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"Multa renascentur quæ jam cecidere, cadentque Quæ nunc sunt in
honore, vocabula."

"Notandi sunt tibi mores."
HOR. _Ars Poet._


Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1856, by


in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of


The first edition of this publication was mostly compiled during
the leisure hours of the last half-year of a Senior's collegiate
life, and was presented anonymously to the public with the


"The Editor has an indistinct recollection of a sheet of foolscap
paper, on one side of which was written, perhaps a year and a half
ago, a list of twenty or thirty college phrases, followed by the
euphonious titles of 'Yale Coll.,' 'Harvard Coll.' Next he calls
to mind two blue-covered books, turned from their original use, as
receptacles of Latin and Greek exercises, containing explanations
of these and many other phrases. His friends heard that he was
hunting up odd words and queer customs, and dubbed him
'Antiquarian,' but in a kindly manner, spared his feelings, and
did not put the vinegar 'old' before it.

"Two and one half quires of paper were in time covered with a
strange medley, an olla-podrida of student peculiarities. Thus did
he amuse himself in his leisure hours, something like one who, as
Dryden says, 'is for raking in Chaucer for antiquated words.' By
and by he heard a wish here and a wish there, whether real or
otherwise he does not know, which said something about 'type,'
'press,' and used other cabalistic words, such as 'copy,' 'devil,'
etc. Then there was a gathering of papers, a transcribing of
passages from letters, an arranging in alphabetical order, a
correcting of proofs, and the work was done, - poorly it may be,
but with good intent.

"Some things will be found in the following pages which are
neither words nor customs peculiar to colleges, and yet they have
been inserted, because it was thought they would serve to explain
the character of student life, and afford a little amusement to
the student himself. Society histories have been omitted, with the
exception of an account of the oldest affiliated literary society
in the United States.

"To those who have aided in the compilation of this work, the
Editor returns his warmest thanks. He has received the assistance
of many, whose names he would here and in all places esteem it an
honor openly to acknowlege, were he not forbidden so to do by the
fact that he is himself anonymous. Aware that there is information
still to be collected, in reference to the subjects here treated,
he would deem it a favor if he could receive through the medium of
his publisher such morsels as are yet ungathered.

"Should one pleasant thought arise within the breast of any
Alumnus, as a long-forgotten but once familiar word stares him in
the face, like an old and early friend; or should one who is still
guarded by his Alma Mater be led to a more summer-like
acquaintance with those who have in years past roved, as he now
roves, through classic shades and honored halls, the labors of
their friend, the Editor, will have been crowned with complete

"CAMBRIDGE, July 4th, 1851."

Fearing lest venerable brows should frown with displeasure at the
recital of incidents which once made those brows bright and
joyous; dreading also those stern voices which might condemn as
boyish, trivial, or wrong an attempt to glean a few grains of
philological lore from the hitherto unrecognized corners of the
fields of college life, the Editor chose to regard the brows and
hear the voices from an innominate position. Not knowing lest he
should at some future time regret the publication of pages which
might be deemed heterodox, he caused a small edition of the work
to be published, hoping, should it be judged as evil, that the
error would be circumscribed in its effects, and the medium of the
error buried between the dusty shelves of the second-hand
collection of some rusty old bibliopole. By reason of this extreme
caution, the volume has been out of print for the last four years.

In the present edition, the contents of the work have been
carefully revised, and new articles, filling about two hundred
pages, have been interspersed throughout the volume, arranged
under appropriate titles. Numerous additions have been made to the
collection of technicalities peculiar to the English universities,
and the best authorities have been consulted in the preparation of
this department. An index has also been added, containing a list
of the American colleges referred to in the text in connection
with particular words or customs.

The Editor is aware that many of the words here inserted are
wanting in that refinement of sound and derivation which their use
in classical localities might seem to imply, and that some of the
customs here noticed and described are
"More honored in the breach than the observance."
These facts are not, however, sufficient to outweigh his
conviction that there is nothing in language or manners too
insignificant for the attention of those who are desirous of
studying the diversified developments of the character of man. For
this reason, and for the gratification of his own taste and the
tastes of many who were pleased at the inceptive step taken in the
first edition, the present volume has been prepared and is now
given to the public.

TROY, N.Y., February 2, 1856.



