A Collection of College Words and Customs
by Benjamin Homer Hall
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FAG. Scotch, faik, to fail, to languish. Ancient Swedish, wik-a, cedere. To drudge; to labor to weariness; to become weary.

2. To study hard; to persevere in study.

Place me 'midst every toil and care, A hapless undergraduate still, To fag at mathematics dire, &c. Gradus ad Cantab., p. 8.

Dee, the famous mathematician, appears to have fagged as intensely as any man at Cambridge. For three years, he declares, he only slept four hours a night, and allowed two hours for refreshment. The remaining eighteen hours were spent in study.—Ibid., p. 48.

How did ye toil, and fagg, and fume, and fret, And—what the bashful muse would blush to say. But, now, your painful tremors are all o'er, Cloath'd in the glories of a full-sleev'd gown, Ye strut majestically up and down, And now ye fagg, and now ye fear, no more! Gent. Mag., 1795, p. 20.

FAG. A laborious drudge; a drudge for another. In colleges and schools, this term is applied to a boy of a lower form who is forced to do menial services for another boy of a higher form or class.

But who are those three by-standers, that have such an air of submission and awe in their countenances? They are fags,—Freshmen, poor fellows, called out of their beds, and shivering with fear in the apprehension of missing morning prayers, to wait upon their lords the Sophomores in their midnight revellings.—Harvardiana, Vol. II. p. 106.

His fag he had well-nigh killed by a blow. Wallenstein in Bohn's Stand. Lib., p. 155.

A sixth-form schoolboy is not a little astonished to find his fags becoming his masters.—Lond. Quar. Rev., Am. Ed., Vol. LXXIII, p. 53.

Under the title FRESHMAN SERVITUDE will be found as account of the manner in which members of that class were formerly treated in the older American colleges.

2. A diligent student, i.e. a dig.

FAG. Time spent in, or period of, studying.

The afternoon's fag is a pretty considerable one, lasting from three till dark.—Alma Mater, Vol. I. p. 248.

After another hard fag of a week or two, a land excursion would be proposed.—Ibid., Vol. II. p. 56.

FAGGING. Laborious drudgery; the acting as a drudge for another at a college or school.

2. Studying hard, equivalent to digging, grubbing, &c.

Thrice happy ye, through toil and dangers past, Who rest upon that peaceful shore, Where all your fagging is no more, And gain the long-expected port at last. Gent. Mag., 1795, p. 19.

To fagging I set to, therefore, with as keen a relish as ever alderman sat down to turtle.—Alma Mater, Vol. I. p. 123.

See what I pay for liberty to leave school early, and to figure in every ball-room in the country, and see the world, instead of fagging at college.—Collegian's Guide, p. 307.

FAIR HARVARD. At the celebration of the era of the second century from the origin of Harvard College, which was held at Cambridge, September 8th, 1836, the following Ode, written by the Rev. Samuel Gilman, D.D., of Charleston, S.C., was sung to the air, "Believe me, if all those endearing young charms."

"FAIR HARVARD! thy sons to thy Jubilee throng, And with blessings surrender thee o'er, By these festival-rites, from the Age that is past, To the Age that is waiting before. O Relic and Type of our ancestors' worth, That hast long kept their memory warm! First flower of their wilderness! Star of their night, Calm rising through change and through storm!

"To thy bowers we were led in the bloom of our youth, From the home of our free-roving years, When our fathers had warned, and our mothers had prayed, And our sisters had blest, through their tears. Thou then wert our parent,—the nurse of our souls,— We were moulded to manhood by thee, Till, freighted with treasure-thoughts, friendships, and hopes, Thou didst launch us on Destiny's sea.

"When, as pilgrims, we come to revisit thy halls, To what kindlings the season gives birth! Thy shades are more soothing, thy sunlight more dear, Than descend on less privileged earth: For the Good and the Great, in their beautiful prime, Through thy precincts have musingly trod, As they girded their spirits, or deepened the streams That make glad the fair City of God.

"Farewell! be thy destinies onward and bright! To thy children the lesson still give, With freedom to think, and with patience to bear, And for right ever bravely to live. Let not moss-covered Error moor thee at its side, As the world on Truth's current glides by; Be the herald of Light, and the bearer of Love, Till the stock of the Puritans die."

Since the occasion on which this ode was sung, it has been the practice with the odists of Class Day at Harvard College to write the farewell class song to the tune of "Fair Harvard," the name by which the Irish air "Believe me" has been adopted. The deep pathos of this melody renders it peculiarly appropriate to the circumstances with which it has been so happily connected, and from which it is to be hoped it may never be severed.


FAIR LICK. In the game of football, when the ball is fairly caught or kicked beyond the bounds, the cry usually heard, is Fair lick! Fair lick!

"Fair lick!" he cried, and raised his dreadful foot, Armed at all points with the ancestral boot. Harvardiana, Vol. IV. p. 22.


FANTASTICS. At Princeton College, an exhibition on Commencement evening, of a number of students on horseback, fantastically dressed in masks, &c.

FAST. An epithet of one who is showy in dress, expensive or apparently so in his mode of living, and inclined to spree. Formerly used exclusively among students; now of more general application.

Speaking of the student signification of the word, Bristed remarks: "A fast man is not necessarily (like the London fast man) a rowing man, though the two attributes are often combined in the same person; he is one who dresses flashily, talks big, and spends, or affects to spend, money very freely."—Five Years in an Eng. Univ., Ed. 2d, p. 23.

The Fast Man comes, with reeling tread, Cigar in mouth, and swimming head. MS. Poem, F.E. Felton.

FAT. At Princeton College, a letter with money or a draft is thus denominated.

FATHER or PRAELECTOR. In the University of Cambridge, Eng., one of the fellows of a college, who attends all the examinations for the Bachelor's degree, to see that justice is done to the candidates from his own college, who are at that time called his sons.—Gradus ad Cantab.

The Fathers of the respective colleges, zealous for the credit of the societies of which they are the guardians, are incessantly employed in examining those students who appear most likely to contest the palm of glory with their sons.—Gent. Mag., 1773, p. 435.

FEBRUARY TWENTY-SECOND. At Shelby, Centre, and Bacon Colleges, in Kentucky, it is customary to select the best orators and speakers from the different literary societies to deliver addresses on the twenty-second of February, in commemoration of the birthday of Washington. At Bethany College, in Virginia, this day is observed in a similar manner.

FEEZE. Usually spelled PHEEZE, q.v.

Under FLOP, another, but probably a wrong or obsolete, signification is given.

FELLOW. A member of a corporation; a trustee. In the English universities, a residence at the college, engagement in instruction, and receiving therefor a stipend, are essential requisites to the character of a fellow. In American colleges, it is not necessary that a fellow should be a resident, a stipendiary, or an instructor. In most cases the greater number of the Fellows of the Corporation are non-residents, and have no part in the instruction at the college.

With reference to the University of Cambridge, Eng., Bristed remarks: "The Fellows, who form the general body from which the other college officers are chosen, consist of those four or five Bachelor Scholars in each year who pass the best examination in classics, mathematics, and metaphysics. This examination being a severe one, and only the last of many trials which they have gone through, the inference is allowable that they are the most learned of the College graduates. They have a handsome income, whether resident or not; but if resident, enjoy the additional advantages of a well-spread table for nothing, and good rooms at a very low price. The only conditions of retaining their Fellowships are, that they take orders after a certain time and remain unmarried. Of those who do not fill college offices, some occupy themselves with private pupils; others, who have property of their own, prefer to live a life of literary leisure, like some of their predecessors, the monks of old. The eight oldest Fellows at any time in residence, together with the Master, have the government of the college vested in them."—Five Years in an Eng. Univ., Ed. 2d, p. 16.

For some remarks on the word Fellow, see under the title COLLEGE.

FELLOW-COMMONER. In the University of Cambridge, England, Fellow-Commoners are generally the younger sons of the nobility, or young men of fortune, and have the privilege of dining at the Fellows' table, whence the appellation originated.

"Fellow-Commoners," says Bristed, "are 'young men of fortune,' as the Cambridge Calendar and Cambridge Guide have it, who, in consideration of their paying twice as much for everything as anybody else, are allowed the privilege of sitting at the Fellows' table in hall, and in their seats at chapel; of wearing a gown with gold or silver lace, and a velvet cap with a metallic tassel; of having the first choice of rooms; and as is generally believed, and believed not without reason, of getting off with a less number of chapels per week. Among them are included the Honorables not eldest sons,—only these wear a hat instead of the velvet cap, and are thence popularly known as Hat Fellow-Commoners."—Five Years in an Eng. Univ., Ed. 2d, p. 13.

A Fellow-Commoner at Cambridge is equivalent to an Oxford Gentleman-Commoner, and is in all respects similar to what in private schools and seminaries is called a parlor boarder. A fuller account of this, the first rank at the University, will be found in the Gentleman's Magazine, 1795, p. 20, and in the Gradus ad Cantabrigiam, p. 50.

"Fellow-Commoners have been nicknamed 'Empty Bottles'! They have been called, likewise, 'Useless Members'! 'The licensed Sons of Ignorance.'"—Gradus ad Cantab.

The Fellow-Commoners, alias empty bottles, (not so called because they've let out anything during the examination,) are then presented.—Alma Mater, Vol. II. p. 101.

