A Collection of College Words and Customs by Benjamin Homer Hall

Produced by Rick Niles, John Hagerson, Tony Browne and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team. A COLLECTION OF COLLEGE WORDS AND CUSTOMS. BY B.H. HALL. “Multa renascentur quae jam cecidere, cadentque Quae nunc sunt in honore, vocabula.” “Notandi sunt tibi mores.” HOR. _Ars Poet._ REVISED AND ENLARGED EDITION. Entered according to Act of Congress, in the
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Produced by Rick Niles, John Hagerson, Tony Browne and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.






“Multa renascentur quae jam cecidere, cadentque Quae nunc sunt in honore, vocabula.”

“Notandi sunt tibi mores.”
HOR. _Ars Poet._


Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1856, by


in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.


The first edition of this publication was mostly compiled during the leisure hours of the last half-year of a Senior’s collegiate life, and was presented anonymously to the public with the following


“The Editor has an indistinct recollection of a sheet of foolscap paper, on one side of which was written, perhaps a year and a half ago, a list of twenty or thirty college phrases, followed by the euphonious titles of ‘Yale Coll.,’ ‘Harvard Coll.’ Next he calls to mind two blue-covered books, turned from their original use, as receptacles of Latin and Greek exercises, containing explanations of these and many other phrases. His friends heard that he was hunting up odd words and queer customs, and dubbed him ‘Antiquarian,’ but in a kindly manner, spared his feelings, and did not put the vinegar ‘old’ before it.

“Two and one half quires of paper were in time covered with a strange medley, an olla-podrida of student peculiarities. Thus did he amuse himself in his leisure hours, something like one who, as Dryden says, ‘is for raking in Chaucer for antiquated words.’ By and by he heard a wish here and a wish there, whether real or otherwise he does not know, which said something about ‘type,’ ‘press,’ and used other cabalistic words, such as ‘copy,’ ‘devil,’ etc. Then there was a gathering of papers, a transcribing of passages from letters, an arranging in alphabetical order, a correcting of proofs, and the work was done,–poorly it may be, but with good intent.

“Some things will be found in the following pages which are neither words nor customs peculiar to colleges, and yet they have been inserted, because it was thought they would serve to explain the character of student life, and afford a little amusement to the student himself. Society histories have been omitted, with the exception of an account of the oldest affiliated literary society in the United States.

“To those who have aided in the compilation of this work, the Editor returns his warmest thanks. He has received the assistance of many, whose names he would here and in all places esteem it an honor openly to acknowlege, were he not forbidden so to do by the fact that he is himself anonymous. Aware that there is information still to be collected, in reference to the subjects here treated, he would deem it a favor if he could receive through the medium of his publisher such morsels as are yet ungathered.

“Should one pleasant thought arise within the breast of any Alumnus, as a long-forgotten but once familiar word stares him in the face, like an old and early friend; or should one who is still guarded by his Alma Mater be led to a more summer-like acquaintance with those who have in years past roved, as he now roves, through classic shades and honored halls, the labors of their friend, the Editor, will have been crowned with complete success.

“CAMBRIDGE, July 4th, 1851.”

Fearing lest venerable brows should frown with displeasure at the recital of incidents which once made those brows bright and joyous; dreading also those stern voices which might condemn as boyish, trivial, or wrong an attempt to glean a few grains of philological lore from the hitherto unrecognized corners of the fields of college life, the Editor chose to regard the brows and hear the voices from an innominate position. Not knowing lest he should at some future time regret the publication of pages which might be deemed heterodox, he caused a small edition of the work to be published, hoping, should it be judged as evil, that the error would be circumscribed in its effects, and the medium of the error buried between the dusty shelves of the second-hand collection of some rusty old bibliopole. By reason of this extreme caution, the volume has been out of print for the last four years.

In the present edition, the contents of the work have been carefully revised, and new articles, filling about two hundred pages, have been interspersed throughout the volume, arranged under appropriate titles. Numerous additions have been made to the collection of technicalities peculiar to the English universities, and the best authorities have been consulted in the preparation of this department. An index has also been added, containing a list of the American colleges referred to in the text in connection with particular words or customs.

The Editor is aware that many of the words here inserted are wanting in that refinement of sound and derivation which their use in classical localities might seem to imply, and that some of the customs here noticed and described are
“More honored in the breach than the observance.” These facts are not, however, sufficient to outweigh his conviction that there is nothing in language or manners too insignificant for the attention of those who are desirous of studying the diversified developments of the character of man. For this reason, and for the gratification of his own taste and the tastes of many who were pleased at the inceptive step taken in the first edition, the present volume has been prepared and is now given to the public.

TROY, N.Y., February 2, 1856.



A.B. An abbreviation for _Artium Baccalaureus_, Bachelor of Arts. The first degree taken by students at a college or university. It is usually written B.A., q.v.

