This brief glossary is intended to explain all the Cambridge jargon used so freely by the contributors to this web site.
Bedder College employee who empties your bin and cleans your room but doesn’t actually make your bed.
Bop Small-scale club night in a College, usually advertised and open to all Cambridge students. The nearest equivalent in Corpus is a slack.
College nicknames Cambridge students seem to have a dislike of any proper names longer than two syllables. Besides Corpus, colleges with shortened names include: St. Catherine’s (Catz), Fitzwilliam (Fitz), Emmanuel (Emma), Sidney Sussex (Sidney), Gonville and Caius (Caius, pronounced keys), and Trinity Hall (Tit Hall). Most of these Colleges are rarely referred to by their full names. To avoid a social faux pas, remember also that Magdalene is pronounced ‘Maudlin’.
Compsci (pron. comp-skee) computer scientist.
Corporeal e-mail ‘what’s on’ guide and newsletter sent out by the JCR each Sunday.
Corpuscle Corpus student. Medics may recognise an alternative meaning.
Director of Studies (DOS) The person who organises your academic life. Your DOS will usually be a fellow of Corpus, but for a few minor subjects you might have a DOS based in another College. His or her main duties are to talk to you about your work at the beginning and end of term (and at any other time as might be necessary), arrange supervisions for you, and generally tell you about anything you need to know related to your course – such as information about exams. Depending on your subject, your DOS may or may not also supervise you.
Formal Hall Three-course waiter-served meal in hall. See Traditions for further explanation.
Gyp room Basic kitchen in College accommodation. Will contain a fridge, and a microwave if the gyp room is small, or one or two hobs if it is larger. So called because they used to be used by College servants, or ‘gyps’. See also Eating.
Hall The magnificent College dining hall, complete with oak panelling and portraits. All normal cafeteria meals are eaten here, as well as Formal Hall dinners. Also used to mean the meal time itself, as in “I’m going to Hall” or “What time does Hall finish?”
Hill In Cambridge, this term is relative. Several streets in the town centre are called hills (Market Hill, Peas Hill, Senate House Hill…), but are in fact completely flat. The one exception is the mild incline that is Castle Hill, on the way to New Hall, Fitz and Girton.
JCR Stands for ‘Junior Combination Room‘. Usually means the undergraduate common room, with TV, pool table, games etc. Also means the student body, or the JCR Committee which represents it. Click here to visit the JCR web site.
Matriculation The formal act of admission into the College and the University. At Corpus this involves signing a declaration, listening to a speech or two, and appearing in the Matriculation Photograph along with the rest of your year.
Natsci (nat-skee) someone studying Natural Science.
Porter The porters (meaning gate-keepers, not bag-carriers) are in charge of making sure the College runs smoothly.
Slack Probably a Corpus-specific term, meaning a scaled-down version of a bop in the bar. Free entry.
Supervision Teaching session in a small group (of between 1 and 4 students), with a specialist in your area of study (your supervisor). Supervisions are the main form of teaching in Cambridge. Known as tutorials in Oxford and elsewhere.
Tripos A Cambridge degree course. Most triposes cover a wide range of options, and tend to give a broad overview of the subject in the first year before becoming more specialised. Triposes also have two parts (though a few have an extra Part III), and it is possible to take part I in one tripos and part II in another. When people talk about ‘the tripos system’ they could be referring to either of these aspects.
Tutor A Fellow of the College, in a different subject to your own, who offers support on any non-academic matter. Not to be confused with supervisor.
UL The University Library. A huge building 10 minutes’ walk away from Corpus, with a copy of every single book you could ever need.