In the old laws of Harvard College we find the following: "None shall be admitted a Fellow-Commoner unless he first pay thirteen pounds six and eight pence to the college. And every Fellow-Commoner shall pay double tuition money. They shall have the privilege of dining and supping with the Fellows at their table in the hall; they shall be excused from going on errands, and shall have the title of Masters, and have the privilege of wearing their hats as the Masters do; but shall attend all duties and exercises with the rest of their class, and be alike subject to the laws and government of the College," &c. The Hon. Paine Wingate, a graduate of the class of 1759, says in reference to this subject: "I never heard anything about Fellow-Commoners in college excepting in this paragraph. I am satisfied there has been no such description of scholars at Cambridge since I have known anything about the place."—Peirce's Hist. Harv. Coll., p. 314.

In the Appendix to "A Sketch of the History of Harvard College," by Samuel A. Eliot, is a memorandum, in the list of donations to that institution, under the date 1683, to this effect. "Mr. Joseph Brown, Mr. Edward Page, Mr. Francis Wainwright, fellow-commoners, gave each a silver goblet." Mr. Wainwright graduated in 1686. The other two do not appear to have received a degree. All things considered, it is probable that this order, although introduced from the University of Cambridge, England, into Harvard College, received but few members, on account of the evil influence which such distinctions usually exert.


FELLOW, RESIDENT. At Harvard College, the tutors were formerly called resident fellows.—Quincy's Hist. Harv. Univ., Vol. I. p. 278.

The resident fellows were tutors to the classes, and instructed them in Hebrew, "and led them through all the liberal arts before the four years were expired."—Harv. Reg., p. 249.

FELLOWSHIP. An establishment in colleges, for the maintenance of a fellow.—Webster.

In Harvard College, tutors were formerly called Fellows of the House or College, and their office, fellowships. In this sense that word is used in the following passage.

Joseph Stevens was chosen "Fellow of the College, or House," and as such was approved by that board [the Corporation], in the language of the records, "to supply a vacancy in one of the Fellowships of the House."—Quincy's Hist. Harv. Univ., Vol. I. p. 279.


FEMUR. Latin; a thigh-bone. At Yale College, a femur was formerly the badge of a medical bully.

When hand in hand all joined in band, With clubs, umbrellas, femurs, Declaring death and broken teeth 'Gainst blacksmiths, cobblers, seamers. The Crayon, Yale Coll., 1823, p. 14.

"One hundred valiant warriors, who (My Captain bid me say) Three femurs wield, with one to fight, With two to run away,

"Wait in Scull Castle, to receive, With open gates, your men; Their right arms nerved, their femurs clenched, Safe to protect ye then!"—Ibid., p. 23.

FERG. To lose the heat of excitement or passion; to become less angry, ardent; to cool. A correspondent from the University of Vermont, where this word is used, says: "If a man gets angry, we 'let him ferg,' and he feels better."

FESS. Probably abbreviated for CONFESS. In some of the Southern Colleges, to fail in reciting; to silently request the teacher not to put farther queries.

This word is in use among the cadets at West Point, with the same meaning.

And when you and I, and Benny, and General Jackson too, Are brought before a final board our course of life to view, May we never "fess" on any "point," but then be told to go To join the army of the blest, with Benny Havens, O! Song, Benny Havens, O!

FINES. In many of the colleges in the United States it was formerly customary to impose fines upon the students as a punishment for non-compliance with the laws. The practice is now very generally abolished.

About the middle of the eighteenth century, the custom of punishing by pecuniary mulets began, at Harvard College, to be considered objectionable. "Although," says Quincy, "little regarded by the students, they were very annoying to their parents." A list of the fines which were imposed on students at that period presents a curious aggregate of offences and punishments.

L s. d. Absence from prayers, 0 0 2 Tardiness at prayers, 0 0 1 Absence from Professor's public lecture, 0 0 4 Tardiness at do. 0 0 2 Profanation of Lord's day, not exceeding 0 3 0 Absence from public worship, 0 0 9 Tardiness at do. 0 0 3 Ill behavior at do. not exceeding 0 1 6 Going to meeting before bell-ringing, 0 0 6 Neglecting to repeat the sermon, 0 0 9 Irreverent behavior at prayers, or public divinity lectures, 0 1 6 Absence from chambers, &c., not exceeding 0 0 6 Not declaiming, not exceeding 0 1 6 Not giving up a declamation, not exceeding 0 1 6 Absence from recitation, not exceeding 0 1 6 Neglecting analyzing, not exceeding 0 3 0 Bachelors neglecting disputations, not exceeding 0 1 6 Respondents neglecting do. from 1s. 6d. to 0 3 0 Undergraduates out of town without leave, not exceeding 0 2 6 Undergraduates tarrying out of town without leave, not exceeding per diem, 0 1 3 Undergraduates tarrying out of town one week without leave, not exceeding 0 10 0 Undergraduates tarrying out of town one month without leave, not exceeding 2 10 0 Lodging strangers without leave, not exceeding 0 1 6 Entertaining persons of ill character, not exceeding 0 1 6 Going out of College without proper garb, not exceeding 0 0 6 Frequenting taverns, not exceeding 0 1 6 Profane cursing, not exceeding 0 2 6 Graduates playing cards, not exceeding 0 5 0 Undergraduates playing cards, not exceeding 0 2 6 Undergraduates playing any game for money, not exceeding 0 1 6 Selling and exchanging without leave, not exceeding 0 1 6 Lying, not exceeding 0 1 6 Opening door by pick-locks, not exceeding 0 5 0 Drunkenness, not exceeding 0 1 6 Liquors prohibited under penalty, not exceeding 0 1 6 Second offence, not exceeding 0 3 0 Keeping prohibited liquors, not exceeding 0 1 6 Sending for do. 0 0 6 Fetching do. 0 1 6 Going upon the top of the College, 0 1 6 Cutting off the lead, 0 1 6 Concealing the transgression of the 19th Law,[25] 0 1 6 Tumultuous noises, 0 1 6 Second offence, 0 3 0 Refusing to give evidence, 0 3 0 Rudeness at meals, 0 1 0 Butler and cook to keep utensils clean, not exceeding 0 5 0 Not lodging at their chambers, not exceeding 0 1 6 Sending Freshmen in studying time, 0 0 9 Keeping guns, and going on skating, 0 1 0 Firing guns or pistols in College yard, 0 2 6 Fighting or hurting any person, not exceeding 0 1 6

In 1761, a committee, of which Lieutenant-Governor Hutchinson was a member, was appointed to consider of some other method of punishing offenders. Although they did not altogether abolish mulets, yet "they proposed that, in lieu of an increase of mulcts, absences without justifiable cause from any exercise of the College should subject the delinquent to warning, private admonition, exhortation to duty, and public admonition, with a notification to parents; when recitations had been omitted, performance of them should be exacted at some other time; and, by way of punishment for disorders, confinement, and the performance of exercises during its continuance, should be enjoined."—Quincy's Hist. Harv. Univ., Vol. II. pp. 135, 136.

By the laws of 1798, fines not exceeding one dollar were imposed by a Professor or Tutor, or the Librarian; not exceeding two dollars, by the President; all above two dollars, by the President, Professors, and Tutors, at a meeting.

Upon this subject, with reference to Harvard College, Professor Sidney Willard remarks: "For a long period fines constituted the punishment of undergraduates for negligence in attendance at the exercises and in the performance of the lessons assigned to them. A fine was the lowest degree in the gradation of punishment. This mode of punishment or disapprobation was liable to objections, as a tax on the father rather than a rebuke of the son, (except it might be, in some cases, for the indirect moral influence produced upon the latter, operating on his filial feeling,) and as a mercenary exaction, since the money went into the treasury of the College. It was a good day for the College when this punishment through the purse was abandoned as a part of the system of punishments; which, not confined to neglect of study, had been extended also to a variety of misdemeanors more or less aggravated and aggravating."—Memories of Youth and Manhood, Vol. I. p. 304.

"Of fines," says President Woolsey, in his Historical Discourse relating to Yale College, "the laws are full, and other documents show that the laws did not sleep. Thus there was in 1748 a fine of a penny for the absence of an undergraduate from prayers, and of a half-penny for tardiness or coming in after the introductory collect; of fourpence for absence from public worship; of from two to six pence for absence from one's chamber during the time of study; of one shilling for picking open a lock the first time, and two shillings the second; of two and sixpence for playing at cards or dice, or for bringing strong liquor into College; of one shilling for doing damage to the College, or jumping out of the windows,—and so in many other cases.

"In the year 1759, a somewhat unfair pamphlet was written, which gave occasion to several others in quick succession, wherein, amidst other complaints of President Clap's administration, mention is made of the large amount of fines imposed upon students. The author, after mentioning that in three years' time over one hundred and seventy-two pounds of lawful money was collected in this way, goes on to add, that 'such an exorbitant collection by fines tempts one to suspect that they have got together a most disorderly set of young men training up for the service of the churches, or that they are governed and corrected chiefly by pecuniary punishments;—that almost all sins in that society are purged and atoned for by money.' He adds, with justice, that these fines do not fall on the persons of the offenders,—most of the students being minors,—but upon their parents; and that the practice takes place chiefly where there is the least prospect of working a reformation, since the thoughtless and extravagant, being the principal offenders against College law, would not lay it to heart if their frolics should cost them a little more by way of fine. He further expresses his opinion, that this way of punishing the children of the College has but little tendency to better their hearts and reform their manners; that pecuniary impositions act only by touching the shame or covetousness or necessities of those upon whom they are levied; and that fines had ceased to become dishonorable at College, while to appeal to the love of money was expelling one devil by another, and to restrain the necessitous by fear of fine would be extremely cruel and unequal. These and other considerations are very properly urged, and the same feeling is manifested in the laws by the gradual abolition of nearly all pecuniary mulcts. The practice, it ought to be added, was by no means peculiar to Yale College, but was transferred, even in a milder form, from the colleges of England."—pp. 47, 48.