ABSIT. Latin; literally, _let him be absent_; leave of absence from commons, given to a student in the English universities.–_Gradus ad Cantab._

ACADEMIAN. A member of an academy; a student in a university or college.

ACADEMIC. A student in a college or university.

A young _academic_ coming into the country immediately after this great competition, &c.–_Forby’s Vocabulary_, under _Pin-basket_.

A young _academic_ shall dwell upon a journal that treats of trade, and be lavish in the praise of the author; while persons skilled in those subjects hear the tattle with contempt.–_Watts’s Improvement of the Mind_.

ACADEMICALS. In the English universities, the dress peculiar to the students and officers.

I must insist on your going to your College and putting on your _academicals_.–_The Etonian_, Vol. II. p. 382.

The Proctor makes a claim of 6s. 8d. on every undergraduate whom he finds _inermem_, or without his _academicals_.–_Gradus ad Cantab._, p. 8.

If you say you are going for a walk, or if it appears likely, from the time and place, you are allowed to pass, otherwise you may be sent back to college to put on your _academicals_.–_Collegian’s Guide_, p. 177.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT. At Harvard College, every student admitted upon examination, after giving a bond for the payment of all college dues, according to the established laws and customs, is required to sign the following _acknowledgment_, as it is called:–“I acknowledge that, having been admitted to the University at Cambridge, I am subject to its laws.” Thereupon he receives from the President a copy of the laws which he has promised to obey.–_Laws Univ. of Cam., Mass._, 1848, p. 13.

ACT. In English universities, a thesis maintained in public by a candidate for a degree, or to show the proficiency of a student.–_Webster_.

The student proposes certain questions to the presiding officer of the schools, who then nominates other students to oppose him. The discussion is syllogistical and in Latin and terminates by the presiding officer questioning the respondent, or person who is said _to keep the act_, and his opponents, and dismissing them with some remarks upon their respective merits.–_Brande_.

The effect of practice in such matters may be illustrated by the habit of conversing in Latin, which German students do much more readily than English, simply because the former practise it, and hold public disputes in Latin, while the latter have long left off “_keeping Acts_,” as the old public discussions required of candidates for a degree used to be called.–_Bristed’s Five Years in an Eng. Univ._, Ed. 2d, p. 184.

The word was formerly used in Harvard College. In the “Orders of the Overseers,” May 6th, 1650, is the following: “Such that expect to proceed Masters of Arts [are ordered] to exhibit their synopsis of _acts_ required by the laws of the College.”–_Quincy’s Hist. Harv. Univ._, Vol. I. p. 518.

Nine Bachelors commenced at Cambridge; they were young men of good hope, and performed their _acts_ so as to give good proof of their proficiency in the tongues and arts.–_Winthrop’s Journal, by Mr. Savage_, Vol. I. p. 87.

The students of the first classis that have beene these foure years trained up in University learning (for their ripening in the knowledge of the tongues, and arts) and are approved for their manners, as they have _kept_ their publick _Acts_ in former yeares, ourselves being present at them; so have they lately _kept_ two solemn _Acts_ for their Commencement.–_New England’s First Fruits_, in _Mass. Hist. Coll._, Vol. I. p. 245.

But in the succeeding _acts_ … the Latin syllogism seemed to give the most content.–_Harvard Register_, 1827-28, p. 305.

2. The close of the session at Oxford, when Masters and Doctors complete their degrees, whence the _Act Term_, or that term in which the _act_ falls. It is always held with great solemnity. At Cambridge, and in American colleges, it is called _Commencement_. In this sense Mather uses it.

They that were to proceed Bachelors, held their _Act_ publickly in Cambridge.–_Mather’s Magnalia_, B. 4, pp. 127, 128.

At some times in the universities of England they have no public _acts_, but give degrees privately and silently.–_Letter of Increase Mather, in App. to Pres. Woolsey’s Hist. Disc._, p. 87.

AD EUNDEM GRADUM. Latin, _to the same degree_. In American colleges, a Bachelor or Master of one institution was formerly allowed to take _the same_ degree at another, on payment of a certain fee. By this he was admitted to all the privileges of a graduate of his adopted Alma Mater. _Ad eundem gradum_, to the same degree, were the important words in the formula of admission. A similar custom prevails at present in the English universities.

Persons who have received a degree in any other college or university may, upon proper application, be admitted _ad eundem_, upon payment of the customary fees to the President.–_Laws Union Coll._, 1807, p. 47.

Persons who have received a degree in any other university or college may, upon proper application, be admitted _ad eundem_, upon paying five dollars to the Steward for the President.–_Laws of the Univ. in Cam., Mass._, 1828.

Persons who have received a degree at any other college may, upon proper application, be admitted _ad eundem_, upon payment of the customary fee to the President.–_Laws Mid. Coll._, 1839, p. 24.

The House of Convocation consists both of regents and non-regents, that is, in brief, all masters of arts not honorary, or _ad eundems_ from Cambridge or Dublin, and of course graduates of a higher order.–_Oxford Guide_, 1847, p. xi.