A.B. An abbreviation for _Artium Baccalaureus_, Bachelor of Arts.
The first degree taken by students at a college or university. It
is usually written B.A., q.v.

ABSIT. Latin; literally, _let him be absent_; leave of absence
from commons, given to a student in the English
universities. - _Gradus ad Cantab._

ACADEMIAN. A member of an academy; a student in a university or

ACADEMIC. A student in a college or university.

A young _academic_ coming into the country immediately after this
great competition, &c. - _Forby's Vocabulary_, under _Pin-basket_.

A young _academic_ shall dwell upon a journal that treats of
trade, and be lavish in the praise of the author; while persons
skilled in those subjects hear the tattle with contempt. - _Watts's
Improvement of the Mind_.

ACADEMICALS. In the English universities, the dress peculiar to
the students and officers.

I must insist on your going to your College and putting on your
_academicals_. - _The Etonian_, Vol. II. p. 382.

The Proctor makes a claim of 6s. 8d. on every undergraduate whom
he finds _inermem_, or without his _academicals_. - _Gradus ad
Cantab._, p. 8.

If you say you are going for a walk, or if it appears likely, from
the time and place, you are allowed to pass, otherwise you may be
sent back to college to put on your _academicals_. - _Collegian's
Guide_, p. 177.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT. At Harvard College, every student admitted upon
examination, after giving a bond for the payment of all college
dues, according to the established laws and customs, is required
to sign the following _acknowledgment_, as it is called: - "I
acknowledge that, having been admitted to the University at
Cambridge, I am subject to its laws." Thereupon he receives from
the President a copy of the laws which he has promised to
obey. - _Laws Univ. of Cam., Mass._, 1848, p. 13.

ACT. In English universities, a thesis maintained in public by a
candidate for a degree, or to show the proficiency of a
student. - _Webster_.

The student proposes certain questions to the presiding officer of
the schools, who then nominates other students to oppose him. The
discussion is syllogistical and in Latin and terminates by the
presiding officer questioning the respondent, or person who is
said _to keep the act_, and his opponents, and dismissing them
with some remarks upon their respective merits. - _Brande_.

The effect of practice in such matters may be illustrated by the
habit of conversing in Latin, which German students do much more
readily than English, simply because the former practise it, and
hold public disputes in Latin, while the latter have long left off
"_keeping Acts_," as the old public discussions required of
candidates for a degree used to be called. - _Bristed's Five Years
in an Eng. Univ._, Ed. 2d, p. 184.

The word was formerly used in Harvard College. In the "Orders of
the Overseers," May 6th, 1650, is the following: "Such that expect
to proceed Masters of Arts [are ordered] to exhibit their synopsis
of _acts_ required by the laws of the College." - _Quincy's Hist.
Harv. Univ._, Vol. I. p. 518.

Nine Bachelors commenced at Cambridge; they were young men of good
hope, and performed their _acts_ so as to give good proof of their
proficiency in the tongues and arts. - _Winthrop's Journal, by Mr.
Savage_, Vol. I. p. 87.

The students of the first classis that have beene these foure
years trained up in University learning (for their ripening in the
knowledge of the tongues, and arts) and are approved for their
manners, as they have _kept_ their publick _Acts_ in former
yeares, ourselves being present at them; so have they lately
_kept_ two solemn _Acts_ for their Commencement. - _New England's
First Fruits_, in _Mass. Hist. Coll._, Vol. I. p. 245.

But in the succeeding _acts_ ... the Latin syllogism seemed to
give the most content. - _Harvard Register_, 1827-28, p. 305.

2. The close of the session at Oxford, when Masters and Doctors
complete their degrees, whence the _Act Term_, or that term in
which the _act_ falls. It is always held with great solemnity. At
Cambridge, and in American colleges, it is called _Commencement_.
In this sense Mather uses it.

They that were to proceed Bachelors, held their _Act_ publickly in
Cambridge. - _Mather's Magnalia_, B. 4, pp. 127, 128.

At some times in the universities of England they have no public
_acts_, but give degrees privately and silently. - _Letter of
Increase Mather, in App. to Pres. Woolsey's Hist. Disc._, p. 87.

AD EUNDEM GRADUM. Latin, _to the same degree_. In American
colleges, a Bachelor or Master of one institution was formerly
allowed to take _the same_ degree at another, on payment of a
certain fee. By this he was admitted to all the privileges of a
graduate of his adopted Alma Mater. _Ad eundem gradum_, to the
same degree, were the important words in the formula of admission.
A similar custom prevails at present in the English universities.