In connection with this subject, it may not be inappropriate to mention the following occurrence, which is said to have taken place at Harvard College.

Dr. ——, in propria persona, called upon a Southern student one morning in the recitation-room to define logic. The question was something in this form. "Mr. ——, what is logic?" Ans. "Logic, Sir, is the art of reasoning." "Ay; but I wish you to give the definition in the exact words of the learned author." "O, Sir, he gives a very long, intricate, confused definition, with which I did not think proper to burden my memory." "Are you aware who the learned author is?" "O, yes! your honor, Sir." "Well, then, I fine you one dollar for disrespect." Taking out a two-dollar note, the student said, with the utmost sang froid, "If you will change this, I will pay you on the spot." "I fine you another dollar," said the Professor, emphatically, "for repeated disrespect." "Then 'tis just the change, Sir," said the student, coolly.

FIRST-YEAR MEN. In the University of Cambridge, England, the title of First-Year Men, or Freshmen, is given to students during the first year of their residence at the University.

FISH. At Harvard College, to seek or gain the good-will of an instructor by flattery, caresses, kindness, or officious civilities; to curry favor. The German word fischen has a secondary meaning, to get by cunning, which is similar to the English word fish. Students speak of fishing for parts, appointments, ranks, marks, &c.

I give to those that fish for parts, Long, sleepless nights, and aching hearts, A little soul, a fawning spirit, With half a grain of plodding merit, Which is, as Heaven I hope will say, Giving what's not my own away. Will of Charles Prentiss, in Rural Repository, 1795.

Who would let a Tutor knave Screw him like a Guinea slave! Who would fish a fine to save! Let him turn and flee.—Rebelliad, p. 35.

Did I not promise those who fished And pimped most, any part they wished?—Ibid., p. 33.

'T is all well here; though 't were a grand mistake To write so, should one "fish" for a "forty-eight!" Childe Harvard, p. 33.

Still achieving, still intriguing, Learn to labor and to fish. Poem before Y.H., 1849.

The following passage explains more clearly, perhaps, the meaning of this word. "Any attempt to raise your standing by ingratiating yourself with the instructors, will not only be useless, but dishonorable. Of course, in your intercourse with the Professors and Tutors, you will not be wanting in that respect and courtesy which is due to them, both as your superiors and as gentlemen."—Harvardiana, Vol. III. p. 79.

Washington Allston, who graduated at Harvard College in the year 1800, left a painting of a fishing scene, to be transmitted from class to class. It was in existence in the year 1828, but has disappeared of late.

FISH, FISHER. One who attempts to ingratiate himself with his instructor, thereby to obtain favor or advantage; one who curries favor.

You besought me to respect my teachers, and to be attentive to my studies, though it shall procure me the odious title of a "fisher."—Monthly Anthology, Boston, 1804, Vol. I. p. 153.

FISHING. The act performed by a fisher. The full force of this word is set forth in a letter from Dr. Popkin, a Professor at Harvard College, to his brother William, dated Boston, October 17th, 1800.

"I am sensible that the good conduct which I have advised you, and which, I doubt not, you are inclined to preserve, may expose you to the opprobrious epithet, fishing. You undoubtedly understand, by this time, the meaning of that frightful term, which has done more damage in college than all the bad wine, and roasted pigs, that have ever fired the frenzy of Genius! The meaning of it, in short, is nothing less than this, that every one who acts as a reasonable being in the various relations and duties of a scholar is using the basest means to ingratiate himself with the government, and seeking by mean compliances to purchase their honors and favors. At least, I thought this to be true when I was in the government. If times and manners are altered, I am heartily glad of it; but it will not injure you to hear the tales of former times. If a scholar appeared to perform his exercises to his best ability, if there were not a marked contempt and indifference in his manner, I would hear the whisper run round the class, fishing. If one appeared firm enough to perform an unpopular duty, or showed common civility to his instructors, who certainly wished him well, he was fishing. If he refused to join in some general disorder, he was insulted with fishing. If he did not appear to despise the esteem and approbation of his instructors, and to disclaim all the rewards of diligence and virtue, he was suspected of fishing. The fear of this suspicion or imputation has, I believe, perverted many minds which, from good and honorable motives, were better disposed."—Memorial of John S. Popkin, D.D., pp. xxvi., xxvii.

To those who've parts at exhibition, Obtained by long, unwearied fishing, I say, to such unlucky wretches, I give, for wear, a brace of breeches. Will of Charles Prentiss, in Rural Repository, 1795.

And, since his fishing on the land was vain, To try his luck upon the azure main.—Class Poem, 1835.

Whenever I needed advice or assistance, I did not hesitate, through any fear of the charge of what, in the College cant, was called "fishing," to ask it of Dr. Popkin.—Memorial of John S. Popkin, D.D., p. ix.

At Dartmouth College, the electioneering for members of the secret societies was formerly called fishing. At the same institution, individuals in the Senior Class were said to be fishing for appointments, if they tried to gain the good-will of the Faculty by any special means.

FIVES. A kind of play with a ball against the side of a building, resembling tennis; so named, because three fives or fifteen are counted to the game.—Smart.

A correspondent, writing of Centre College, Ky., says: "Fives was a game very much in vogue, at which the President would often take a hand, and while the students would play for ice-cream or some other refreshment, he would never fail to come in for his share."

FIZZLE. Halliwell says: "The half-hiss, half-sigh of an animal." In many colleges in the United States, this word is applied to a bad recitation, probably from the want of distinct articulation which usually attends such performances. It is further explained in the Yale Banger, November 10, 1846: "This figure of a wounded snake is intended to represent what in technical language is termed a fizzle. The best judges have decided, that to get just one third of the meaning right constitutes a perfect fizzle."

With a mind and body so nearly at rest, that naught interrupted my inmost repose save cloudy reminiscences of a morning "fizzle" and an afternoon "flunk," my tranquillity was sufficiently enviable.—Yale Lit. Mag., Vol. XV. p. 114.

Here he could fizzles mark without a sigh, And see orations unregarded die. The Tomahawk, Nov., 1849.

Not a wail was heard, or a "fizzle's" mild sigh, As his corpse o'er the pavement we hurried. The Gallinipper, Dec., 1849.

At Princeton College, the word blue is used with fizzle, to render it intensive; as, he made a blue fizzle, he fizzled blue.

FIZZLE. To fail in reciting; to recite badly. A correspondent from Williams College says: "Flunk is the common word when some unfortunate man makes an utter failure in recitation. He fizzles when he stumbles through at last." Another from Union writes: "If you have been lazy, you will probably fizzle." A writer in the Yale Literary Magazine thus humorously defines this word: "Fizzle. To rise with modest reluctance, to hesitate often, to decline finally; generally, to misunderstand the question."—Vol. XIV. p. 144.

My dignity is outraged at beholding those who fizzle and flunk in my presence tower above me.—The Yale Banger, Oct. 22, 1847.

I "skinned," and "fizzled" through. Presentation Day Songs, June 14, 1854.

The verb to fizzle out, which is used at the West, has a little stronger signification, viz. to be quenched, extinguished; to prove a failure.—Bartlett's Dict. Americanisms.

The factious and revolutionary action of the fifteen has interrupted the regular business of the Senate, disgraced the actors, and fizzled out.—Cincinnati Gazette.

2. To cause one to fail in reciting. Said of an instructor.

Fizzle him tenderly, Bore him with care, Fitted so slenderly, Tutor, beware. Yale Lit. Mag., Vol. XIII. p. 321.

FIZZLING. Reciting badly; the act of making a poor recitation.

Of this word, a writer jocosely remarks: "Fizzling is a somewhat free translation of an intricate sentence; proving a proposition in geometry from a wrong figure. Fizzling is caused sometimes by a too hasty perusal of the pony, and generally by a total loss of memory when called upon to recite."—Sophomore Independent, Union College, Nov. 1854.

Weather drizzling, Freshmen fizzling. Yale Lit. Mag., Vol. XV. p. 212.

FLAM. At the University of Vermont, in student phrase, to flam is to be attentive, at any time, to any lady or company of ladies. E.g. "He spends half his time flamming" i.e. in the society of the other sex.

FLASH-IN-THE-PAN. A student is said to make a flash-in-the-pan when he commences to recite brilliantly, and suddenly fails; the latter part of such a recitation is a FIZZLE. The metaphor is borrowed from a gun, which, after being primed, loaded, and ready to be discharged, flashes in the pan.

FLOOR. Among collegians, to answer such questions as may be propounded concerning a given subject.

Then Olmsted took hold, but he couldn't make it go, For we floored the Bien. Examination. Presentation Day Songs, Yale Coll., June 14, 1854.

To floor a paper, is to answer every question in it.—Bristed.

Somehow I nearly floored the paper, and came out feeling much more comfortable than when I went in.—Bristed's Five Years in an Eng. Univ., Ed. 2d, p. 12.