Fortunately some one recollected that the American Minister was a D.C.L. of Trinity College, Dublin, members of which are admitted _ad eundem gradum_ at Cambridge.–_Bristed’s Five Years in an Eng. Univ._, Ed. 2d, p. 112.

ADJOURN. At Bowdoin College, _adjourns_ are the occasional holidays given when a Professor unexpectedly absents himself from recitation.

ADJOURN. At the University of Vermont, this word as a verb is used in the same sense as is the verb BOLT at Williams College; e.g. the students _adjourn_ a recitation, when they leave the recitation-room _en masse_, despite the Professor.

ADMISSION. The act of admitting a person as a member of a college or university. The requirements for admission are usually a good moral character on the part of the candidate, and that he shall be able to pass a satisfactory examination it certain studies. In some colleges, students are not allowed to enter until they are of a specified age.–_Laws Univ. at Cam., Mass._, 1848, p. 12. _Laws Tale Coll._, 1837, p. 8.

The requisitions for entrance at Harvard College in 1650 are given in the following extract. “When any scholar is able to read Tully, or such like classical Latin author, _extempore_, and make and speak true Latin in verse and prose _suo (ut aiunt) Marte_, and decline perfectly the paradigms of nouns and verbs in the Greek tongue, then may he be admitted into the College, nor shall any claim admission before such qualifications.”–_Quincy’s Hist. Harv. Univ._, Vol. I. p. 515.

ADMITTATUR. Latin; literally, _let him be admitted_. In the older American colleges, the certificate of admission given to a student upon entering was called an _admittatur_, from the word with which it began. At Harvard no student was allowed to occupy a room in the College, to receive the instruction there given, or was considered a member thereof, until he had been admitted according to this form.–_Laws Harv. Coll._, 1798.

Referring to Yale College, President Wholsey remarks on this point: “The earliest known laws of the College belong to the years 1720 and 1726, and are in manuscript; which is explained by the custom that every Freshman, on his admission, was required to write off a copy of them for himself, to which the _admittatur_ of the officers was subscribed.”–_Hist. Disc, before Grad. Yale Coll._, 1850, p. 45.

He travels wearily over in visions the term he is to wait for his initiation into college ways and his _admittatur_.–_Harvard Register_, p. 377.

I received my _admittatur_ and returned home, to pass the vacation and procure the college uniform.–_New England Magazine_, Vol. III. p. 238.

It was not till six months of further trial, that we received our _admittatur_, so called, and became matriculated.–_A Tour through College_, 1832, p. 13.

ADMITTO TE AD GRADUM. _I admit you to a degree_; the first words in the formula used in conferring the honors of college.

The scholar-dress that once arrayed him, The charm _Admitto te ad gradum_,
With touch of parchment can refine, And make the veriest coxcomb shine,
Confer the gift of tongues at once, And fill with sense the vacant dunce.
_Trumbull’s Progress of Dullness_, Ed. 1794, Exeter, p. 12.

ADMONISH. In collegiate affairs, to reprove a member of a college for a fault, either publicly or privately; the first step of college discipline. It is followed by _of_ or _against_; as, to admonish of a fault committed, or against committing a fault.

ADMONITION. Private or public reproof; the first step of college discipline. In Harvard College, both private and public admonition subject the offender to deductions from his rank, and the latter is accompanied in most cases with official notice to his parents or guardian.–See _Laws Univ. at Cam., Mass._, 1848, p. 21. _Laws Yale Coll._, 1837, p. 23.

Mr. Flynt, for many years a tutor in Harvard College, thus records an instance of college punishment for stealing poultry:–“November 4th, 1717. Three scholars were publicly admonished for thievery, and one degraded below five in his class, because he had been before publicly admonished for card-playing. They were ordered by the President into the middle of the Hall (while two others, concealers of the theft, were ordered to stand up in their places, and spoken to there). The crime they were charged with was first declared, and then laid open as against the law of God and the House, and they were admonished to consider the nature and tendency of it, with its aggravations; and all, with them, were warned to take heed and regulate themselves, so that they might not be in danger of so doing for the future; and those who consented to the theft were admonished to beware, lest God tear them in pieces, according to the text. They were then fined, and ordered to make restitution twofold for each theft.”–_Quincy’s Hist. Harv. Univ._, Vol. I. p. 443.

ADOPTED SON. Said of a student in reference to the college of which he is or was a member, the college being styled his _alma mater_.

There is something in the affection of our Alma Mater which changes the nature of her _adopted sons_; and let them come from wherever they may, she soon alters them and makes it evident that they belong to the same brood.–_Harvard Register_, p. 377.

ADVANCE. The lesson which a student prepares for the first time is called _the advance_, in contradistinction to _the review_.