Persons who have received a degree in any other college or
university may, upon proper application, be admitted _ad eundem_,
upon payment of the customary fees to the President. - _Laws Union
Coll._, 1807, p. 47.

Persons who have received a degree in any other university or
college may, upon proper application, be admitted _ad eundem_,
upon paying five dollars to the Steward for the President. - _Laws
of the Univ. in Cam., Mass._, 1828.

Persons who have received a degree at any other college may, upon
proper application, be admitted _ad eundem_, upon payment of the
customary fee to the President. - _Laws Mid. Coll._, 1839, p. 24.

The House of Convocation consists both of regents and non-regents,
that is, in brief, all masters of arts not honorary, or _ad
eundems_ from Cambridge or Dublin, and of course graduates of a
higher order. - _Oxford Guide_, 1847, p. xi.

Fortunately some one recollected that the American Minister was a
D.C.L. of Trinity College, Dublin, members of which are admitted
_ad eundem gradum_ at Cambridge. - _Bristed's Five Years in an Eng.
Univ._, Ed. 2d, p. 112.

ADJOURN. At Bowdoin College, _adjourns_ are the occasional
holidays given when a Professor unexpectedly absents himself from

ADJOURN. At the University of Vermont, this word as a verb is used
in the same sense as is the verb BOLT at Williams College; e.g.
the students _adjourn_ a recitation, when they leave the
recitation-room _en masse_, despite the Professor.

ADMISSION. The act of admitting a person as a member of a college
or university. The requirements for admission are usually a good
moral character on the part of the candidate, and that he shall be
able to pass a satisfactory examination it certain studies. In
some colleges, students are not allowed to enter until they are of
a specified age. - _Laws Univ. at Cam., Mass._, 1848, p. 12. _Laws
Tale Coll._, 1837, p. 8.

The requisitions for entrance at Harvard College in 1650 are given
in the following extract. "When any scholar is able to read Tully,
or such like classical Latin author, _extempore_, and make and
speak true Latin in verse and prose _suo (ut aiunt) Marte_, and
decline perfectly the paradigms of nouns and verbs in the Greek
tongue, then may he be admitted into the College, nor shall any
claim admission before such qualifications." - _Quincy's Hist.
Harv. Univ._, Vol. I. p. 515.

ADMITTATUR. Latin; literally, _let him be admitted_. In the older
American colleges, the certificate of admission given to a student
upon entering was called an _admittatur_, from the word with which
it began. At Harvard no student was allowed to occupy a room in
the College, to receive the instruction there given, or was
considered a member thereof, until he had been admitted according
to this form. - _Laws Harv. Coll._, 1798.

Referring to Yale College, President Wholsey remarks on this
point: "The earliest known laws of the College belong to the years
1720 and 1726, and are in manuscript; which is explained by the
custom that every Freshman, on his admission, was required to
write off a copy of them for himself, to which the _admittatur_ of
the officers was subscribed." - _Hist. Disc, before Grad. Yale
Coll._, 1850, p. 45.

He travels wearily over in visions the term he is to wait for his
initiation into college ways and his _admittatur_. - _Harvard
Register_, p. 377.

I received my _admittatur_ and returned home, to pass the vacation
and procure the college uniform. - _New England Magazine_, Vol.
III. p. 238.

It was not till six months of further trial, that we received our
_admittatur_, so called, and became matriculated. - _A Tour through
College_, 1832, p. 13.

ADMITTO TE AD GRADUM. _I admit you to a degree_; the first words
in the formula used in conferring the honors of college.

The scholar-dress that once arrayed him,
The charm _Admitto te ad gradum_,
With touch of parchment can refine,
And make the veriest coxcomb shine,
Confer the gift of tongues at once,
And fill with sense the vacant dunce.
_Trumbull's Progress of Dullness_, Ed. 1794, Exeter, p. 12.

ADMONISH. In collegiate affairs, to reprove a member of a college
for a fault, either publicly or privately; the first step of
college discipline. It is followed by _of_ or _against_; as, to
admonish of a fault committed, or against committing a fault.

