0th Week (noughth week)

  • the week before term starts, when most people move back to Oxford. This is when collections typically happen.


  • your bill for the term ahead. Normally you get this at the beginning of the term, and pay the upcoming charges. Charges from the previous term can also be ‘batteled’, so put on the next bill. E.g. “The stash will be batteled.”

Bod card

  • your student card, identifying you as a member of the university. Used to access libraries (hence ‘Bod’, after the Bodleian Libraries) and to get into some buildings. E.g. “Uh oh, Ayesha’s lost her Bod card again.”


  1. the main river flowing through Oxford.
  2. Oxford’s best student newspaper.


  • college-administrated mock exams you take to consolidate the work of the term just gone. They don’t count for anything, but can be a good indicator of where you’re at. Different tutors have vastly different opinions on collections, so keep that in mind! Eg “Collections? They’re just an Oxford fetish I think, I’m not picky about them.” (an actual quote from my tutor)


  • any intercollegiate college competition, but most commonly used for sports fixtures.


  • short for “entertainment”, fun organised by your college.

Fifth week blues

  • the general slump in mood in 5th week. Just past the halfway point in term, this is the point where all hope is lost and term seems nearly endless. But, worry not, because colleges often hold welfare week in 5th week to combat the blues!


  1. someone running for a position in a political society, most commonly the Union. Hacks can typically be found standing in plodge or in your Facebook messages, inviting you for a coffee and a chat about why you should vote for them. 
  2. to hack: to campaign for a position in a society.


  1. the grand building in the centre of college where you eat your meals. Some colleges are almost entirely catered, whilst others have more flexibility.
  2. the food you eat from Hall. Eg “Do you wanna grab Hall together tonight?”


  • the second term of the academic year, running from January to March.

The Isis:

  1. the part of the River Thames that flows through the city. Home to the rowing boathouses, competitions, and the dread rowers feel getting up at 6am for training. Can be found at the end of Christ Church Meadows.
  2. a student magazine full of poetry, culture and writing, published termly.


  1. a room for all the undergraduates of a college to socialise in.
  2. the name given to the collective body of undergraduates at any given college. Eg “I’ve gotta go to the JCR meeting tomorrow.”


  • the first term of the academic year, running from October to December.


  • short for “Honour Moderations”, these are the first exams for some subjects, like Law and Classics, and take place in Hilary term. They don’t count for your overall degree mark, but they differ from Prelims in that you get a classification.


  • a popular uni-wide Facebook page, used to post pretty much anything anonymously. E.g. “Did you see the Oxfess about Keble?”


  • a key pillar in Oxford love life, a Facebook page dedicated to romance. Normally directed towards individuals by referring to their initials and college (e.g. HB @ S).


  • Oxford Christmas! Because our term misses almost all the festive season, Oxmas is celebrated on 25th November.


  • your pigeonhole. Here you’ll find all your post, messages from tutors, and any university mail. E.g. “Hang on, I’ll just check my pidge.”


  • porter’s lodge. The beating heart of every college, porters will normally be the first port (get it) of call for any issues you may have.


  • short for “Preliminary Examinations”, these are the first exams for most subjects, which often take place in Trinity term. They don’t count for your overall degree mark.


  • Permanent Private Hall, an institution very similar to a college, except a little bit smaller and affiliated with a Christian denomination. 


  • a member of staff who will empty your bins and clean your room once a week, and should be thanked profusely for it.


  • coming from ‘quadrangle’, normally a square courtyard with buildings around the edges, often with a well-manicured patch of grass in the middle. A cornerstone of Oxford architecture. E.g. “And if you go through here, that’s Chapel Quad.” 

Rad Cam:

  • the Radcliffe Camera, History Faculty Library and the most iconic building in Oxford. The go-to spot for any violently Oxford Instagram content.


  • a year of temporary suspension from academic studies, normally due to personal reasons.


  • the act of an older student hitting on a fresher, like a shark searching for prey.


  • any merchandise for a college, society, team, etc. Eg “We have lanyards for stash this term!”

Sub fusc:

  • Latin for dark brown, this is the formal outfit you wear to events like matriculation and year-wide exams. Consists of a gown, mortarboard, and suit-like wear. You can buy this from Shepherd and Woodward on the High Street.


  • from “Cantab”, a nickname for people from ‘the other place’ — Cambridge.


  • the third and final term of the academic year, running from April to June.


  • short for ‘tutorials’, these are discussion based teaching sessions with your tutor. Normally an hour a week, these include one tutor and up to three students.


  • short for ‘vacation’, the name given to holidays between terms. The Christmas and Easter vacs last about 6 weeks, while the summer holiday, called the Long Vac, lasts about 3 months.


  1. any sports fixture between Oxford and Cambridge.
  2. the annual Oxbridge ski-trip.

Image credit: Caleb Roenigk via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

For Cherwell, maintaining editorial independence is vital. We are run entirely by and for students. To ensure independence, we receive no funding from the University and are reliant on obtaining other income, such as advertisements. Due to the current global situation, such sources are being limited significantly and we anticipate a tough time ahead – for us and fellow student journalists across the country.

So, if you can, please consider donating. We really appreciate any support you’re able to provide; it’ll all go towards helping with our running costs. Even if you can't support us monetarily, please consider sharing articles with friends, families, colleagues - it all helps!

Thank you!