Even to save him from perdition, He cannot get “_the advance_,” forgets “_the review_.” _Childe Harvard_, p. 13.

AEGROTAL. Latin, _aegrotus_, sick. A certificate of illness. Used in the Univ. of Cam., Eng.

A lucky thought; he will get an “_aegrotal_,” or medical certificate of illness.–_Household Words_, Vol. II. p. 162.

AEGROTAT. Latin; literally, _he is sick_. In the English universities, a certificate from a doctor or surgeon, to the effect that a student has been prevented by illness from attending to his college duties, “though, commonly,” says the Gradus ad Cantabrigiam, “the real complaint is much more serious; viz. indisposition of the mind! _aegrotat_ animo magis quam corpore.” This state is technically called _aegritude_, and the person thus affected is said to be _aeger_.–_The Etonian_, Vol. II. pp. 386, 387.

To prove sickness nothing more is necessary than to send to some medical man for a pill and a draught, and a little bit of paper with _aegrotat_ on it, and the doctor’s signature. Some men let themselves down off their horses, and send for an _aegrotat_ on the score of a fall.–_Westminster Rev._, Am. Ed., Vol. XXXV. p. 235.

During this term I attended another course of Aristotle lectures, –but not with any express view to the May examination, which I had no intention of going in to, if it could be helped, and which I eventually escaped by an _aegrotat_ from my physician.–_Bristed’s Five Years in an Eng. Univ._, Ed. 2d, p. 198.

Mr. John Trumbull well describes this state of indisposition in his Progress of Dullness:–

“Then every book, which ought to please, Stirs up the seeds of dire disease;
Greek spoils his eyes, the print’s so fine, Grown dim with study, and with wine;
Of Tully’s Latin much afraid,
Each page he calls the doctor’s aid; While geometry, with lines so crooked,
Sprains all his wits to overlook it. His sickness puts on every name,
Its cause and uses still the same; ‘Tis toothache, colic, gout, or stone,
With phases various as the moon,
But tho’ thro’ all the body spread, Still makes its cap’tal seat, the head. In all diseases, ’tis expected,
The weakest parts be most infected.” Ed. 1794, Part I. p. 8.

AEGROTAT DEGREE. One who is sick or so indisposed that he cannot attend the Senate-House examination, nor consequently acquire any honor, takes what is termed an _AEgrotat degree_.–_Alma Mater_, Vol. II. p. 105.

ALMA MATER, _pl._ ALMAE MATRES. Fostering mother; a college or seminary where one is educated. The title was originally given to Oxford and Cambridge, by such as had received their education in either university.

It must give pleasure to the alumni of the College to hear of his good name, as he [Benjamin Woodbridge] was the eldest son of our _alma mater_.–_Peirce’s Hist. Harv. Univ._, App., p. 57.

I see the truths I have uttered, in relation to our _Almae Matres_, assented to by sundry of their
children.–_Terrae-Filius_, Oxford, p. 41.

ALUMNI, SOCIETY OF. An association composed of the graduates of a particular college. The object of societies of this nature is stated in the following extract from President Hopkins’s Address before the Society of Alumni of Williams College, Aug. 16, 1843. “So far as I know, the Society of the Alumni of Williams College was the first association of the kind in this country, certainly the first which acted efficiently, and called forth literary addresses. It was formed September 5, 1821, and the preamble to the constitution then adopted was as follows: ‘For the promotion of literature and good fellowship among ourselves, and the better to advance the reputation and interests of our Alma Mater, we the subscribers, graduates of Williams College, form ourselves into a Society.’ The first president was Dr. Asa Burbank. The first orator elected was the Hon. Elijah Hunt Mills, a distinguished Senator of the United States. That appointment was not fulfilled. The first oration was delivered in 1823, by the Rev. Dr. Woodbridge, now of Hadley, and was well worthy of the occasion; and since that time the annual oration before the Alumni has seldom failed…. Since this Society was formed, the example has been followed in other institutions, and bids fair to extend to them all. Last year, for the first time, the voice of an Alumnus orator was heard at Harvard and at Yale; and one of these associations, I know, sprung directly from ours. It is but three years since a venerable man attended the meeting of our Alumni, one of those that have been so full of interest, and he said he should go directly home and have such an association formed at the Commencement of his Alma Mater, then about to occur. He did so. That association was formed, and the last year the voice of one of the first scholars and jurists in the nation was heard before them. The present year the Alumni of Dartmouth were addressed for the first time, and the doctrine of Progress was illustrated by the distinguished speaker in more senses than one.[01] Who can tell how great the influence of such associations may become in cherishing kind feeling, in fostering literature, in calling out talent, in leading men to act, not selfishly, but more efficiently for the general cause through particular institutions?”–_Pres. Hopkins’s Miscellaneous Essays and Discourses_, pp. 275-277.

