CUP, on the Press Site.

Pitt Club - private university club having a building in Jesus Lane.

Placet - a supporting vote for a Grace.

Plodge - student slang for Porters' Lodge.

o'i polloí (hoi polloi) Poll Men - formerly an examination classification below the Junior Optimes, the closest modern analogy being the Ordinary Degree. Such men would be pretty dim. The dimmest were "plucked" from the lists - i.e. forced to defer graduating until they had improved.

Porter - (or Gate Porter) a college staff member who tends the gates of the college. Not someone who carries your luggage. From the Latin porta, door.

Porter - (or Outside Porter) a college staff member who carries things around. Not someone who looks after the gates. From the Latin portare, to carry.

Porters' Lodge - place where the Gate Porters work and sleep.

Postgraduate - at Cambridge, a student reading for a Master's degree (other than an M.Phil. or M.A.), some Diplomas, or Certificates. To be distinguished from Graduate Student.

Praelector - a college officer (formerly known as Father of the College) who is responsible formatriculating students, preparing supplicats, and presenting graduands for their degrees.

Precincts of the University - everywhere within three miles of Great St Mary's Church, within which students must reside in order to keep term.

Preliminary Examination (colloquially Prelims) - a progress examination in the university, not contributing to degree qualification.

President - at Queens' College, Clare Hall, Hughes Hall, Lucy Cavendish College, New Hall and Wolfson College, the head of the College. At some other colleges, the President is a Fellow appointed to preside in the SCR.

President's Lodge - a part of Queens' College forming the home of the President and his family.

Press Site - university buildings between Mill Lane and Silver Street; the former location of the CUP.

Principal - at Newnham College and Homerton College, the head of the College.

Proctor - university disciplinary officers. There is one Senior Proctor and one Junior Proctor, and several Pro-Proctors.

Professor - the most senior university academic appointment.

Professorial Fellowship - class of college Fellowship held by a University Professor, who are forbidden by Ordinance to undertake college teaching. A quota system operates to ensure that all colleges share the burden of supporting Professorial Fellowships.

Promulgation - official publication (in the Reporter) of (for example) the Roll of the Regent House,and Register of the Senate.

Pro-Proctor - assistant Proctor.

Provost - at King's College, the head of the college.

Punt - a long flat-bottomed boat of shallow draught, originally evolved for shooting wild-fowl, but now popular at both Oxford and Cambridge as a pleasure craft. Propelled by sticking a pole in the river bed and pushing. Oxford, in misguided idealism, insist on punting with the punt the original way around, with the flat gun-deck leading, standing in the body of the craft at the rear. Cambridge, in their pragmatic scientific way, have determined that it is far easier and safer to reverse the punt, and push the pole standing on the gun-deck at the rear. As proof of the evolution of inanimate objects, punts have recently evolved at Cambridge to have a flat deck at both ends, thus making it easier for the tourist to spot the Cambridge end.

Punting - the act of propelling a punt. As with all objects where a forward-acting force is applied at a point a long way behind the centre of gravity, a punt is fundamentally unstable, with errors of direction tending to magnify rather than be self-correcting. So punting correctly (in a dead straight line with no apparent effort) is more difficult than it looks. The secret agenda appears to be that both Oxford and Cambridge have discovered this to be a way of getting tourists to pay large amounts of money to make fools of themselves in public.

Pythagoras, School of - popular name for Merton Hall, now part of St John's College, the only surviving medieval non-collegiate house in Cambridge.

Quadrivium - The Four Ways (Arithmetic, Geometry, Astronomy, Music) studied in medieval times by graduates for the Master of Arts degree.

Quarter Blue - a joke. See Winks.

Queens' College - the common name of The Queen's College of St Margaret and St Bernard in the University of Cambridge.

Queens' Green - common land between Queen's Road and Queens' College.

Queen's Road - road along the Backs; nothing to do with Queens' College.

Radzinowicz - library of the Institute of Criminology in West Road.

Rayleigh (i) - library of Physics at the Cavendish Laboratory.

Rayleigh (ii) - lecture room in the New Museums Site.

Read - to study, as in reading Natural Sciences.

Reader - a university academic appointment, senior to a Lecturer and junior to a Professor.

