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Torpids, eights, quad, Subfusc – how to navigate Oxford language

There are several strange terms relating to Oxford University, some of which include:

  1. “Subfusc”: This term refers to the formal academic dress worn by students and faculty during examinations and formal occasions. It typically includes a dark suit, white shirt, and black shoes, along with a black gown, cap, and white bow tie or black ribbon.
  2. “Collections”: Collections are a type of examination unique to Oxford University. They are held at the beginning of each term and are designed to test students’ knowledge of the material covered in the previous term.
  3. Torpids and Eights – These are two rowing competitions that take place on the River Thames in Oxford. Torpids is a four-day event in which college rowing teams compete, while Eights is a five-day event that is considered one of the most prestigious rowing competitions in the world.
  4. “Bop”: A bop is a type of student party held in college common rooms or other social spaces. They are typically themed events and often involve dressing up in costumes.
  5. “Gaudy”: A gaudy is a formal dinner held by a college to celebrate a special occasion, such as an anniversary or a reunion. The term comes from the Latin word “gaudium,” meaning joy or pleasure.
  6. “Scouts”: Scouts are college employees who are responsible for cleaning and maintaining student accommodation. The term comes from the tradition of college servants wearing a distinctive type of hat known as a “scout cap.”
  7. May Morning – This is a traditional celebration that takes place on May Day (1st May) in Oxford. It involves the choir of Magdalen College singing from the college tower at sunrise, followed by Morris dancing, music, and festivities throughout the day.
  8. Compositors – These are the printers who produce the university’s official documents, such as degree certificates and examination papers. They are known for their meticulous attention to detail and their use of traditional printing methods.
  9. The High – This is the main street in Oxford that runs from Carfax at one end to Magdalen Bridge at the other. It is lined with shops, cafes, and historic buildings, and is a popular spot for tourists and students alike.
  10. Matriculation – This is the process of formally enrolling as a student at Oxford. It involves signing the university’s matriculation book and reciting a Latin oath.
  11. A quad – An Oxford quad (short for “quadrangle”) is a type of enclosed courtyard or open space that is surrounded by buildings, typically within a college or university. The term “quad” is commonly used in Oxford and other British universities to refer to these enclosed spaces, which are often used as common areas for students and faculty.
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