ADMONITION. Private or public reproof; the first step of college
discipline. In Harvard College, both private and public admonition
subject the offender to deductions from his rank, and the latter
is accompanied in most cases with official notice to his parents
or guardian. - See _Laws Univ. at Cam., Mass._, 1848, p. 21. _Laws
Yale Coll._, 1837, p. 23.

Mr. Flynt, for many years a tutor in Harvard College, thus records
an instance of college punishment for stealing poultry: - "November
4th, 1717. Three scholars were publicly admonished for thievery,
and one degraded below five in his class, because he had been
before publicly admonished for card-playing. They were ordered by
the President into the middle of the Hall (while two others,
concealers of the theft, were ordered to stand up in their places,
and spoken to there). The crime they were charged with was first
declared, and then laid open as against the law of God and the
House, and they were admonished to consider the nature and
tendency of it, with its aggravations; and all, with them, were
warned to take heed and regulate themselves, so that they might
not be in danger of so doing for the future; and those who
consented to the theft were admonished to beware, lest God tear
them in pieces, according to the text. They were then fined, and
ordered to make restitution twofold for each theft." - _Quincy's
Hist. Harv. Univ._, Vol. I. p. 443.

ADOPTED SON. Said of a student in reference to the college of
which he is or was a member, the college being styled his _alma

There is something in the affection of our Alma Mater which
changes the nature of her _adopted sons_; and let them come from
wherever they may, she soon alters them and makes it evident that
they belong to the same brood. - _Harvard Register_, p. 377.

ADVANCE. The lesson which a student prepares for the first time is
called _the advance_, in contradistinction to _the review_.

Even to save him from perdition,
He cannot get "_the advance_," forgets "_the review_."
_Childe Harvard_, p. 13.

ÆGROTAL. Latin, _ægrotus_, sick. A certificate of illness. Used
in the Univ. of Cam., Eng.

A lucky thought; he will get an "_ægrotal_," or medical
certificate of illness. - _Household Words_, Vol. II. p. 162.

ÆGROTAT. Latin; literally, _he is sick_. In the English
universities, a certificate from a doctor or surgeon, to the
effect that a student has been prevented by illness from attending
to his college duties, "though, commonly," says the Gradus ad
Cantabrigiam, "the real complaint is much more serious; viz.
indisposition of the mind! _ægrotat_ animo magis quam corpore."
This state is technically called _ægritude_, and the person thus
affected is said to be _æger_. - _The Etonian_, Vol. II. pp. 386,

To prove sickness nothing more is necessary than to send to some
medical man for a pill and a draught, and a little bit of paper
with _ægrotat_ on it, and the doctor's signature. Some men let
themselves down off their horses, and send for an _ægrotat_ on
the score of a fall. - _Westminster Rev._, Am. Ed., Vol. XXXV. p.

During this term I attended another course of Aristotle lectures,
- but not with any express view to the May examination, which I
had no intention of going in to, if it could be helped, and which
I eventually escaped by an _ægrotat_ from my
physician. - _Bristed's Five Years in an Eng. Univ._, Ed. 2d, p.

Mr. John Trumbull well describes this state of indisposition in
his Progress of Dullness: -

"Then every book, which ought to please,
Stirs up the seeds of dire disease;
Greek spoils his eyes, the print's so fine,
Grown dim with study, and with wine;
Of Tully's Latin much afraid,
Each page he calls the doctor's aid;
While geometry, with lines so crooked,
Sprains all his wits to overlook it.
His sickness puts on every name,
Its cause and uses still the same;
'Tis toothache, colic, gout, or stone,
With phases various as the moon,
But tho' thro' all the body spread,
Still makes its cap'tal seat, the head.
In all diseases, 'tis expected,
The weakest parts be most infected."
Ed. 1794, Part I. p. 8.

ÆGROTAT DEGREE. One who is sick or so indisposed that he cannot
attend the Senate-House examination, nor consequently acquire any
honor, takes what is termed an _Ægrotat degree_. - _Alma Mater_,
Vol. II. p. 105.

ALMA MATER, _pl._ ALMÆ MATRES. Fostering mother; a college or
seminary where one is educated. The title was originally given to
Oxford and Cambridge, by such as had received their education in
either university.

It must give pleasure to the alumni of the College to hear of his
good name, as he [Benjamin Woodbridge] was the eldest son of our
_alma mater_. - _Peirce's Hist. Harv. Univ._, App., p. 57.

