Oxford Words

Battels (noun)

  • Your termly bill made up of your accommodation costs and any Bod card fees.

Black Tie (noun)


  1. A formal dinner, the likes of which Oxford is very fond of hosting.
  2. The clothing worn at said formal dinner; a tuxedo and bow tie for boys and a cocktail dress for girls.

Blades (noun)

  • A term used in rowing, a college team is said to have 'got blades' when they 'bump' the boat in front of them on each day of Torpids of Summer VIII's - the two main intercollegiate races. Crews who have won blades additionally have their names chalked up on the walls of the college.

Blue (noun)

  • A blue is the highest sporting achievement at Oxford, awarded to members of certain clubs who have competed in the annual Varsity Match. A Half-Blue may be awarded for less prominent sports.

Bodleian Library (noun)

  • The library in Oxford containing every book you will ever need; colloquially known as the Bod.

Bod Card (noun)

  • Your University card which you will need on hand almost always.

BOP (noun)

  • A fancy dress party usually hosted in the college bar, with fancy dress strongly encouraged.

Carnation (noun)

  • The flower traditionally worn for university examinations. Tradition states that all students taking exams should wear a white carnation for their first exam, a red carnation for their last exam, and a pink carnation for all those in-between.

Collections (noun)


  1. Examinations held in college, typically in 0th week.
  2. Students meet briefly with the Warden and Senior Tutor to discuss their academic report.

Cuppers (noun)

  • Inter-collegiate sporting cup matches.

Dean (noun, verb)


  1. The tutor in college in charge of discipline and welfare. There also exist Junior Deans who are graduate students with a similar disciplinary and pastoral role.
  2. The act of discipline performed by the Dean. Most commonly used in the passive, e.g. to have been Deaned.

Formal Hall (noun)

  • Dinner hosted in Keble held on Sundays and Tuesdays throughout term, on Thursdays of odd weeks of term and Fridays of even weeks. Gowns are required and grace is said before food is served.

Hilary (noun)

  • The second term of the academic year that takes place between January and March.

Magic Gate (noun)

  • The colloquial name for the gate into Keble on Museum Road.

Matriculation (noun)

  • The ceremony in which formal admission to the university is granted. Sub fusc must be worn and it is compulsory to be pointed at by excited tourists.

Michaelmas (noun)

  • The first term of the year that takes place between October and December.

Oxford Union (noun)

  • The student society that invites prestigious guest speakers and must be joined for a fee. Not to be confused with the Student Union, of which every Oxford student is automatically a member.

Pidge (noun, verb)


  1. Colloquial for pigeon hole; your own personal mailbox located in the Porter's Lodge.
  2. The act of conveying something to someone by placing it in their pidge.

Punt (verb, noun)


  1. An activity reserved for Trinity term (see below), one uses a big metal pole to push oneself down the Cherwell river in a small wooden boat.
  2. The name of the small wooden vessel in which one pushes oneself. A punt levy is charged to your battels at Keble in Trinity Term which enables punts to be taken out for free throughout the term.

Rustication (noun)

  • Being asked to leave Oxford for a period of time, typically a year, as punishment for misbehaving or in order to recover from illness that might impede your studying.

Scout (noun)

  • Cleaner for student accommodation.

Sub Fusc (noun)

  • Official academic dress used for public examinations and ceremonies such as matriculation. For boys it traditionally includes a dark suit, a white shirt, a white or black bow tie or a regular black tie, dark shoes, a gown and a mortar board. For girls it traditionally includes a white blouse, a black ribbon necktie, dark skirt or trousers, black tights, dark shoes, a gown and a mortar board (or much less popularly a soft-cap). As of 2012, all gender references were dropped so girls may wear suits and boys may wear skirts and so on.

Trash (verb)

  • The act of throwing food, alcohol and other celebratory paraphernalia all over those who have just finished exams.

Trinity (noun)

  • The third term of the year that takes place between April and June.

Tutorial (noun)

  • Colloquially known as a tute. Usually a weekly or fortnightly session with a subject tutor, who is often a world expert in his or her field, to discuss and expand upon the week's work. Probably the most distinguishing feature of an Oxbridge education. You will often end up in social situations with your tutors as well.

Warden (noun)

  • The Head of Keble College, currently Sir Jonathan Phillips.

White Tie (noun)

  • A formal occasion and type of attire, similar to black tie but more formal. Tailcoats are necessary for boys and floor length dresses for girls.