Reality Checkpoint - graffito on lamppost in the middle of Parker's Piece.

Rediit - the record of a student's date of return to Cambridge after an Exeat. Hence Rediit Book, kept by a Tutor. The Exeat and Rediit dates are used to compute whether a student has kept a term.

Regent House - the ultimate legislative body of the University, consisting approximately of allMasters holding University Office or College Fellowships, or non-masters who have held Office or Fellowship for at least three years. The Regent House meets at Congregations to vote upon Gracesand confer degrees.

Register of the Senate - official list of membership of the Senate.

Registrary - a University Officer who is head of the Registry.

Registry - part of the university administrative offices at the Old Schools.

Regius [Professor] - a Professor appointed by The Crown.

Reporter - the Cambridge University Reporter, a periodical in which official university notices, including Graces, are published.

Research Assistant - a dogsbody. Not to be confused with an Assistant in Research.

Research Fellow - a college academic appointment typically awarded to higher year research students or junior academics to support their research. Sometimes known as a Junior Research Fellow, or JRF, particularly at Oxford.

Research Student - no longer formally defined by the university, but generally understood to be agraduate student reading for the Doctor of Philosophy or Master of Philosophy degrees.

Residence - the process of keeping terms; being up at Cambridge. See also: Excess Residence.

Resident member - members of college who are at Cambridge, residing within the Precincts.

Resident Members List - list of all resident members in the university; a special edition of theCambridge Review.

RFB - Raised Faculty Building at Sidgwick Site.

RGO - Royal Greenwich Observatory, now located at Cambridge.

Roll of the Regent House - official definition of membership of Regent House.

Rosie - the maternity hospital at Addenbrooke's.

Round Church - the Church of the Holy Sepulchre; or its congregation as transferred to St Andrew the Great.

RPP - Regius Professor of Physic (i.e. Professor of Medicine).

Rustication - a form of punishment whereby a student was sent out of residence for the remainder of the term.

Rutherford - university building at the Cavendish Laboratory at the West Cambridge Site.

Sabbatical - system of academic leave, where every six term's service qualifies one for one term's paid leave to undertake research free of all other teaching and administrative duties (or six years earns one year's leave).

SAR (i) - Senior Assistant in Research.

SAR (ii) - Society for the Application of Research.

Scarlet - the festal gown for Doctors, normally bright red.

Scarlet Day - a day in the university calendar when Doctors wear Scarlet.

Scholar - a student who holds a Scholarship. See also: Commoner, Pensioner, Sizar.

Scholarship - a college award whereby a student receives income from the endowments of the College, thus offsetting living expenses. Formerly, a scholarship might result in free tuition andcommons.

School (i) - grouping of University Faculties, by broad subject area. Each School is governed by aCouncil.

School (ii) - (now rare) university teaching building, e.g. Arts School, Divinity School, and possibly Old Schools.

Scientific Periodicals Library - library in the Arts School, formerly that of the Philosophical Society.

Sconce - (strictly an Oxford term) a drinking forfeit imposed after a breach of table etiquette at Hall.

SCR - see Combination Room.

Screens - properly, the passage formed by screening off a dining hall from the doors leading to the outside world. Subsequently applied to the notice boards which were hung on the screens gates. Now a generic term for notice-boards.

Second - as in "I got a Second". Second Class Honours.

Second M.B. - the second part of the M.B. examination, taken during undergraduate pre-clinical training.

Secretary General of the Faculties - University Officer who is head of the General Boardadministration, and secretary to the General Board itself.

Sedgwick - the Museum of Geology. Not to be confused with Sidgwick.

Seeley - library of the Faculty of History; the building containing the library on the Sidgwick Site.

Senate - the body of all Masters of the University (whether resident or not), now having almost no powers. Meets at Discussions.

Senate, Council of the - former name of the most powerful committee in the university; submitsGraces to the Regent House. Now called simply The Council.

Senate House - university building beside the Old Schools where Congregations of the Regent Houseand Discussions of the Senate are held.

Senior (noun, now rarely used) - an undergraduate or graduate student who is not a fresher, as in"Seniors should call on their Tutor on Wednesday." Not to be confused with Senior Member.

