Cambridge Glossary

Note: See below for specific “dress code” terms.

  • The Backs: The grassy areas at the back of King’s, Trinity, and St. John’s
  • Bedder: A college cleaner, emptier of bins, provider of fresh sheets, etc.
  • Boatie: Someone who rows (they occasionally do other things as well.)
  • Bop: Disco put on in the Fitzpatrick Hall by Queens’ Ents. Probably the closest thing to Animal House this side of Churchill. Also, a sharp punch to the head. Sometimes both.
  • Bumps: Famous rowing races held in Lent and Easter terms.
  • Buttery: The name for cafeterias / dining halls found in the colleges and elsewhere at the University (e.g. at the Sidgwick site).
  • Cindies: The common name for a nightclub in Cambridge, in reality named Ballare.
  • Dress Code: See at the end of this page.
  • Ents: Presumably short for “events”, although it really doesn’t save any syllables. Sometimes used to refer to Queens’ Ents. Also, a giant talking tree animal in Tolkien novels.
  • Fellow: Someone who holds a subject-specific academic position within the college, e.g. Dr. X is a fellow in English at Queens’.
  • Formal (Hall): See the Formal Halls page.
  • JCR: Short for “Junior Combination Room”, this is the representative society of the Undergraduates at Queens’.
  • Life: The common name for a nightclub in Cambridge, in reality named Kuda.
  • Master: The top person in a College. Queens’ has a “President” rather than a Master, who lives in the Presidents’ Lodge.
  • Matriculation: The process of officially registering with College. This means signing the matriculation register in the president’s lodge. A matriculation photo and dinner are also held during freshers week.
  • May Ball: Spectacular all-night parties with loads of food, drinks, and entertainment. Usually Black or White Tie, these last until the early morning “survivors” photograph. The May Balls take place around May Week.
  • May Week: A week of festivities after exams end in the middle of June. This is because Cambridge is so old that June used to be May.
  • MCR: Abbreviation for “Middle Combination Room”, this is the graduate students’ society at Queens’. Every graduate is a member of the MCR, as well as their partners. “MCR” is also often used to refer to our common room, the Woodville Room, in Cripps Court.
  • Pidge / Pidgeon Hole: Your college mailbox, located in the Plodge.
  • Plodge: The Porters’ Lodge, which is the main entrance of a College and sensibly also the location where you will find the Porters.
  • Porter: Someone who works at the entrance of a college, in the Porters’ Lodge. Porters are very knowledgeable about college offices, and will often be your first port of call for college-related questions.
  • Praelector: The fellow who formally presents students (in Latin!) at graduation ceremonies (“Congregations of the Regent House”).
  • Punt: A kind of boat which is moved by a long pole and requires some skill to steer. You can hire out the college punts from the Porters’ Lodge during the warmer months.
  • SCR: Abbreviation for “Senior Combination Room”, this is the society for the ‘Fellowship’ or the body of Fellows at the college. The “SCR” also refers to their common room, which is generally off limits to us, but which you may sometimes see at Mid-Table Dining.
  • Senior Tutorr: The head of the Colleges academic affairs.
  • Suicide Sunday: The Sunday at the start of May Week, when there are many parties and fun. By this Sunday all of the undergrads have finished their exams, but the results are not yet in. The name refers to what you would be committing if you attempted to go punting on this day, as the river gets really packed.
  • UMS: University Messenger Service. An internal, free mail service for post circulating within the University. There is a UMS box in the Porter’s Lodge.
  • Varsity and TCS: The University’s student-run newspapers, Varsity and The Cambridge Student, are available for free in the Porters’ Lodge.

Dress code definitions

Queens’ has a gender neutral dress code, below it may say “for men” and “for women”, but that is just for a general idea. Dress in whatever feels comfortable to an equivalent standard. Queens’ is also not as strict as some colleges, as long as you look nice and not obviously out of place, no one will kick you out of an event.

  • White Tie: Penguin-style tuxedos. You most likely won’t have to deal with this. For women, long elegant dresses (or equivalent).
  • Black Tie: Tuxedos or nice dresses (or equivalent).
  • Formal Wear: Suits or nice dresses (or equivalent).
  • Informal: Suits with no tie/jacket/etc or nice clothes.
  • Smart Casual: Nice shirts/etc or nice clothes.
  • Casual: Everyday wear.

You may have noticed the code for women is very unspecific and fluid. The writer holds the assumption that you can get away with anything.