To the same effect also, Mr. Chief Justice Story, who, in his Discourse before the Society of the Alumni of Harvard University, Aug. 23, 1842, says: “We meet to celebrate the first anniversary of the society of all the Alumni of Harvard. We meet without any distinction of sect or party, or of rank or profession, in church or in state, in literature or in science…. Our fellowship is designed to be–as it should be–of the most liberal and comprehensive character, conceived in the spirit of catholic benevolence, asking no creed but the love of letters, seeking no end but the encouragement of learning, and imposing no conditions, which say lead to jealousy or ambitious strife. In short, we meet for peace and for union; to devote one day in the year to academical intercourse and the amenities of scholars.”–p. 4.

An Alumni society was formed at Columbia College in the year 1829, and at Rutgers College in 1837. There are also societies of this nature at the College of New Jersey, Princeton; University of Virginia, Charlottesville; and at Columbian College, Washington.

ALUMNUS, _pl._ ALUMNI. Latin, from _alo_, to nourish. A pupil; one educated at a seminary or college is called an _alumnus_ of that institution.

A.M. An abbreviation for _Artium Magister_, Master of Arts. The second degree given by universities and colleges. It is usually written M.A., q.v.

ANALYSIS. In the following passage, the word _analysis_ is used as a verb; the meaning being directly derived from that of the noun of the same orthography.

If any resident Bachelor, Senior, or Junior Sophister shall neglect to _analysis_ in his course, he shall be punished not exceeding ten shillings.–_Peirce’s Hist. Harv. Univ._, App., p. 129.

ANNARUGIANS. At Centre College, Kentucky, is a society called the _Annarugians_, “composed,” says a correspondent “of the wildest of the College boys, who, in the most fantastic disguises, are always on hand when a wedding is to take place, and join in a most tremendous Charivari, nor can they be forced to retreat until they have received a due proportion of the sumptuous feast prepared.”

APOSTLES. At Cambridge, England, the last twelve on the list of Bachelors of Arts; a degree lower than the [Greek: oi polloi] “Scape-goats of literature, who have at length scrambled through the pales and discipline of the Senate-House, without being _plucked_, and miraculously obtained the title of A.B.”–_Gradus ad Cantab._

At Columbian College, D.C., the members of the Faculty are called after the names of the _Apostles_.

APPLICANT. A diligent student. “This word,” says Mr. Pickering, in his Vocabulary, “has been much used at our colleges. The English have the verb _to apply_, but the noun _applicant_, in this sense, does not appear to be in use among them. The only Dictionary in which I have found it with this meaning is Entick’s, in which it is given under the word _applier_. Mr. Todd has the term _applicant_, but it is only in the sense of ‘he who applies for anything.’ An American reviewer, in his remarks on Mr. Webster’s Dictionary, takes notice of the word, observing, that it ‘is a mean word’; and then adds, that ‘Mr. Webster has not explained it in the most common sense, a _hard student_.’–_Monthly Anthology_, Vol. VII. p. 263. A correspondent observes: ‘The utmost that can be said of this word among the English is, that perhaps it is occasionally used in conversation; at least, to signify one who asks (or applies) for something.'” At present the word _applicant_ is never used in the sense of a diligent student, the common signification being that given by Mr. Webster, “One who applies; one who makes request; a petitioner.”

APPOINTEE. One who receives an appointment at a college exhibition or commencement.

The _appointees_ are writing their pieces.–_Scenes and Characters in College_, New Haven, 1847, p. 193.

To the gratified _appointee_,–if his ambition for the honor has the intensity it has in some bosoms,–the day is the proudest he will ever see.–_Ibid._, p. 194.

I suspect that a man in the first class of the “Poll” has usually read mathematics to more profit than many of the “_appointees_,” even of the “oration men” at Yale.–_Bristed’s Five Years in an Eng. Univ._, Ed. 2d, p. 382.

He hears it said all about him that the College _appointees_ are for the most part poor dull fellows.–_Ibid._, p. 389.

APPOINTMENT. In many American colleges, students to whom are assigned a part in the exercises of an exhibition or commencement, are said to receive an _appointment_. Appointments are given as a reward for superiority in scholarship.

As it regards college, the object of _appointments_ is to incite to study, and promote good scholarship.–_Scenes and Characters in College_, New Haven, 1847, p. 69.

If e’er ye would take an “_appointment_” young man, Beware o’ the “blade” and “fine fellow,” young man! _Yale Lit. Mag._, Vol. XV. p. 210.

Some have crammed for _appointments_, and some for degrees. _Presentation Day Songs_, Yale Coll., June 14, 1854.


APPROBAMUS. Latin; _we approve_. A certificate, given to a student, testifying of his fitness for the performance of certain duties.

