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University Slang

3 października 2017, wtorek,

University: The time of life when people from many different and varied backgrounds come together to learn, party, and integrate.

Take Leicester University, England, as an example. Not only do they welcome in students from Great Britain and Northern Ireland, they have students from more than 70 different countries. We all know that students are a creative and (usually) clever bunch of people who are full of innovative ideas. Think of the advances in technology and social media to see how true this is. They also have unique experiences, characteristics, mannerism, and even accents or even languages. But does their creativity influence our use of everyday English? Have a read through the University language in this article and make up your mind for yourself.

© Mat Wright, British Council

Before we start it would be useful to know what Slang is.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary Slang in the 19th century was ‚The special vocabulary used by any set of persons of a low or disreputable character; language of a low and vulgar type.’ However its definition has changed over time, it is not viewed as language used by a ‘low and vulgar type’ but is ‚Language of a highly colloquial type, considered as below the level of standard educated speech, and consisting either of new words or of current words employed in some special sense.’.

Let’s get stuck in. (get started).

BAE /bay/: Maybe it could be the most important person you meet at university, but don’t let anyone get between you and BAE (Before Anyone Else, however it is commonly used as a replacement for ‚babe’ or ‚baby).

BANTER /banter/: The name given to slightly offensive behaviour between friends, usually males.

CHUNDER /chunder/: Usually the result of one to many cheap drinks at the Student Union Bar (Vomit).

DENCH /dentʃ/: A generic term meaning that something is good. (Dame Judy Dench?)

GAINS /gayns/: The increase in the muscle mass of men concerned with the physical appearance of their muscles. You only go to the gym for the gains.

HENCH /hentʃ/: It started as a word to describe a large and muscle-bound individual after getting gains, but now it can be used to describe anything of voluminous size.

LAME /laym/: Something considered to be uncool, embarrassing or generally disappointing.

PREGAME /pree-geym/: Drinking before going out to a dance club, bar, making your night a lot cheaper.

RAGER /reɪdʒə/: A student party where large amounts of alcohol are consumed and riotous behaviour occurs. Usually after the pregame.

SCOOP /skuːp/: If anyone asks you if you want to go for a few scoops, ask if they are buying. That way your pints of beer won’t cost you anything.

SICK /sɪk/: Not related to chundering at all, sick now means good or impressive!

TO THROW SHADE /θɹəʊ.ɪŋ sʃeɪd/: To show disgust, disapproval or dislike of a person through body language, usually in the form of a glare.

TOTES /təʊts/: Literally means totally. And who said university students weren’t lazy?!

WHIPPED /wippd/: Being completely controlled by your partner, usually a boyfriend being controlled by his girlfriend. Usually negative.

WRECKED /reckd/: Intoxicated to a high degree, due to the consummation of alcohol or drugs.   

ZOMBIED /zɒmbid/: The results of pulling an all-nighter to get your work handed in on time.


So while we think that most university students spend their time horizontal engineering (sleeping), it turns out that they are changing the face of everyday English. They are repurposing old language, giving it a new lease of life, and even coming up with new definitions for words that have been replaced (sick and chunder are a quick example).

If you attended university in another country, or are even still there, let us know how University Slang is used where you are…..but please keep it clean!


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  1. Some examples of Aussie uni slang:

    Goon = boxed wine, the cheapest thing to drink at uni (slang for universitet)

    Blind = blackout drunk

    Maggot = Wasted

    Pissed = Drunk

    Spewing = puking

    Grog = alcohol

    Off ya face = drunk

    Bludge = bum something of someone, ‘can I bludge a smoke?’

    I wiele, wiele innych.