Senior Assistant in Research - university academic post with an emphasis on research and limited in the amount of teaching that may be undertaken.

Senior Bursar - a college officer, responsible for finance and investments.

Senior Fellow - the Fellow who has been a Fellow longest.

Senior Member - a member (of college, or of university) who is a Master or higher.

Senior Treasurer - a Senior Member of a student club who has overview of the finances.

Senior Tutor - college officer responsible for college teaching and discipline, assisted by the otherTutors.

Senior Wrangler - the Wrangler who came top.

Sent down - the colloquial way of saying "expelled". A punishment, now rare, involving premature termination of a university career. In former times, sometimes celebrated with a mock funeral procession (usually to the railway station).

Septemviri - seven persons constituting (i) a court of appeal against decisions of the Court of Discipline in the case of junior members; and (ii) a court of first instance in disciplinary cases againstsenior members.

Set - residential room(s) in a college.

Shire Hall - the offices, on Castle Hill, of the Cambridgeshire County Council.

Sidgwick - a university site between Sidgwick Avenue and the UL. Not to be confused with Sedgwick.

Single Transferable Vote - voting system, as defined by Ordinances, used within the University for elections to certain Councils, Boards,etc.

Sizar - in medieval times, a poor student who paid his way at college by taking on menial domestic chores.

Slits - Undergraduate and B.A. gowns have slits cut in the fronts of the sleeves through which the arms can be passed when eating so that the sleeve proper does not trail in food. M.A.s and higher degrees do not have these slits; perhaps they are reckoned not to have such problems at table.

Small Bridge - the huge bridge carrying Silver Street over the river. See also: Great Bridge.

Small Bridges Street - former name of Silver Street.

Smoking Concert (or Smoker) - a comic revue, or light-hearted concert, where the audience (certainly in former times, less so now) dress in smoking jackets, or dinner jackets.

Societies Syndicate - university committee dispensing assistance to university societies.

Soph (for Sophister) - archaic term. Junior Soph = second year undergraduate. Senior Soph = third year undergraduate.

Special - Now extinct. See Ordinary (i).

SPL - Scientific Periodicals Library.

Sport - as in to sport one's oak: to close the oak (q.v.). To signal to the world that one does not wish to be disturbed. It is a grave social offence to knock upon a sported oak., a fact which seems to have been forgotten by most current students.

Sport keys - extinct term for room keys.

SPRI - Scott Polar Research Institute.

SPS - Social and Political Sciences.

Square - the square academic cap, popularly, but incorrectly called a mortar board. See also: bonnet.

Squash (i) - a game played with racquets in a Squash Court.

Squash (ii) - a party or reception, usually at the beginning of the academic year, with the object of introducing large numbers of people to some club, society, or organisation.

Squire - the library of the Law Faculty.

in Statu Pupillari - the state of being an undergraduate or graduate student in the university. All persons in statu pupillari must have a Tutor, and are subject to disciplinary rules.

Statutes - the formal legal powers granted to the University or a College by the Crown, acting through the Privy Council, enabling the University or College to be a self-governing corporation. Within the framework of Statutes, the University enacts Ordinances by Grace, creating internal legislation defining how the University conducts itself.

Steward - college officer responsible for the kitchens and food in Hall.

Stipend - Cambridge academics have stipends, not salaries.

Strings - bits of a Cambridge B.A. or M.A. gown; signify the wearer is a Cambridge graduate. Those who hold merely the status of B.A. or M.A. should remove the strings from their gown.

STV - Single Transferable Vote.

Suicide Sunday - the Sunday immediately after the end of Easter Full Term, after exams have finished, but before the results have come out. Usually celebrated with cocktail parties.

Supervision - a tutorial held by a Supervisor.

Supervisor - person appointed by the college to teach students. At Oxford, such a person is called aTutor. The supervisor for a research student is appointed by the University.

Supplicat - (noun) the application made to the university by the Praelector of a college for the award of a degree to student(s) of that college.

Syndic - a person who serves on a Syndicate.

Syndicate - in the university, a general term for a committee which is grander than a plain committee, but not as grand as a Board.

Syndicate Room - a room in the Old Schools.

Tabarder - name for a sizar at The Queen's College Oxford.