Our best classic had not time to floor the paper.—Ibid., p. 135.

FLOP. A correspondent from the University of Vermont writes: "Any 'cute' performance by which a man is sold [deceived] is a good flop, and, by a phrase borrowed from the ball ground, is 'rightly played.' The discomfited individual declares that they 'are all on a side,' and gives up, or 'rolls over' by giving his opponent 'gowdy.'" "A man writes cards during examination to 'feeze the profs'; said cards are 'gumming cards,' and he flops the examination if he gets a good mark by the means." One usually flops his marks by feigning sickness.

FLOP A TWENTY. At the University of Vermont, to flop a twenty is to make a perfect recitation, twenty being the maximum mark for scholarship.

FLUMMUX. Any failure is called a flummux. In some colleges the word is particularly applied to a poor recitation. At Williams College, a failure on the play-ground is called a flummux.

FLUMMUX. To fail; to recite badly. Mr. Bartlett, in his Dictionary of Americanisms, has the word flummix, to be overcome; to be frightened; to give way to.

Perhaps Parson Hyme didn't put it into Pokerville for two mortal hours; and perhaps Pokerville didn't mizzle, wince, and finally flummix right beneath him.—Field, Drama in Pokerville.

FLUNK. This word is used in some American colleges to denote a complete failure in recitation.

This, O, [signifying neither beginning nor end,] Tutor H—— said meant a perfect flunk.—The Yale Banger, Nov. 10, 1846.

I've made some twelve or fourteen flunks.—The Gallinipper, Dec. 1849.

And that bold man must bear a flunk, or die, Who, when John pleased be captious, dared reply. Yale Tomahawk, Nov. 1849.

The Sabbath dawns upon the poor student burdened with the thought of the lesson, or flunk of the morrow morning.—Ibid., Feb. 1851.

He thought ... First of his distant home and parents, tunc, Of tutors' note-books, and the morrow's flunk. Ibid., Feb. 1851.

In moody meditation sunk, Reflecting on my future flunk. Songs of Yale, 1853, p. 54.

And so, in spite of scrapes and flunks, I'll have a sheep-skin too. Presentation Day Songs, June 14, 1854.

Some amusing anecdotes are told, such as the well-known one about the lofty dignitary's macaronic injunction, "Exclude canem, et shut the door"; and another of a tutor's dismal flunk on faba.—Harv. Mag., Vol. I. p. 263.

FLUNK. To make a complete failure when called on to recite. A writer in the Yale Literary Magazine defines it, "to decline peremptorily, and then to whisper, 'I had it all, except that confounded little place.'"—Vol. XIV. p. 144.

They know that a man who has flunked, because too much of a genius to get his lesson, is not in a state to appreciate joking. —Amherst Indicator, Vol. I. p. 253.

Nestor was appointed to deliver a poem, but most ingloriously flunked.—Ibid., Vol. I. p. 256.

The phrase to flunk out, which Bartlett, in his Dictionary of Americanisms, defines, "to retire through fear, to back out," is of the same nature as the above word.

Why, little one, you must be cracked, if you flunk out before we begin.—J.C. Neal.

It was formerly used in some American colleges as is now the word flunk.

We must have, at least, as many subscribers as there are students in College, or "flunk out."—The Crayon, Yale Coll., 1823, p. 3.

FLUNKEY. In college parlance, one who makes a complete failure at recitation; one who flunks.

I bore him safe through Horace, Saved him from the flunkey's doom. Yale Lit. Mag., Vol. XX. p. 76.

FLUNKING. Failing completely in reciting.

Flunking so gloomily, Crushed by contumely. Yale Lit. Mag., Vol. XIII. p. 322.

We made our earliest call while the man first called up in the division-room was deliberately and gracefully "flunking."—Ibid., Vol. XIV. p. 190.

See what a spot a flunking Soph'more made! Yale Gallinipper, Nov. 1848.

FLUNKOLOGY. A farcical word, designed to express the science of flunking.

The —— scholarship, is awarded to the student in each Freshman Class who passes the poorest examination in Flunkology.—Burlesque Catalogue, Yale Coll., 1852-53, p. 28.

FOOTBALL. For many years, the game of football has been the favorite amusement at some of the American colleges, during certain seasons of the year. At Harvard and Yale, it is customary for the Sophomore Class to challenge the Freshmen to a trial game, soon after their entrance into College. The interest excited on this occasion is always very great, the Seniors usually siding with the former, and the Juniors with the latter class. The result is generally in favor of the Sophomores. College poets and prose-writers have often chosen the game of football as a topic on which to exercise their descriptive powers. One invokes his muse, in imitation of a great poet, as follows:—

"The Freshmen's wrath, to Sophs the direful spring Of shins unnumbered bruised, great goddess, sing!"

Another, speaking of the size of the ball in ancient times compared with what it is at present, says:—

"A ball like this, so monstrous and so hard, Six eager Freshmen scarce could kick a yard!"

Further compositions on this subject are to be found in the Harvard Register, Harvardiana, Yale Banger, &c.


FORENSIC. A written argument, maintaining either the affirmative or the negative side of a question.

In Harvard College, the two senior classes are required to write forensics once in every four weeks, on a subject assigned by the Professor of Moral Philosophy; these they read before him and the division of the class to which they belong, on appointed days. It was formerly customary for the teacher to name those who were to write on the affirmative and those on the negative, but it is now left optional with the student which side he will take. This word was originally used as an adjective, and it was usual to speak of a forensic dispute, which has now been shortened into forensic.

For every unexcused omission of a forensic, or of reading a forensic, a deduction shall be made of the highest number of marks to which that exercise is entitled. Seventy-two is the highest mark for forensics.—Laws of Univ. at Cam., Mass., 1848.

What with themes, forensics, letters, memoranda, notes on lectures, verses, and articles, I find myself considerably hurried.—Collegian, 1830, p. 241.

When I call to mind Forensics numberless, With arguments so grave and erudite, I never understood their force myself, But trusted that my sage instructor would. Harvardiana, Vol. III. p. 403.

FORK ON. At Hamilton College, to fork on, to appropriate to one's self.

FORTS. At Jefferson and at Washington Colleges in Pennsylvania, the boarding-houses for the students are called forts.

FOUNDATION. A donation or legacy appropriated to support an institution, and constituting a permanent fund, usually for a charitable purpose.—Webster.

In America it is also applied to a donation or legacy appropriated especially to maintain poor and deserving, or other students, at a college.

In the selection of candidates for the various beneficiary foundations, the preference will be given to those who are of exemplary conduct and scholarship.—Laws of Univ. at Cam., Mass., 1848, p. 19.

Scholars on this foundation are to be called "scholars of the house."—Sketches of Yale Coll., p. 86.

FOUNDATIONER. One who derives support from the funds or foundation of a college or a great school.—Jackson.

This word is not in use in the United States.


FOUNDATION SCHOLAR. At the University of Cambridge, Eng., a scholar who enjoys certain privileges, and who is of that class whence Fellows are taken.

Of the scholars of this name, Bristed remarks: "The table nearer the door is filled by students in the ordinary Undergraduate blue gown; but from the better service of their table, and perhaps some little consequential air of their own, it is plain that they have something peculiar to boast of. They are the Foundation Scholars, from whom the future Fellows are to be chosen, in the proportion of about one out of three. Their Scholarships are gained by examination in the second or third year, and entitle them to a pecuniary allowance from the college, and also to their commons gratis (these latter subject to certain attendance at and service in chapel), a first choice of rooms, and some other little privileges, of which they are somewhat proud, and occasionally they look as if conscious that some Don may be saying to a chance visitor at the high table, 'Those over yonder are the scholars, the best men of their year.'"—Five Years in an Eng. Univ., Ed. 2d, p. 20.

FOX. In the German universities, a student during the first half-year is called a Fox (Fuchs), the same as Freshman. To this the epithet nasty is sometimes added.

On this subject, Howitt remarks: "On entering the University, he becomes a Kameel,—a Camel. This happy transition-state of a few weeks gone by, he comes forth finally, on entering a Chore, a Fox, and runs joyfully into the new Burschen life. During the first semester or half-year, he is a gold fox, which means, that he has foxes, or rich gold in plenty yet; or he is a Crass-fucks, or fat fox, meaning that he yet swells or puffs himself up with gold."—Student Life of Germany, Am. ed., p. 124.

"Halloo there, Herdman, fox!" yelled another lusty tippler, and Herdman, thus appealed to, arose and emptied the contents of his glass.—Yale Lit. Mag., Vol. XII. p. 116.

At the same moment, a door at the end of the hall was thrown open, and a procession of new-comers, or Nasty Foxes, as they are called in the college dialect, entered two by two, looking wild, and green, and foolish.—Longfellow's Hyperion, p. 109.

See also in the last-mentioned work the Fox song.

FREEZE. A correspondent from Williams College writes: "But by far the most expressive word in use among us is Freeze. The meaning of it might be felt, if, some cold morning, you would place your tender hand upon some frosty door-latch; it would be a striking specimen on the part of the door-latch of what we mean by Freeze. Thus we freeze to apples in the orchards, to fellows whom we electioneer for in our secret societies, and alas! some even go so far as to freeze to the ladies."

"Now, boys," said Bob, "freeze on," and at it they went.—Yale Lit. Mag., Vol. XII. p. 111.

