The University and colleges at Oxford (and at the Other Place) have many words that are only used here or have a special meaning here.  Below is a glossary of some of the most common. Also see Glossary of Oxford terms on the University website.

0th week (noughth week)

The week before the first week of term.  The time is often spent meeting with Tutors to organise the term’s teaching and sitting collections (see below).

9th week

The week after term ends.  Sometimes undergraduate exams are held in 9th week.


Examination pass which may be granted by the University if a student is unable to attend an examination for medical reasons.


Noun: college bill or invoice.  Don’t file them in the bin.  Verb: to charge (or be charged) to your college account, as in ‘Can you battel me for that?’


Official attending the Vice-Chancellor on ceremonial occasions.


Award for competing in the Varsity match in certain major sports.  University team members in minor sports get Half Blues.

The Boat Race

Annual rowing competition between Oxford and Cambridge held in London on the River Thames in early spring.  On the same afternoon the second Oxford boat (Isis) competes against the second Cambridge boat (Goldie).  There is also a Women's Varsity boat race and you can find more about it here.

The Bod

Short for ‘Bodleian Library’, the main library at Oxford University.  Librarians themselves often call it ‘Bodley’, after its benefactor Thomas Bodley (1545-1613).

Bod Card

Another name for University Card. A combination of identity, library, and stored value card.  It is the key to getting into many places in Oxford.


Discos regularly organised by the JCR. LMH is well known for its bops.

The Broad

Wide street in the centre of Oxford.


Because the river is too narrow for boats to race next to each other, in rowing competitions at Oxford (and also at Cambridge), boats start at regular intervals along the river based on their results in previous years.  A bump occurs when the boat behind catches up to the boat in front (but preferably does not actually hit it).  See the LMH boat club website for more information on rowing at the College.  See also Torpids and Eights, below.


The junction of High Street, St. Aldates, Queen Street and Cornmarket Street. Carfax Tower marks this traditional centre of the city.  All official distances from Oxford are measured from Carfax, and students only satisfy residence requirements if they live within 6 miles.


The titular and ceremonial head of the University.  Currently Lord (Chris) Patten who is also the Visitor of LMH.

The Cherwell

(Pronounced charwell)  One of two rivers in Oxford, a tributary of the Thames (see Isis, below).  The Cherwell forms the eastern boundary of LMH and is excellent for punting.  The Cherwell is also the name of one of the student newspapers.

Christ Church

One of the largest colleges in the University, it is never referred to as Christ Church College, but simply Christ Church. Members of the college also call it ‘The House’. Its chapel is also the Oxford cathedral.


Internal college exams set by Tutors at the beginning of each term to see if their students learned anything the previous term or did any work in the vac(ation).   Although collections don’t count for your final degree, you can get book prizes by doing very well, and get in big trouble by doing very badly.


Thirty eight independent and self-governing colleges and six Permanent Private Halls (PPH – see below) make up the University.  All students must belong to one of them.  Confusingly, although LMH is Lady Margaret Hall, it is a college, and not a hall...

Come up

To arrive as a student at Oxford, and to return each term. See also ‘go down’ and ‘sent down’.


An undergraduate student who does not have a scholarship or exhibition. 


The legislative body consisting of most of the academics and senior academic-related staff in the University. 


All holders of Oxford degrees (originally restricted to those holding MAs).  Members of Convocation elect the Chancellor and Professor of Poetry.


Intercollegiate competitions in many sports. 

Daily Information

Essential reading.  News sheet posted throughout Oxford.  Out of term it becomes Weekly Information.  You can read online at www.dailyinfo.co.uk.


Broad academic area in which departments are grouped.  There are four divisions at Oxford: Humanities; Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences; Medical Sciences; and Social Sciences.

The Dean

Head of Christ Church (see Head of House) but elsewhere a college officer responsible for student discipline and good order.  Most colleges also have Junior Deans who are usually graduate students.


A college fellow.


Doctor of Philosophy; the same as a PhD anywhere else.


Intercollegiate boat race held in Trinity term.


Emeritus Fellow 

A retired fellow of the college, who has been elected to an Emeritus Fellowship by Governing Body.


Ceremony at the end of Trinity term when honorary degrees are awarded.  University officials and certain Doctors are invited to partake of Lord Crewe’s Benefaction (champagne and strawberries) at one of the colleges and from thence to process in full Oxford academic dress to the Sheldonian. The Public Orator (a distinguished Fellow of LMH) makes a witty speech in Latin about each honorand and then gives a witty end of year report in English (the Creweian Oration, named for Nathaniel, Lord Crewe, Bishop of Durham). If you would like to attend encaenia, the College Academic Administrator can get named tickets. See the University website.