In an account of the exercises at Dartmouth College during the Commencement season in 1774, Dr. Belknap makes use of this word in the following connection: “I attended, with several others, the examination of Joseph Johnson, an Indian, educated in this school, who, with the rest of the New England Indians, are about moving up into the country of the Six Nations, where they have a tract of land fifteen miles square given them. He appeared to be an ingenious, sensible, serious young man; and we gave him an _approbamus_, of which there is a copy on the next page. After which, at three P.M., he preached in the college hall, and a collection of twenty-seven dollars and a half was made for him. The auditors were agreeably entertained.

“The _approbamus_ is as follows.”–_Life of Jeremy Belknap, D.D._, pp. 71, 72.

APPROBATE. To express approbation of; to manifest a liking, or degree of satisfaction.–_Webster_.

The cause of this battle every man did allow and _approbate_.–_Hall, Henry VII., Richardson’s Dict._

“This word,” says Mr. Pickering, “was formerly much used at our colleges instead of the old English verb _approve_. The students used to speak of having their performances _approbated_ by the instructors. It is also now in common use with our clergy as a sort of technical term, to denote a person who is licensed to preach; they would say, such a one is _approbated_, that is, licensed to preach. It is also common in New England to say of a person who is licensed by the county courts to sell spirituous liquors, or to keep a public house, that he is approbated; and the term is adopted in the law of Massachusetts on this subject.” The word is obsolete in England, is obsolescent at our colleges, and is very seldom heard in the other senses given above.

By the twelfth statute, a student incurs … no penalty by declaiming or attempting to declaim without having his piece previously _approbated_.–_MS. Note to Laws of Harvard College_, 1798.

Observe their faces as they enter, and you will perceive some shades there, which, if they are _approbated_ and admitted, will be gone when they come out.–_Scenes and Characters in College_, New Haven, 1847, p. 18.

How often does the professor whose duty it is to criticise and _approbate_ the pieces for this exhibition wish they were better! –_Ibid._, p. 195.

I was _approbated_ by the Boston Association, I suspect, as a person well known, but known as an anomaly, and admitted in charity.–_Memorial of John S. Popkin, D.D._, p. lxxxv.

ASSES’ BRIDGE. The fifth proposition of the first book of Euclid is called the _Asses’ Bridge_, or rather “Pons Asinorum,” from the difficulty with which many get over it.

The _Asses’ Bridge_ in Euclid is not more difficult to be got over, nor the logarithms of Napier so hard to be unravelled, as many of Hoyle’s Cases and Propositions.–_The Connoisseur_, No. LX.

After Mr. Brown had passed us over the “_Asses’ Bridge_,” without any serious accident, and conducted us a few steps further into the first book, he dismissed us with many compliments.–_Alma Mater_, Vol. I. p. 126.

I don’t believe he passed the _Pons Asinorum_ without many a halt and a stumble.–_Ibid._, Vol. I. p. 146.

ASSESSOR. In the English universities, an officer specially appointed to assist the Vice-Chancellor in his court.–_Cam. Cal._

AUCTION. At Harvard College, it was until within a few years customary for the members of the Senior Class, previously to leaving college, to bring together in some convenient room all the books, furniture, and movables of any kind which they wished to dispose of, and put them up at public auction. Everything offered was either sold, or, if no bidders could be obtained, given away.

AUDIT. In the University of Cambridge, England, a meeting of the Master and Fellows to examine or _audit_ the college accounts. This is succeeded by a feast, on which occasion is broached the very best ale, for which reason ale of this character is called “audit ale.”–_Grad. ad Cantab._

This use of the word thirst made me drink an extra bumper of “_Audit_” that very day at dinner.–_Alma Mater_, Vol. I. p. 3.

After a few draughts of the _Audit_, the company disperse.–_Ibid._ Vol. I. p. 161.

AUTHORITY. “This word,” says Mr. Pickering, in his Vocabulary, “is used in some of the States, in speaking collectively of the Professors, &c. of our colleges, to whom the _government_ of these institutions is intrusted.”

Every Freshman shall be obliged to do any proper errand or message for the _Authority_ of the College.–_Laws Middlebury Coll._, 1804, p. 6.

AUTOGRAPH BOOK. It is customary at Yale College for each member of the Senior Class, before the close of his collegiate life, to obtain, in a book prepared for that purpose, the signatures of the President, Professors, Tutors, and of all his classmates, with anything else which they may choose to insert. Opposite the autographs of the college officers are placed engravings of them, so far as they are obtainable; and the whole, bound according to the fancy of each, forms a most valuable collection of agreeable mementos.

When news of his death reached me. I turned to my _book of classmate autographs_, to see what he had written there, and to read a name unusually dear.–_Scenes and Characters in College_, New Haven, 1847, p. 201.

AVERAGE BOOK. At Harvard College, a book in which the marks received by each student, for the proper performance of his college duties, are entered; also the deductions from his rank resulting from misconduct. These unequal data are then arranged in a mean proportion, and the result signifies the standing which the student has held for a given period.

In vain the Prex’s grave rebuke,
Deductions from the _average book_. _MS. Poem_, W.F. Allen, 1848.