FRESH. An abbreviation for Freshman or Freshmen; FRESHES is sometimes used for the plural.

When Sophs met Fresh, power met opposing power. Harv. Reg., p. 251.

The Sophs did nothing all the first fortnight but torment the Fresh, as they call us.—Harvardiana, Vol. III. p. 76.

Listen to the low murmurings of some annihilated Fresh upon the Delta.—Oration before H.L. of I.O. of O.F., 1848.

FRESH. Newly come; likewise, awkward, like a Freshman.—Grad. ad Cantab.

For their behavior at table, spitting and coughing, and speaking loud, was counted uncivil in any but a gentleman; as we say in the university, that nothing is fresh in a Senior, and to him it was a glory.—Archaeol. Atticae, Edit. Oxon., 1675, B. VI.

FRESHMAN, pl. FRESHMEN. In England, a student during his first year's residence at the university. In America, one who belongs to the youngest of the four classes in college, called the Freshman Class.—Webster.

FRESHMAN. Pertaining to a Freshman, or to the class called Freshman.

FRESHMAN, BUTLER'S. At Harvard and Yale Colleges, a Freshman, formerly hired by the Butler, to perform certain duties pertaining to his office, was called by this name.

The Butler may be allowed a Freshman, to do the foregoing duties, and to deliver articles to the students from the Buttery, who shall be appointed by the President and Tutors, and he shall be allowed the same provision in the Hall as the Waiters; and he shall not be charged in the Steward's quarter-bills under the heads of Steward and Instruction and Sweepers, Catalogue and Dinner.—Laws of Harv. Coll., 1793, p. 61.

With being butler's freshman, and ringing the bell the first year, waiter the three last, and keeping school in the vacations, I rubbed through.—The Algerine Captive, Walpole, 1797, Vol. I. p. 54.


FRESHMAN CLUB. At Hamilton College, it is customary for the new Sophomore Class to present to the Freshmen at the commencement of the first term a heavy cudgel, six feet long, of black walnut, brass bound, with a silver plate inscribed "Freshman Club." The club is given to the one who can hold it out at arm's length the longest time, and the presentation is accompanied with an address from one of the Sophomores in behalf of his class. He who receives the club is styled the "leader." The "leader" having been declared, after an appropriate speech from a Freshman appointed for that purpose, "the class," writes a correspondent, "form a procession, and march around the College yard, the leader carrying the club before them. A trial is then made by the class of the virtues of the club, on the Chapel door."

FRESHMAN, COLLEGE. In Harvard University, a member of the Freshman Class, whose duties are enumerated below. "On Saturday, after the exercises, any student not specially prohibited may go out of town. If the students thus going out of town fail to return so as to be present at evening prayers, they must enter their names with the College Freshman within the hour next preceding the evening study bell; and all students who shall be absent from evening prayers on Saturday must in like manner enter their names."—Statutes and Laws of the Univ. in Cam., Mass., 1825, p. 42.

The College Freshman lived in No. 1, Massachusetts Hall, and was commonly called the book-keeper. The duties of this office are now performed by one of the Proctors.

FRESHMANHOOD. The state of a Freshman, or the time in which one is a Freshman, which is in duration a year.

But yearneth not thy laboring heart, O Tom, For those dear hours of simple Freshmanhood? Harvardiana, Vol. III. p. 405.

When to the college I came, in the first dear day of my freshhood, Like to the school we had left I imagined the new situation. Ibid., Vol. III. p. 98.

FRESHMANIC. Pertaining to a Freshman; resembling a Freshman, or his condition.

The Junior Class had heard of our miraculous doings, and asserted with that peculiar dignity which should at all times excite terror and awe in the Freshmanic breast, that they would countenance no such proceedings.—Harvardiana, Vol. III. p. 316.

I do not pine for those Freshmanic days.—Ibid., Vol. III. p. 405.

FRESHMAN, PARIETAL. In Harvard College, the member of the Freshman Class who gives notice to those whom the chairman of the Parietal Committee wishes to see, is known by the name of the Parietal Freshman. For his services he receives about forty dollars per annum, and the rent of his room.

FRESHMAN, PRESIDENT'S. A member of the Freshman Class who performs the official errands of the President, for which he receives the same compensation as the PARIETAL FRESHMAN.

Then Bibo kicked his carpet thrice, Which brought his Freshman in a trice. "You little rascal! go and call The persons mentioned in this scroll." The fellow, hearing, scarcely feels The ground, so quickly fly his heels. Rebelliad, p. 27.

FRESHMAN, REGENT'S. In Harvard College, a member of the Freshman Class whose duties are given below.

"When any student shall return to town, after having had leave of absence for one night or more, or after any vacation, he shall apply to the Regent's Freshman, at his room, to enter the time of his return; and shall tarry till he see it entered.

"The Regent's Freshman is not charged under the heads of Steward, Instruction, Sweepers, Catalogue, and Dinner."—Laws of Harv. Coll., 1816, pp. 46, 47.

This office is now abolished.

FRESHMAN'S BIBLE. Among collegians, the name by which the body of laws, the catalogue, or the calendar of a collegiate institution is often designated. The significancy of the word Bible is seen, when the position in which the laws are intended to be regarded is considered. The Freshman is supposed to have studied and to be more familiar with the laws than any one else, hence the propriety of using his name in this connection. A copy of the laws are usually presented to each student on his entrance into college.

Every year there issues from the warehouse of Messrs. Deighton, the publishers to the University of Cambridge, an octavo volume, bound in white canvas, and of a very periodical and business-like appearance. Among the Undergraduates it is commonly known by the name of the "Freshman's Bible,"—the public usually ask for the "University Calendar."—Westminster Rev., Am. ed., Vol. XXXV. p. 230.


FRESHMAN SERVITUDE. The custom which formerly prevailed in the older American colleges of allowing the members of all the upper classes to send Freshmen upon errands, and in other ways to treat them as inferiors, appears at the present day strange and almost unaccountable. That our forefathers had reasons which they deemed sufficient, not only for allowing, but sanctioning, this subjection, we cannot doubt; but what these were, we are not able to know from any accounts which have come down to us from the past.

"On attending prayers the first evening," says one who graduated at Harvard College near the close of the last century, "no sooner had the President pronounced the concluding 'Amen,' than one of the Sophomores sung out, 'Stop, Freshmen, and hear the customs read.'" An account of these customs is given in President Quincy's History of Harvard University, Vol. II. p. 539. It is entitled,


"1. No Freshman shall wear his hat in the College yard, unless it rains, hails, or snows, provided he be on foot, and have not both hands full.

"2. No Undergraduate shall wear his hat in the College yard when any of the Governors of the College are there; and no Bachelor shall wear his hat when the President is there.

"3. Freshmen are to consider all the other classes as their seniors.

"4. No Freshman shall speak to a Senior[26] with his hat on, or have it on in a Senior's chamber, or in his own, if a Senior be there.

"5. All the Undergraduates shall treat those in the Government of the College with respect and deference; particularly they shall not be seated without leave in their presence; they shall be uncovered when they speak to them or are spoken to by them.

"6. All Freshmen (except those employed by the Immediate Government of the College) shall be obliged to go on any errand (except such as shall be judged improper by some one in the Government of the College) for any of his Seniors, Graduates or Undergraduates, at any time, except in studying hours, or after nine o'clock in the evening.

"7. A Senior Sophister has authority to take a Freshman from a Sophomore, a Middle Bachelor from a Junior Sophister, a Master from a Senior Sophister, and any Governor of the College from a Master.

"8. Every Freshman before he goes for the person who takes him away (unless it be one in the Government of the College) shall return and inform the person from whom he is taken.

"9. No Freshman, when sent on an errand, shall make any unnecessary delay, neglect to make due return, or go away till dismissed by the person who sent him.

"10. No Freshman shall be detained by a Senior, when not actually employed on some suitable errand.

"11. No Freshman shall be obliged to observe any order of a Senior to come to him, or go on any errand for him, unless he be wanted immediately.

"12. No Freshman, when sent on an errand, shall tell who he is going for, unless he be asked; nor be obliged to tell what he is going for, unless asked by a Governor of the College.

"13. When any person knocks at a Freshman's door, except in studying time, he shall immediately open the door, without inquiring who is there.

"14. No scholar shall call up or down, to or from, any chamber in the College.

"15. No scholar shall play football or any other game in the College yard, or throw any thing across the yard.

"16. The Freshmen shall furnish bats, balls, and footballs for the use of the students, to be kept at the Buttery.[27]

"17. Every Freshman shall pay the Butler for putting up his name in the Buttery.

"18. Strict attention shall be paid by all the students to the common rules of cleanliness, decency, and politeness.

"The Sophomores shall publish these customs to the Freshmen in the Chapel, whenever ordered by any in the Government of the College; at which time the Freshmen are enjoined to keep their places in their seats, and attend with decency to the reading."

At the close of a manuscript copy of the laws of Harvard College, transcribed by Richard Waldron, a graduate of the class of 1738, when a Freshman, are recorded the following regulations, which differ from those already cited, not only in arrangement, but in other respects.


"1. No Freshman shall ware his hat in the College yard except it rains, snows, or hails, or he be on horse back or haith both hands full.

"2. No Freshman shall ware his hat in his Seniors Chamber, or in his own if his Senior be there.

"3. No Freshman shall go by his Senior, without taking his hat of if it be on.

"4. No Freshman shall intrude into his Seniors company.