Short for entertainments.   Any social events organised in college, usually by the JCR Committee.


Officer elected by the JCR / MCR.  Also refers to officers of OUSU.


Like a scholarship, only less.  At LMH these are awarded to students who narrowly miss a First in Mods (see below) or Prelims (see below).


See Don.  Member of the Governing Body of a college.  All of the Tutors at LMH, plus the Treasurer, Senior Tutor, Development Director and Chaplain are Official Fellows.  We also have several Professorial and Supernumerary Fellows. 


Final examinations at the end of 3 or 4 years as an undergraduate student.  In certain subjects these are also referred to as Schools.

Formal Hall

A three-course meal once a week in term involving great food, sparkling conversation and servers attending to your every need. Students can bring their own drink. Unlike at many colleges, gowns are not worn to Formal Hall at LMH, but the dress code is smart.


A first-year student, undergraduate or postgraduate.


A college reunion for alumni.  At LMH gaudies are held annually at the end of Trinity term.

Go down

Leave Oxford at the end of each term, or permanently at the end of your course. Opposite of ‘come up’.

Governing Body

Sometimes abbreviated to ‘GB’.  The collective name for the fellows of the college who meet two or three times a term to consider all matters of college policy and governance. 


A four-year course of study in classics and ancient philosophy, also known as Lit Hum (short for Literae Humaniores). 


Main college dining room; also refers to meals themselves as in ‘Early Hall’ or ‘Formal Hall’. Confusingly Lady Margaret Hall and St Edmund Hall are colleges, and Regent’s Park College is a hall... see PPH, below.

Head of House

The head of a college.   Depending on the college heads are known variously as Dean (Christ Church), Master (Balliol, Pembroke, St Catherine’s, St Cross, St Peter’s, Univ), President (Corpus Christi, Kellogg, Magdalen, St John’s, Templeton, Trinity, Wolfson), Principal (Brasenose, Green Templeton, Harris Manchester, Hertford, Jesus, LMH, Linacre, Mansfield, St Anne’s, St Edmund Hall, St Hilda’s, St Hugh’s, Somerville), the Provost (Oriel, Queen’s Worcester), Rector (Exeter, Lincoln) or Warden (All Souls, Keble, Merton, New, Nuffield, St Antony’s, Wadham).

Head of the River

Glorious title for the winning crew (and thus their college) at Torpids or Eights. Also the name of the pub at Folly Bridge, near the race finish.

Hell’s Passage 

Corridor in LMH connecting Deneke to Toynbee.  It was so called because prints illustrating Dante’s Inferno used to hang there.  Now it is lined with student notice boards, but the name stuck.

The High

Oxford High Street.

High Table 

Dinner for members of the college SCR and their guests only, derived from the fact that the table that is used in Hall is higher than the others (by a single, symbolic step).


Spring term. (cf. Michaelmas and Trinity)

The House

Name which members of Christ Church use to refer to the college.


That part of the River Thames that flows through Oxford.  Also the name of the second University boat (see boat race, above) and an Oxford student magazine.


Short for Junior Common Room. (cf. MCR and SCR). 1. The college’s student body for undergraduate and visiting students; 2. An actual common room where students may engorge themselves with pizza, listen to music and play on Wii etc.

The KA

Popular pub with outside benches opposite Hertford College.

Lady Margaret Day

Commemoration of the College’s Foundation, held each year in Trinity term.  The JCR Vice-President organises a speaker from amongst the College’s distinguished alumni. 

Long Vac 

The summer vacation.  Your Tutor will remind you of the difference between a holiday and a vacation.


Master of Arts. At Oxford this is a ceremonial degree - but it still seems to impress people. Twenty-one terms after your matriculation upon payment of a small fee, your BA becomes an MA. LMH Development Office organises a party each year for new MAs to pick up their certificates and reconnect with old friends. For more details go to the alumni section.


Ceremony in the Sheldonian to confer membership of the University, usually when you first begin your course of study. 

May morning

1st May.  An early morning street party in Oxford, beginning at 6am with the choir of Magdalen College singing from the Tower.


Middle Common Room - for graduate students (cf. JCR and SCR).


Medical student.


Autumn term. (cf. Hilary and Trinity)


Short for ‘Moderations’.  First public examinations, normally taken at the end of the first year.  A class is awarded but it doesn't count towards (or against) your finals.  At LMH Scholarships and Exhibitions are awarded for excellent performance.


An academic cap with a hard flat square top and a tassel in the middle.  Normally carried not worn.  Women may wear a soft cap if they prefer.