Taxor - extinct University officer who checked weights and measures and the quality of merchandise sold in the town. Offenders ran the risk of being discommuned.

The Tech - former abbreviation for the Cambridgeshire College of Arts and Technology, later called Anglia Higher Education College, now called Anglia Polytechnic University.

Techie - student slang (particularly in opposition to Thesp) for one who provides backstage support in drama.

Term - one of three periods (Michaelmas, Lent, Easter) in the academic year which students mustkeep in order to qualify by residence for their degree. See also: Full Term.

Thesp - student slang for an actor.

Tilley - a lecture room in the Department of Earth Sciences.

Tit Hall - Trinity Hall.

Titan - university mainframe computer (prototype Atlas II) before Phoenix.

Town - in opposition to Gown, the non-university parts and people of the City of Cambridge, as inTown Bumps., rowing races for town clubs.

Treasurer - University Officer who is head of what used to be called the Financial Board.

Trinmo - a mathematician at Trinity College (see mathmo).

Tripos - the formal university examinations in which undergraduates are required to obtain honoursin order to qualify for the degree of Bachelor of Arts. Triposes may be divided into two Parts, taken in succession as Part I and Part II. The word tripos is reputedly derived from the legend that the examiner sat on a three-legged stool.

Trivium - the Three Ways (Grammar, Rhetoric, Logic) studied in medieval times by undergraduates for the Bachelor of Arts degree. Hence the pejorative term trivial - elementary, of interest only to mere undergraduates.

Tutor - a college officer who does not teach you. A bureaucrat and a shoulder to cry on. Supposedly, students never deal with the university authorities directly, but only through their Tutor.

Tut Reps - Tutorial Representatives, former name of the Senior Tutors' Committee, the intercollegiate committee of Tutors.

Typewriter - a building at Christ's College.

UAL - University Assistant Lecturer.

UCLES - University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate.

UCS - University Computing Service (also CS).

UL - (i) University Library; (ii) University Lecturer.

UMS - University Messenger Service.

Undergraduate - (literally: under the step) a member of the university who does not have a degree.

Union - according to context, may mean (i) a college union; (ii) CUSU; (iii) the Union Society.

Union Catalogue - a combined catalogue of all the University's Libraries and departmental libraries.

Union Society - the university debating club. Not a Students' Union.

United Clubs - (or Amalgamated Clubs) a system introduced in the early 20th century whereby students may join all the college sports clubs by means of a single subscription.

Upper River - that part of the river Cam (or Granta) flowing from Grantchester to the mill races in Cambridge.

USS - Universities Superannuation Scheme.

UTO - University Teaching Officer. See Demonstrator, Assistant Lecturer, Lecturer, Reader, Professor.UTOs are usually, but not always, also Fellows of a College. Nowadays known simply as University Officers.

Vacation - those parts of the year which are not term; a period when academic study is pursued away from the university.

Van of Death, Van of Life - student slang names for certain purveyors of fast-food, which the laws of libel prevent me identifying any more closely.

Varsity - a student newspaper.

Vet School - Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine.

Vice-Chancellor - the effective head of the University.

Visiting Scholars - a society for providing assistance and information to overseas visiting academics and their families.

Visitor - a college appointment, normally of a distinguished outside person, who may sometimes act as a court of last appeal against decisions of the Governing Body.

Warden - at Robinson College, the head of the College.

Wedding Cake - New Court, St John's College.

Week - a system of week numbering within Full Term has recently spread to Cambridge from Oxford. Used at Cambridge mainly in connection with drama, as in "a 6th-week production''. Week counting is easier at Oxford, where Full Terms start on Sundays and end on Saturdays.

West Cambridge - university site where many scientific departments are being relocated.

Whipple - museum of the History of Science, in Free School Lane.

Whittle - laboratory, on Madingley Road, of the Engineering Department.

William Harvey - lecture room at the Clinical School.

Winks - Tiddlywinks, a game played played by Winkers.

Wooden Spoon - until 1909, the object presented to the student who came bottom in the Mathematics Tripos.

Wrangler - in the Mathematics Tripos, a grade of pass equivalent to First Class Honours.

Wren - library at Trinity College.


This collection Copyright © R.D.H. Walker 1991-2002