"5. No Freshman shall laugh in his Seniors face.

"6. No Freshman shall talk saucily to his Senior, or speak to him with his hat on.

"7. No Freshman shall ask his Senior an impertinent question.

"8. Freshmen are to take notice that a Senior Sophister can take a Freshman from a Sophimore,[28] a Middle Batcelour from a Junior Sophister, a Master from a Senior Sophister, and a Fellow[29] from a Master.

"9. Freshmen are to find the rest of the Scholars with bats, balls, and foot balls.

"10. Freshmen must pay three shillings a peice to the Butler to have there names set up in the Buttery.

"11. No Freshman shall loiter by the [way] when he is sent of an errand, but shall make hast and give a direct answer when he is asked who he is going [for]. No Freshman shall use lying or equivocation to escape going of an errand.

"12. No Freshman shall tell who [he] is going [for] except he be asked, nor for what except he be asked by a Fellow.

"13. No Freshman shall go away when he haith been sent of an errand before he be dismissed, which may be understood by saying, it is well, I thank you, you may go, or the like.

"14. When a Freshman knocks at his Seniors door he shall tell [his] name if asked who.

"15. When anybody knocks at a Freshmans door, he shall not aske who is there, but shall immediately open the door.

"16. No Freshman shall lean at prayrs but shall stand upright.

"17. No Freshman shall call his classmate by the name of Freshmen.

"18. No Freshman shall call up or down to or from his Seniors chamber or his own.

"19. No Freshman shall call or throw anything across the College yard.

"20. No Freshman shall mingo against the College wall, nor go into the Fellows cus john.[30]

"21. Freshmen may ware there hats at dinner and supper, except when they go to receive there Commons of bread and bear.

"22. Freshmen are so to carry themselves to there Seniors in all respects so as to be in no wise saucy to them, and who soever of the Freshmen shall brake any of these customs shall be severely punished."

Another manuscript copy of these singular regulations bears date September, 1741, and is entitled,


"1. No Freshman shall wear his hat in the College yard, except it rains, hails, or snows, he be on horseback, or hath both hands full.

"2. No Freshman shall pass by his Senior, without pulling his hat off.

"3. No Freshman shall be saucy to his Senior, or speak to him with his hat on.

"4. No Freshman shall laugh in his Senior's face.

"5. No Freshman shall ask his Senior any impertinent question.

"6. No Freshman shall intrude into his Senior's company.

"7. Freshmen are to take notice that a Senior Sophister can take a Freshman from a Sophimore, a Master from a Senior Sophister, and a Fellow from a Master.

"8. When a Freshman is sent of an errand, he shall not loiter by the way, but shall make haste, and give a direct answer if asked who he is going for.

"9. No Freshman shall tell who he is a going for (unless asked), or what he is a going for, unless asked by a Fellow.

"10. No Freshman, when he is going of errands, shall go away, except he be dismissed, which is known by saying, 'It is well,' 'You may go,' 'I thank you,' or the like.

"11. Freshman are to find the rest of the scholars with bats, balls, and footballs.

"12. Freshmen shall pay three shillings to the Butler to have their names set up in the Buttery.

"13. No Freshman shall wear his hat in his Senior's chambers, nor in his own if his Senior be there.

"14. When anybody knocks at a Freshman's door, he shall not ask who is there, but immediately open the door.

"15. When a Freshman knocks at his Senior's door, he shall tell his name immediately.

"16. No Freshman shall call his classmate by the name of Freshman.

"17. No Freshman shall call up or down, to or from his Senior's chamber or his own.

"18. No Freshman shall call or throw anything across the College yard, nor go into the Fellows' Cuz-John.

"19. No Freshman shall mingo against the College walls.

"20. Freshmen are to carry themselves, in all respects, as to be in no wise saucy to their Seniors.

"21. Whatsoever Freshman shall break any of these customs, he shall be severely punished."

A written copy of these regulations in Latin, of a very early date, is still extant. They appear first in English, in the fourth volume of the Immediate Government Books, 1781, p. 257. The two following laws—one of which was passed soon after the establishment of the College, the other in the year 1734—seem to have been the foundation of these rules. "Nulli ex scholaribus senioribus, solis tutoribus et collegii sociis exceptis, recentem sive juniorem, ad itinerandum, aut ad aliud quodvis faciendum, minis, verberibus, vel aliis modis impellere licebit. Et siquis non gradatus in hanc legem peccaverit, castigatione corporali, expulsione, vel aliter, prout praesidi cum sociis visum fuerit punietur."—Mather's Magnalia, B. IV. p. 133.

"None belonging to the College, except the President, Fellows, Professors, and Tutors, shall by threats or blows compel a Freshman or any Undergraduate to any duty or obedience; and if any Undergraduate shall offend against this law, he shall be liable to have the privilege of sending Freshmen taken from him by the President and Tutors, or be degraded or expelled, according to the aggravation of the offence. Neither shall any Senior scholars, Graduates or Undergraduates, send any Freshman on errands in studying hours, without leave from one of the Tutors, his own Tutor if in College."—Peirce's Hist. Harv. Univ., App., p. 141.

That this privilege of sending Freshmen on errands was abused in some cases, we see from an account of "a meeting of the Corporation in Cambridge, March 27th, 1682," at which time notice was given that "great complaints have been made and proved against ——, for his abusive carriage, in requiring some of the Freshmen to go upon his private errands, and in striking the said Freshmen."

In the year 1772, "the Overseers having repeatedly recommended abolishing the custom of allowing the upper classes to send Freshmen on errands, and the making of a law exempting them from such services, the Corporation voted, that, 'after deliberate consideration and weighing all circumstances, they are not able to project any plan in the room of this long and ancient custom, that will not, in their opinion, be attended with equal, if not greater, inconveniences.'" It seems, however, to have fallen into disuse, for a time at least, after this period; for in June, 1786, "the retaining men or boys to perform the services for which Freshmen had been heretofore employed," was declared to be a growing evil, and was prohibited by the Corporation.—Quincy's Hist. Harv. Univ., Vol. I. p. 515; Vol. II. pp. 274, 277.

The upper classes being thus forbidden to employ persons not connected with the College to wait upon them, the services of Freshmen were again brought into requisition, and they were not wholly exempted from menial labor until after the year 1800.

Another service which the Freshmen were called on to perform, was once every year to shake the carpets of the library and Philosophy Chamber in the Chapel.

Those who refused to comply with these regulations were not allowed to remain in College, as appears from the following circumstance, which happened about the year 1790. A young man from the West Indies, of wealthy and highly respectable parents, entered Freshman, and soon after, being ordered by a member of one of the upper classes to go upon an errand for him, refused, at the same time saying, that if he had known it was the custom to require the lower class to wait on the other classes, he would have brought a slave with him to perform his share of these duties. In the common phrase of the day, he was hoisted, i.e. complained of to a tutor, and on being told that he could not remain at College if he did not comply with its regulations, he took up his connections and returned home.

With reference to some of the observances which were in vogue at Harvard College in the year 1794, the recollections of Professor Sidney Willard are these:—

"It was the practice, at the time of my entrance at College, for the Sophomore Class, by a member selected for the purpose, to communicate to the Freshmen, in the Chapel, 'the Customs,' so called; the Freshmen being required to 'keep their places in their seats, and attend with decency to the reading.' These customs had been handed down from remote times, with some modifications not essentially changing them. Not many days after our seats were assigned to us in the Chapel, we were directed to remain after evening prayers and attend to the reading of the customs; which direction was accordingly complied with, and they were read and listened to with decorum and gravity. Whether the ancient customs of outward respect, which forbade a Freshman 'to wear his hat in the College yard, unless it rains, hails, or snows, provided he be on foot, and have not both hands full,' as if the ground on which he trod and the atmosphere around him were consecrated, and the article which extends the same prohibition to all undergraduates, when any of the governors of the College are in the yard, were read, I cannot say; but I think they were not; for it would have disturbed that gravity which I am confident was preserved during the whole reading. These prescripts, after a long period of obsolescence, had become entirely obsolete.

"The most degrading item in the list of customs was that which made Freshmen subservient to all the other classes; which obliged those who were not employed by the Immediate Government of the College to go on any errand, not judged improper by an officer of the government, or in study hours, for any of the other classes, the Senior having the prior right to the service.... The privilege of claiming such service, and the obligation, on the other hand, to perform it, doubtless gave rise to much abuse, and sometimes to unpleasant conflict. A Senior having a claim to the service of a Freshman prior to that of the classes below them, it had become a practice not uncommon, for a Freshman to obtain a Senior, to whom, as a patron and friend, he acknowledged and avowed a permanent service due, and whom he called his Senior by way of eminence, thus escaping the demands that might otherwise be made upon him for trivial or unpleasant errands. The ancient custom was never abolished by authority, but died with the change of feeling; so that what might be demanded as a right came to be asked as a favor, and the right was resorted to only as a sort of defensive weapon, as a rebuke of a supposed impertinence, or resentment of a real injury."—Memories of Youth and Manhood, Vol. I. pp. 258, 259.