The Other Place



Oxford University Dramatic Society. (Pronounced ‘owds’.) Many famous actors and actresses have been OUDS officers and/or acted in OUDS productions including LMH's own Diana Quick and Sam West.


Oxford University Students Union.

Oxford Blue

The University’s dark blue colour.  The Other Place has a pale blue for its colour.

Pidge /Pigeonhole

Your (open) mailbox in the Lodge.

Pidge / Pigeon post

Free post, carried by messengers to all colleges and institutions in the University.  To pidge someone is to send pigeon post.


Friendly security guard at the front door of each college, often to scare off tourists but not needed for that at LMH.  New and visiting students need to know they are porters as in the Latin for gate rather than the Latin for carry.  First line of contact for any crises or emergencies.

Porter's Lodge

A college’s front entrance where the Porters sit guarding the gates.  At LMH not to be confused with (Eleanor) Lodge which is a separate building named after a person.


Permanent Private Hall.  The six Permanent Private Halls all have religious foundations.  These are not full colleges of the University, but their students matriculate at the University and at many of the PPHs study for degrees in a range of subjects, not just theology.  The PPHs are Blackfriars, Campion Hall, Regent’s Park College, St Benet’s Hall, St Stephen’s House and Wycliffe Hall.


Short for ‘Preliminaries’.  Generally students reading one of the sciences take Prelims at the end of their first year.  Students reading one of the arts or social sciences take Mods.


Officials in charge of University regulation and discipline.  Proctors are in charge of university exams and also perform a number of ceremonial roles.


Wide, flat bottomed boat propelled by a pole.  At LMH you can hire them from the Lodge and pick them up from the punt house at the bottom of the gardens.


Short for ‘quadrangle’.  Traditional Oxford colleges are organised around a series of rectangular or square courtyards, e.g. the Front Quad at LMH.  Please don't walk on the grass.


Studying.  If you are asked what you are reading, unless you have a book in your hand, the questioner probably wants to know your subject of study. (E.g. I am reading Greats.)


To be sent down temporarily.

St Catz

St Catherine’s College.


At LMH these are awarded for Firsts at Mods or Distinctions at Prelims.


Short for Examination Schools, both the building and the (final) exams themselves.


Person who cleans student bedrooms. Some are employees of the college, others contract cleaners.


Senior Common Room - for the Principal and Fellows, College Lecturers and others including academic visitors. (cf. JCR and MCR)

Sent down

To be expelled by the University or college. See also ‘come up’ and ‘go down’.


Students.  Except at Christ Church, where they are Fellows.

Sub fusc

On-her-way-to-exam-by-Ben-May12.jpgA dark suit with dark socks, or a dark skirt with black stockings/tights, or dark trousers with dark socks; an optional dark coat; black shoes; a plain white collared shirt/blouse; a white/black bow tie, or a black full-length tie, or a black ribbon. The term comes from the Latin sub fuscus meaning dark brown.

In addition, students traditionally wear carnations for exams: a white carnation for first exam, a red carnation for last exam and a pink carnation for all exams in between.


Where the books are mainly kept in large major libraries.  You aren’t allowed into the stacks in the main Bod but must order your books to be brought to you instead.


Anything that expresses your college, club, society, production, or sports team affiliations, e.g. hoodies, t-shirts, polo shirts, underwear.


Ask for a degree to be conferred at a degree ceremony.  E.g. candidates who satisfactorily complete a DPhil are granted ‘Leave to supplicate’, meaning they have passed.

Teddy Hall

St Edmund Hall, one of the colleges of the University.


Inter-collegiate boat race held in Hilary term.


Summer term. (c.f. Hilary and Michaelmas) Also a college. (Its full name is College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity.)


Teacher who is a Fellow of a college.  Other teachers are called College Lecturers. Students typically have a ‘tutorial’ at least once a week in term time when they are supposed to have prepared an essay or problem set.  Since there are usually only one or two students at a tutorial, your Tutor will notice if you haven't prepared.

Tute / Tutorial

Weekly meeting between student and Tutor.

The Union

The University debating society, founded in 1823.


University College, one of the colleges of the University.


Short for vacation.  Oxford has three: Christmas vac, Easter vac and the Long vac.

Varsity Match

Sporting fixture between Oxford and Cambridge.


The administrative head of the University.

The Visitor

The collegiate equivalent of the University's Chancellor (at LMH and several other colleges it is the same person). The Visitor must adjudicate if there is a serious dispute within Governing Body; because this is rare, the Visitor's main function is to give occasional entertaining speeches on ceremonial occasions, such as the Founders and Benefactors Dinner.


Short for Viva Voce: an oral exam.

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