When you get to Durham, and maybe even before you arrive, you might hear words that mean absolutely nothing to you. Durham has its own language and we want to help you get to grips with it. Here's our Durham dictionary.
Associations: A type of Durham SU student group, our Associations provide a space where self-defining students can come together, discuss the issues affecting them, and campaign to improve the student experience.
Big Tesco: There’s the Tesco Metro in the city centre and then there’s ‘Big Tesco’ further out in Gilesgate. And believe us; it really is very, very big.
Billy B: The affectionate name for Durham’s main library. The term Billy B even gave rise to the library mascot, the Billy Bee.
Bop: A party that ususally takes place in a college, often involving dress-up and a disco.
Cardiac Hill: This hill between the Science Site and Mountjoy would be better named a mountain.
College nicknames: A lot of the colleges have a shortened version of their name that you'll hear people use (Stevo, Trevs, Cuth’s, Castle etc.). They’re pretty easy to recognise and shouldn’t catch you out.
Doxbridge: Durham, Oxford, and Cambridge.
Durfess: An anonymous confessions page on Facebook. Not the most reliable source of information, but juicy.
Durham Union Society: It’s very easy to get the Union Society and Durham Students’ Union mixed up. We're your Students’ Union, we often call ourselves Durham SU, and we’re here to look after student needs in Durham. Durham Union Society is a debating society established in 1842. Not the same thing.
Duo: This is the acronym for Durham University Online and is a University portal that contains a lot of important resources, like lecture handouts.
Elvet Riverside: The two buildings below the Students' Union are Elvet Riverside 1 and 2. They are technically one building connected up at the back, but we challenge you to find out how you get between the two...
Exec: Short for Executive Committee, these are people who have been elected into positions of responsibility, usually in your JCR or within a student group.
Formal: Dress up fancy, grab a gown (if you’re from certain colleges), and attend a lovely meal in college with friends. That’s a formal.
Frep: Freshers’ Reps are often known as ‘Freps’. They’re older students from your college who have volunteered to help you settle into Durham. They’ll be amongst the first people you meet when you arrive and are a good source of specialist Durham knowledge.
Freshers’ flu: We hope you don’t have to use this word, but freshers’ flu is the cold/cough/sore throat a lot of freshers get at the beginning of their studies.
Gilesgate: An area where lots of students live when they move out of college. It's essentially a big hill up the road from Hild Bede, and leads to Big Tesco.
Hexy: This word is sometimes used to describe things related to Trevelyan College because their building is hexagonal. What it actually means, who knows?
Hill and Bailey: Most of Durham’s colleges fall into two categories, ‘hill’ or ‘bailey’, depending on their location. You’ll soon find out which one you’re in, and that this leads to some (friendly) rivalries.
Hounds: Club nights at Castle are named 'Hounds' after the SU's old club night 'Planet of Sound'. Who knew Durham had its own rhyming slang?
Hust: There are lots of opportunities to run for elected positions in Durham, for example leading a student group or as part of your Union. To get these roles you may need to ‘hust’ – do a short speech and answer questions – in front of other students.
JCR: Junior Common Rooms are often described as ‘mini students’ unions’. They’re your college’s student body and make decisions about everything that goes on in college.
Maiden Castle: This is the name most students use for the Graham Sports Centre.
Matriculation: This is a traditional Durham ceremony that you will go to in Freshers’ Week. It mainly involves going to the Cathedral in smart clothing, maybe a gown, and getting to feel very important.
MCR: Standing for Middle Common Room, MCRs are the postgraduate body within colleges, often hosting their own socials and formals.
Michaelmas, Epiphany and Easter term: Durham’s academic year is split into three terms. They come in the above order.
Osbournes: A bar in Durham that hosts Durham's LGBT+ night on a Monday. Our LGBT+ Association or your colleges LGBT+ reps will probably organise a group trip if you'd like someone to go with.
Nightbus: More a taxi than a bus, you can ring the Nightbus to take you between any locations in Durham, and it only costs £2.
Nightline: A student-run listening service you can reach every night throughout term when you need someone to talk to.
Palatinate: This fetching purple is the University's official colour, and also the name of the award-winning student newspaper.
Prebends Bridge: If you’re at a hill college, you’ll likely cross this bridge on your way to matriculation.
Purple Radio: Durham's award-winning student radio station, which you can give a listen here.
Science Site: Officially called Lower Mountjoy, the Science Site is home to many of the University’s buildings, including the Bill Bryson Library, the Palatine Centre, and the Calman Learning Centre.
SCR: Each college has a Senior Common Room, usually made up of staff from across the Unviersity, members of the local community and college alumni. They organise a range of activities throughout the year.
SNK: Sunday Night Klute does what it says on the tin: you spend Sunday night in Klute, one of Durham's nightclubs.
Spags: This is short of La Spaghettata, an Italian restaurant often visited by students.
Stash: Colleges and student groups often sell clothing items with their logo on. This is called stash and you’ll likely witness a lot of it about in Durham.
Viaduct: A housing area underneath, you guessed it, the viaduct. It also covers the area behind the bus station and is a popular place for livers-out to live.
Get more out of your time at Durham by activating your Durham SU account. Every Durham student is automatically a member of Durham SU, and your account will allow you to join student groups and have full access to the benefits of the SU. Find out how to activate your account here.