The following account of this system, as it formerly obtained at Yale College, is from President Woolsey's Historical Discourse before the Graduates of that Institution, Aug. 14, 1850:—

"Another remarkable particular in the old system here was the servitude of Freshmen,—for such it really deserved to be called. The new-comers—as if it had been to try their patience and endurance in a novitiate before being received into some monastic order—were put into the hands of Seniors, to be reproved and instructed in manners, and were obliged to run upon errands for the members of all the upper classes. And all this was very gravely meant, and continued long in use. The Seniors considered it as a part of the system to initiate the ignorant striplings into the college system, and performed it with the decorum of dancing-masters. And, if the Freshmen felt the burden, the upper classes who had outlived it, and were now reaping the advantages of it, were not willing that the custom should die in their time.

"The following paper, printed I cannot tell when, but as early as the year 1764, gives information to the Freshmen in regard to their duty of respect towards the officers, and towards the older students. It is entitled 'FRESHMAN LAWS,' and is perhaps part of a book of customs which was annually read for the instruction of new-comers.

"'It being the duty of the Seniors to teach Freshmen the laws, usages, and customs of the College, to this end they are empowered to order the whole Freshman Class, or any particular member of it, to appear, in order to be instructed or reproved, at such time and place as they shall appoint; when and where every Freshman shall attend, answer all proper questions, and behave decently. The Seniors, however, are not to detain a Freshman more than five minutes after study bell, without special order from the President, Professor, or Tutor.

"'The Freshmen, as well as all other Undergraduates, are to be uncovered, and are forbidden to wear their hats (unless in stormy weather) in the front door-yard of the President's or Professor's house, or within ten rods of the person of the President, eight rods of the Professor, and five rods of a Tutor.

"'The Freshmen are forbidden to wear their hats in College yard (except in stormy weather, or when they are obliged to carry something in their hands) until May vacation; nor shall they afterwards wear them in College or Chapel.

"'No Freshman shall wear a gown, or walk with a cane, or appear out of his room without being completely dressed, and with his hat; and whenever a Freshman either speaks to a superior or is spoken to by one, he shall keep his hat off until he is bidden to put it on. A Freshman shall not play with any members of an upper class, without being asked; nor is he permitted to use any acts of familiarity with them, even in study time.

"'In case of personal insult, a Junior may call up a Freshman and reprehend him. A Sophomore, in like case, must obtain leave from a Senior, and then he may discipline a Freshman, not detaining him more than five minutes, after which the Freshman may retire, even without being dismissed, but must retire in a respectful manner.

"'Freshmen are obliged to perform all reasonable errands for any superior, always returning an account of the same to the person who sent them. When called, they shall attend and give a respectful answer; and when attending on their superior, they are not to depart until regularly dismissed. They are responsible for all damage done to anything put into their hands by way of errand. They are not obliged to go for the Undergraduates in study time, without permission obtained from the authority; nor are they obliged to go for a graduate out of the yard in study time. A Senior may take a Freshman from a Sophimore, a Bachelor from a Junior, and a Master from a Senior. None may order a Freshman in one play time, to do an errand in another.

"'When a Freshman is near a gate or door belonging to College or College yard, he shall look around and observe whether any of his superiors are coming to the same; and if any are coming within three rods, he shall not enter without a signal to proceed. In passing up or down stairs, or through an entry or any other narrow passage, if a Freshman meets a superior, he shall stop and give way, leaving the most convenient side,—if on the stairs, the banister side. Freshmen shall not run in College yard, or up or down stairs, or call to any one through a College window. When going into the chamber of a superior, they shall knock at the door, and shall leave it as they find it, whether open or shut. Upon entering the chamber of a superior, they shall not speak until spoken to; they shall reply modestly to all questions, and perform their messages decently and respectfully. They shall not tarry in a superior's room, after they are dismissed, unless asked to sit. They shall always rise whenever a superior enters or leaves the room where they are, and not sit in his presence until permitted.

"'These rules are to be observed, not only about College, but everywhere else within the limits of the city of New Haven.'

"This is certainly a very remarkable document, one which it requires some faith to look on as originating in this land of universal suffrage, in the same century with the Declaration of Independence. He who had been moulded and reduced into shape by such a system might soon become expert in the punctilios of the court of Louis the Fourteenth.

"This system, however, had more tenacity of life than might be supposed. In 1800 we still find it laid down as the Senior's duty to inspect the manners and customs of the lower classes, and especially of the Freshmen; and as the duty of the latter to do any proper errand, not only for the authorities of the College, but also, within the limits of one mile, for Resident Graduates and for the two upper classes. By degrees the old usage sank down so far, that what the laws permitted was frequently abused for the purpose of playing tricks upon the inexperienced Freshmen; and then all evidence of its ever having been current disappeared from the College code. The Freshmen were formally exempted from the duty of running upon errands in 1804."—pp. 54-56.

Among the "Laws of Yale College," published in 1774, appears the following regulation: "Every Freshman is obliged to do any proper Errand or Message, required of him by any one in an upper class, which if he shall refuse to do, he shall be punished. Provided that in Study Time no Graduate may send a Freshman out of College Yard, or an Undergraduate send him anywhere at all without Liberty first obtained of the President or Tutor."—pp. 14, 15.

In a copy of the "Laws" of the above date, which formerly belonged to Amasa Paine, who entered the Freshman Class at Yale in 1781, is to be found a note in pencil appended to the above regulation, in these words: "This Law was annulled when Dr. [Matthew] Marvin, Dr. M.J. Lyman, John D. Dickinson, William Bradley, and Amasa Paine were classmates, and [they] claimed the Honor of abolishing it." The first three were graduated at Yale in the class of 1785; Bradley was graduated at the same college in 1784 and Paine, after spending three years at Yale, was graduated at Harvard College in the class of 1785.

As a part of college discipline, the upper classes were sometimes deprived of the privilege of employing the services of Freshmen. The laws on this subject were these:—

"If any Scholar shall write or publish any scandalous Libel about the President, a Fellow, Professor, or Tutor, or shall treat any one of them with any reproachful or reviling Language, or behave obstinately, refractorily, or contemptuously towards either of them, or be guilty of any Kind of Contempt, he may be punished by Fine, Admonition, be deprived the Liberty of sending Freshmen for a Time; by Suspension from all the Privileges of College; or Expulsion, according as the Nature and Aggravation of the Crime may require."

"If any Freshman near the Time of Commencement shall fire the great Guns, or give or promise any Money, Counsel, or Assistance towards their being fired; or shall illuminate College with Candles, either on the Inside or Outside of the Windows, or exhibit any such Kind of Show, or dig or scrape the College Yard otherwise than with the Liberty and according to the Directions of the President in the Manner formerly practised, or run in the College Yard in Company, they shall be deprived the Privilege of sending Freshmen three Months after the End of the Year."—Laws Yale Coll., 1774, pp. 13, 25, 26.

To the latter of these laws, a clause was subsequently added, declaring that every Freshman who should "do anything unsuitable for a Freshman" should be deprived of the privilege "of sending Freshmen on errands, or teaching them manners, during the first three months of his Sophomore year."—Laws Yale Coll., 1787, in Yale Lit. Mag., Vol. XII. p. 140.

In the Sketches of Yale College, p. 174, is the following anecdote, relating to this subject:—"A Freshman was once furnished with a dollar, and ordered by one of the upper classes to procure for him pipes and tobacco, from the farthest store on Long Wharf, a good mile distant. Being at that time compelled by College laws to obey the unreasonable demand, he proceeded according to orders, and returned with ninety-nine cents' worth of pipes and one pennyworth of tobacco. It is needless to add that he was not again sent on a similar errand."

The custom of obliging the Freshmen to run on errands for the Seniors was done away with at Dartmouth College, by the class of 1797, at the close of their Freshman year, when, having served their own time out, they presented a petition to the Trustees to have it abolished.

In the old laws of Middlebury College are the two following regulations in regard to Freshmen, which seem to breathe the same spirit as those cited above. "Every Freshman shall be obliged to do any proper errand or message for the Authority of the College." —"It shall be the duty of the Senior Class to inspect the manners of the Freshman Class, and to instruct them in the customs of the College, and in that graceful and decent behavior toward superiors, which politeness and a just and reasonable subordination require."—Laws, 1804, pp. 6, 7.

FRESHMANSHIP. The state of a Freshman.

A man who had been my fellow-pupil with him from the beginning of our Freshmanship, would meet him there.—Bristed's Five Years in an Eng. Univ., Ed. 2d, p. 150.

FRESHMAN'S LANDMARK. At Cambridge, Eng., King's College Chapel is thus designated. "This stupendous edifice may be seen for several miles on the London road, and indeed from most parts of the adjacent country."—Grad. ad Cantab.

FRESHMAN, TUTOR'S. In Harvard College, the Freshman who occupies a room under a Tutor. He is required to do the errands of the Tutor which relate to College, and in return has a high choice of rooms in his Sophomore year.

The same remarks, mutatis mutandis, apply to the Proctor's Freshman.

FRESH-SOPH. An abbreviation of Freshman-Sophomore. One who enters college in the Sophomore year, having passed the time of the Freshman year elsewhere.

I was a Fresh-Sophomore then, and a waiter in the commons' hall. —Yale Lit. Mag., Vol. XII. p. 114.

FROG. In Germany, a student while in the gymnasium, and before entering the university, is called a Frosch,—a frog.

FUNK. Disgust; weariness; fright. A sensation sometimes experienced by students in view of an examination.

In Cantab phrase I was suffering examination funk.—Bristed's Five Years in an Eng. Univ., Ed. 2d, p. 61.