B.A. An abbreviation of _Baccalaureus Artium_, Bachelor of Arts. The first degree taken by a student at a college or university. Sometimes written A.B., which is in accordance with the proper Latin arrangement. In American colleges this degree is conferred in course on each member of the Senior Class in good standing. In the English universities, it is given to the candidate who has been resident at least half of each of ten terms, i.e. during a certain portion of a period extending over three and a third years, and who has passed the University examinations.

The method of conferring the degree of B.A. at Trinity College, Hartford, is peculiar. The President takes the hands of each candidate in his own as he confers the degree. He also passes to the candidate a book containing the College Statutes, which the candidate holds in his right hand during the performance of a part of the ceremony.

The initials of English academical titles always correspond to the _English_, not to the Latin of the titles, _B.A._, M.A., D.D., D.C.L., &c.–_Bristed’s Five Years in an Eng. Univ._, Ed. 2d, p. 13.


BACCALAUREATE. The degree of Bachelor of Arts; the first or lowest degree. In American colleges, this degree is conferred in course on each member of the Senior Class in good standing. In Oxford and Cambridge it is attainable in two different ways;–1. By examination, to which those students alone are admissible who have pursued the prescribed course of study for the space of three years. 2. By extraordinary diploma, granted to individuals wholly unconnected with the University. The former class are styled Baccalaurei Formati, the latter Baccalaurei Currentes. In France the degree of Baccalaureat (Baccalaureus Literarum) is conferred indiscriminately upon such natives or foreigners and after a strict examination in the classics, mathematics, and philosophy, are declared to be qualified. In the German universities, the title “Doctor Philosophiae” has long been substituted for Baccalaureus Artium or Literarum. In the Middle Ages, the term Baccalaureus was applied to an inferior order of knights, who came into the field unattended by vassals; from them it was transferred to the lowest class of ecclesiastics; and thence again, by Pope Gregory the Ninth to the universities. In reference to the derivation of this word, the military classes maintain that it is either derived from the _baculus_ or staff with which knights were usually invested, or from _bas chevalier_, an inferior kind of knight; the literary classes, with more plausibility, perhaps, trace its origin to the custom which prevailed universally among the Greeks and Romans, and which was followed even in Italy till the thirteenth century, of crowning distinguished individuals with laurel; hence the recipient of this honor was style Baccalaureus, quasi _baccis laureis_ donatus.–_Brande’s Dictionary_.

The subjoined passage, although it may not place the subject in any clearer light, will show the difference of opinion which exists in reference to the derivation of this work. Speaking of the exercises of Commencement at Cambridge Mass., in the early days of Harvard College, the writer says “But the main exercises were disputations upon questions wherein the respondents first made their Theses: For according to Vossius, the very essence of the Baccalaureat seems to lye in the thing: Baccalaureus being but a name corrupted of Batualius, which Batualius (as well as the French Bataile [Bataille]) comes a Batuendo, a business that carries beating in it: So that, Batualii fuerunt vocati, quia jam quasi _batuissent_ cum adversario, ac manus conseruissent; hoc est, publice disputassent, atque ita peritiae suae specimen dedissent.”–_Mather’s Magnalia_, B. IV. p. 128.

The Seniors will be examined for the _Baccalaureate_, four weeks before Commencement, by a committee, in connection with the Faculty.–_Cal. Wesleyan Univ._, 1849, p. 22.

BACHELOR. A person who has taken the first degree in the liberal arts and sciences, at a college or university. This degree, or honor, is called the _Baccalaureate_. This title is given also to such as take the first degree in divinity, law, or physic, in certain European universities. The word appears in various forms in different languages. The following are taken from _Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary_. “French, _bachelier_; Spanish, _bachiller_, a bachelor of arts and a babbler; Portuguese, _bacharel_, id., and _bacello_, a shoot or twig of the vine; Italian, _baccelliere_, a bachelor of arts; _bacchio_, a staff; _bachetta_, a rod; Latin, _bacillus_, a stick, that is, a shoot; French, _bachelette_, a damsel, or young woman; Scotch, _baich_, a child; Welsh, _bacgen_, a boy, a child; _bacgenes_, a young girl, from _bac_, small. This word has its origin in the name of a child, or young person of either sex, whence the sense of _babbling_ in the Spanish. Or both senses are rather from shooting, protruding.”

Of the various etymologies ascribed to the term _Bachelor_, “the true one, and the most flattering,” says the Gradus ad Cantabrigiam, “seems to be _bacca laurus_. Those who either are, or expect to be, honored with the title of _Bachelor of Arts_, will hear with exultation, that they are then ‘considered as the budding flowers of the University; as the small _pillula_, or _bacca_, of the _laurel_ indicates the flowering of that tree, which is so generally used in the crowns of those who have deserved well, both of the military states, and of the republic of learning.’–_Carter’s History of Cambridge, [Eng.]_, 1753.”