I see the truths I have uttered, in relation to our _Almæ
Matres_, assented to by sundry of their
children. - _Terræ-Filius_, Oxford, p. 41.

ALUMNI, SOCIETY OF. An association composed of the graduates of a
particular college. The object of societies of this nature is
stated in the following extract from President Hopkins's Address
before the Society of Alumni of Williams College, Aug. 16, 1843.
"So far as I know, the Society of the Alumni of Williams College
was the first association of the kind in this country, certainly
the first which acted efficiently, and called forth literary
addresses. It was formed September 5, 1821, and the preamble to
the constitution then adopted was as follows: 'For the promotion
of literature and good fellowship among ourselves, and the better
to advance the reputation and interests of our Alma Mater, we the
subscribers, graduates of Williams College, form ourselves into a
Society.' The first president was Dr. Asa Burbank. The first
orator elected was the Hon. Elijah Hunt Mills, a distinguished
Senator of the United States. That appointment was not fulfilled.
The first oration was delivered in 1823, by the Rev. Dr.
Woodbridge, now of Hadley, and was well worthy of the occasion;
and since that time the annual oration before the Alumni has
seldom failed.... Since this Society was formed, the example has
been followed in other institutions, and bids fair to extend to
them all. Last year, for the first time, the voice of an Alumnus
orator was heard at Harvard and at Yale; and one of these
associations, I know, sprung directly from ours. It is but three
years since a venerable man attended the meeting of our Alumni,
one of those that have been so full of interest, and he said he
should go directly home and have such an association formed at the
Commencement of his Alma Mater, then about to occur. He did so.
That association was formed, and the last year the voice of one of
the first scholars and jurists in the nation was heard before
them. The present year the Alumni of Dartmouth were addressed for
the first time, and the doctrine of Progress was illustrated by
the distinguished speaker in more senses than one.[01] Who can
tell how great the influence of such associations may become in
cherishing kind feeling, in fostering literature, in calling out
talent, in leading men to act, not selfishly, but more efficiently
for the general cause through particular institutions?" - _Pres.
Hopkins's Miscellaneous Essays and Discourses_, pp. 275-277.

To the same effect also, Mr. Chief Justice Story, who, in his
Discourse before the Society of the Alumni of Harvard University,
Aug. 23, 1842, says: "We meet to celebrate the first anniversary
of the society of all the Alumni of Harvard. We meet without any
distinction of sect or party, or of rank or profession, in church
or in state, in literature or in science.... Our fellowship is
designed to be - as it should be - of the most liberal and
comprehensive character, conceived in the spirit of catholic
benevolence, asking no creed but the love of letters, seeking no
end but the encouragement of learning, and imposing no conditions,
which say lead to jealousy or ambitious strife. In short, we meet
for peace and for union; to devote one day in the year to
academical intercourse and the amenities of scholars." - p. 4.

An Alumni society was formed at Columbia College in the year 1829,
and at Rutgers College in 1837. There are also societies of this
nature at the College of New Jersey, Princeton; University of
Virginia, Charlottesville; and at Columbian College, Washington.

ALUMNUS, _pl._ ALUMNI. Latin, from _alo_, to nourish. A pupil; one
educated at a seminary or college is called an _alumnus_ of that

A.M. An abbreviation for _Artium Magister_, Master of Arts. The
second degree given by universities and colleges. It is usually
written M.A., q.v.

ANALYSIS. In the following passage, the word _analysis_ is used as
a verb; the meaning being directly derived from that of the noun
of the same orthography.

If any resident Bachelor, Senior, or Junior Sophister shall
neglect to _analysis_ in his course, he shall be punished not
exceeding ten shillings. - _Peirce's Hist. Harv. Univ._, App., p.

ANNARUGIANS. At Centre College, Kentucky, is a society called the
_Annarugians_, "composed," says a correspondent "of the wildest of
the College boys, who, in the most fantastic disguises, are always
on hand when a wedding is to take place, and join in a most
tremendous Charivari, nor can they be forced to retreat until they
have received a due proportion of the sumptuous feast prepared."

APOSTLES. At Cambridge, England, the last twelve on the list of

Online LibraryBenjamin Homer HallA Collection of College Words and Customs → online text (page 1 of 41)