A singular case of funk occurred at this examination. The man who would have been second, took fright when four of the six days were over, and fairly ran away, not only from the examination, but out of Cambridge, and was not discovered by his friends or family till some time after.—Ibid., p. 125.

One of our Scholars, who stood a much better chance than myself, gave up from mere funk, and resolved to go out in the Poll.—Ibid., p. 229.

2. Fear or sensibility to fear. The general application of the term.

So my friend's first fault is timidity, which is only not recognized as such on account of its vast proportions. I grant, then, that the funk is sublime, which is a true and friendly admission.—A letter to the N.Y. Tribune, in Lit. World, Nov. 30, 1850.


GAS. To impose upon another by a consequential address, or by detailing improbable stories or using "great swelling words"; to deceive; to cheat.

Found that Fairspeech only wanted to "gas" me, which he did pretty effectually.—Sketches of Williams College, p. 72.

GATE BILL. In the English universities, the record of a pupil's failures to be within his college at or before a specified hour of the night.

To avoid gate-bills, he will be out at night as late as he pleases, and will defy any one to discover his absence; for he will climb over the college walls, and fee his Gyp well, when he is out all night—Grad. ad Cantab., p. 128.

GATED. At the English universities, students who, for misdemeanors, are not permitted to be out of their college after ten in the evening, are said to be gated.

"Gated," i.e. obliged to be within the college walls by ten o'clock at night; by this he is prevented from partaking in suppers, or other nocturnal festivities, in any other college or in lodgings.—Note to The College, in Blackwood's Mag., May, 1849.

The lighter college offences, such as staying out at night or missing chapel, are punished by what they term "gating"; in one form of which, a man is actually confined to his rooms: in a more mild way, he is simply restricted to the precincts of the college. —Westminster Rev., Am. ed., Vol. XXXV. p. 241.

GAUDY. In the University of Oxford, a feast or festival. The days on which they occur are called gaudies or gaudy days. "Blount, in his Glossographia," says Archdeacon Nares in his Glossary, "speaks of a foolish derivation of the word from a Judge Gaudy, said to have been the institutor of such days. But such days were held in all times, and did not want a judge to invent them."

Come, Let's have one other gaudy night: call to me All my sad captains; fill our bowls; once more Let's mock the midnight bell. Antony and Cleopatra, Act. III. Sc. 11.

A foolish utensil of state, Which like old plate upon a gaudy day, 's brought forth to make a show, and that is all. Goblins, Old Play, X. 143.

Edmund Riche, called of Pontigny, Archbishop of Canterbury. After his death he was canonized by Pope Innocent V., and his day in the calendar, 16 Nov., was formerly kept as a "gaudy" by the members of the hall.—Oxford Guide, Ed. 1847, p. 121.

2. An entertainment; a treat; a spree.

Cut lectures, go to chapel as little as possible, dine in hall seldom more than once a week, give Gaudies and spreads.—Gradus ad Cantab., p. 122.

GENTLEMAN-COMMONER. The highest class of Commoners at Oxford University. Equivalent to a Cambridge Fellow-Commoner.

Gentlemen Commoners "are eldest sons, or only sons, or men already in possession of estates, or else (which is as common a case as all the rest put together), they are the heirs of newly acquired wealth,—sons of the nouveaux riches"; they enjoy a privilege as regards the choice of rooms; associate at meals with the Fellows and other authorities of the College; are the possessors of two gowns, "an undress for the morning, and a full dress-gown for the evening," both of which are made of silk, the latter being very elaborately ornamented; wear a cap, covered with velvet instead of cloth; pay double caution money, at entrance, viz. fifty guineas, and are charged twenty guineas a year for tutorage, twice the amount of the usual fee.—Compiled from De Quincey's Life and Manners, pp. 278-280.


This was the fourth time I had begun Algebra, and essayed with no weakness of purpose to get it up properly.—Bristed's Five Years in an Eng. Univ., Ed. 2d, p. 157.

GILL. The projecting parts of a standing collar are, from their situation, sometimes denominated gills.

But, O, what rage his maddening bosom fills! Far worse than dust-soiled coat are ruined "gills." Poem before the Class of 1828, Harv. Coll., by J.C. Richmond, p. 6.

GOBBLE. At Yale College, to seize; to lay hold of; to appropriate; nearly the same as to collar, q.v.

Alas! how dearly for the fun they paid, Whom the Proffs gobbled, and the Tutors too. The Gallinipper, Dec. 1849.

I never gobbled one poor flat, To cheer me with his soft dark eye, &c. Yale Tomahawk, Nov. 1849.

I went and performed, and got through the burning, But oh! and alas! I was gobbled returning. Yale Banger, Nov. 1850.

Upon that night, in the broad street, was I by one of the brain-deficient men gobbled.—Yale Battery, Feb. 1850.

Then shout for the hero who gobbles the prize. Songs of Yale, 1853, p. 39.

At Cambridge, Eng., this word is used in the phrase gobbling Greek, i.e. studying or speaking that tongue.

Ambitious to "gobble" his Greek in the haute monde.—Alma Mater, Vol. I. p. 79.

It was now ten o'clock, and up stairs we therefore flew to gobble Greek with Professor ——.—Ibid., Vol. I. p. 127.

You may have seen him, traversing the grass-plots, "gobbling Greek" to himself.—Ibid., Vol. I. p. 210.

GOLGOTHA. The place of a skull. At Cambridge, Eng., in the University Church, "a particular part," says the Westminster Review, "is appropriated to the heads of the houses, and is called Golgotha therefrom, a name which the appearance of its occupants renders peculiarly fitting, independent of the pun."—Am. ed., Vol. XXXV. p. 236.

GONUS. A stupid fellow.

He was a gonus; perhaps, though, you don't know what gonus means. One day I heard a Senior call a fellow a gonus. "A what?" said I. "A great gonus," repeated he. "Gonus," echoed I, "what's that mean?" "O," said he, "you're a Freshman and don't understand." A stupid fellow, a dolt, a boot-jack, an ignoramus, is called here a gonus. "All Freshmen," continued he gravely, "are gonuses."—The Dartmouth, Vol. IV. p. 116.

If the disquisitionist should ever reform his habits, and turn his really brilliant talents to some good account, then future gonuses will swear by his name, and quote him in their daily maledictions of the appointment system.—Amherst Indicator, Vol. I. p. 76.

The word goney, with the same meaning, is often used.

"How the goney swallowed it all, didn't he?" said Mr. Slick, with great glee.—Slick in England, Chap. XXI.

Some on 'em were fools enough to believe the goney; that's a fact.—Ibid.

GOOD FELLOW. At the University of Vermont, this term is used with a signification directly opposite to that which it usually has. It there designates a soft-brained boy; one who is lacking in intellect, or, as a correspondent observes, "an epithetical fool."

GOODY. At Harvard College, a woman who has the care of the students' rooms. The word seems to be an abbreviated form of the word goodwife. It has long been in use, as a low term of civility or sport, and in some cases with the signification of a good old dame; but in the sense above given it is believed to be peculiar to Harvard College. In early times, sweeper was in use instead of goody, and even now at Yale College the word sweep is retained. The words bed-maker at Cambridge, Eng., and gyp at Oxford, express the same idea.

The Rebelliad, an epic poem, opens with an invocation to the Goody, as follows.

Old Goody Muse! on thee I call, Pro more, (as do poets all,) To string thy fiddle, wax thy bow, And scrape a ditty, jig, or so. Now don't wax wrathy, but excuse My calling you old Goody Muse; Because "Old Goody" is a name Applied to every college dame. Aloft in pendent dignity, Astride her magic broom, And wrapt in dazzling majesty, See! see! the Goody come!—p. 11.

Go on, dear Goody! and recite The direful mishaps of the fight.—Ibid., p. 20.

The Goodies hearing, cease to sweep, And listen; while the cook-maids weep.—Ibid., p. 47.

The Goody entered with her broom, To make his bed and sweep his room.—Ibid., p. 73.

On opening the papers left to his care, he found a request that his effects might be bestowed on his friend, the Goody, who had been so attentive to him during his declining hours.—Harvard Register, 1827-28, p. 86.

I was interrupted by a low knock at my door, followed by the entrance of our old Goody, with a bundle of musty papers in her hand, tied round with a soiled red ribbon.—Collegian, 1830, p. 231.

Were there any Goodies when you were in college, father? Perhaps you did not call them by that name. They are nice old ladies (not so very nice, either), who come in every morning, after we have been to prayers, and sweep the rooms, and make the beds, and do all that sort of work. However, they don't much like their title, I find; for I called one, the other day, Mrs. Goodie, thinking it was her real name, and she was as sulky as she could be.—Harvardiana, Vol. III. p. 76.

Yet these half-emptied bottles shall I take, And, having purged them of this wicked stuff, Make a small present unto Goody Bush. Ibid., Vol. III. p. 257.

Reader! wert ever beset by a dun? ducked by the Goody from thine own window, when "creeping like snail unwillingly" to morning prayers?—Ibid., Vol. IV. p. 274.

The crowd delighted Saw them, like Goodies, clothed in gowns of satin, Of silk or cotton.—Childe Harvard, p. 26, 1848.

On the wall hangs a Horse-shoe I found in the street; 'T is the shoe that to-day sets in motion my feet; Though its charms are all vanished this many a year, And not even my Goody regards it with fear. The Horse-Shoe, a Poem, by J.B. Felton, 1849, p. 4.

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