BACHELOR FELLOW. A Bachelor of Arts who is maintained on a fellowship.

BACHELOR SCHOLAR. At the University of Cambridge, Eng., a B.A. who remains in residence after taking his degree, for the purpose of reading for a fellowship or acting as private tutor. He is always noted for superiority in scholarship.

Bristed refers to the bachelor scholars in the annexed extract. “Along the wall you see two tables, which, though less carefully provided than the Fellows’, are still served with tolerable decency and go through a regular second course instead of the ‘sizings.’ The occupants of the upper or inner table are men apparently from twenty-two to twenty-six years of age, and wear black gowns with two strings hanging loose in front. If this table has less state than the adjoining one of the Fellows, it has more mirth and brilliancy; many a good joke seems to be going the rounds. These are the Bachelors, most of them Scholars reading for Fellowships, and nearly all of them private tutors. Although Bachelors in Arts, they are considered, both as respects the College and the University, to be _in statu pupillari_ until they become M.A.’s. They pay a small sum in fees nominally for tuition, and are liable to the authority of that mighty man, the Proctor.” –_Five Years in an Eng. Univ._, Ed. 2d, p. 20.

BACHELORSHIP. The state of one who has taken his first degree in a university or college.–_Webster_.

BACK-LESSON. A lesson which has not been learned or recited; a lesson which has been omitted.

In a moment you may see the yard covered with hurrying groups, some just released from metaphysics or the blackboard, and some just arisen from their beds where they have indulged in the luxury of sleeping over,–a luxury, however, which is sadly diminished by the anticipated necessity of making up _back-lessons_.–_Harv. Reg._, p. 202.

BALBUS. At Yale College, this term is applied to Arnold’s Latin Prose Composition, from the fact of its so frequent occurrence in that work. If a student wishes to inform his fellow-student that he is engaged on Latin Prose Composition, he says he is studying _Balbus_. In the first example of this book, the first sentence reads, “I and Balbus lifted up our hands,” and the name Balbus appears in almost every exercise.

BALL UP. At Middlebury College, to fail at recitation or examination.

BANDS. Linen ornaments, worn by professors and clergymen when officiating; also by judges, barristers, &c., in court. They form a distinguishing mark in the costume of the proctors of the English universities, and at Cambridge, the questionists, on admission to their degrees, are by the statutes obliged to appear in them.–_Grad. ad Cantab._

BANGER. A club-like cane or stick; a bludgeon. This word is one of the Yale vocables.

The Freshman reluctantly turned the key, Expecting a Sophomore gang to see,
Who, with faces masked and _bangers_ stout, Had come resolved to smoke him out.
_Yale Lit. Mag._, Vol. XX. p. 75.

BARBER. In the English universities, the college barber is often employed by the students to write out or translate the impositions incurred by them. Those who by this means get rid of their impositions are said to _barberize_ them.

So bad was the hand which poor Jenkinson wrote, that the many impositions which he incurred would have kept him hard at work all day long; so he _barberized_ them, that is, handed them over to the college barber, who had always some poor scholars in his pay. This practice of barberizing is not uncommon among a certain class of men.–_Collegian’s Guide_, p. 155.

BARNEY. At Harvard College, about the year 1810, this word was used to designate a bad recitation. To _barney_ was to recite badly.

BARNWELL. At Cambridge, Eng., a place of resort for characters of bad report.

One of the most “civilized” undertook to banter me on my non-appearance in the classic regions of _Barnwell_.–_Bristed’s Five Years in an Eng. Univ._, Ed. 2d, p. 31.

BARRING-OUT SPREE. At Princeton College, when the students find the North College clear of Tutors, which is about once a year, they bar up the entrance, get access to the bell, and ring it.

In the “Life of Edward Baines, late M.P. for the Borough of Leeds,” is an account of a _barring-out_, as managed at the grammar school at Preston, England. It is related in Dickens’s Household Words to this effect. “His master was pompous and ignorant, and smote his pupils liberally with cane and tongue. It is not surprising that the lads learnt as much from the spirit of their master as from his preceptions and that one of those juvenile rebellions, better known as old than at present as a ‘_barring-out_,’ was attempted. The doors of the school, the biographer narrates, were fastened with huge nails, and one of the younger lads was let out to obtain supplies of food for the garrison. The rebellion having lasted two or three days, the mayor, town-clerk, and officers were sent for to intimidate the offenders. Young Baines, on the part of the besieged, answered the magisterial summons to surrender, by declaring that they would never give in, unless assured of full pardon and a certain length of holidays. With much good sense, the mayor gave them till the evening to consider; and on his second visit the doors were found open, the garrison having fled to the woods of Penwortham. They regained their respective homes under the cover of night, and some humane interposition averted the punishment they had deserved.”– Am. Ed. Vol. III. p. 415.

BATTEL. To stand indebted on the college books at Oxford for provisions and drink from the buttery.

Eat my commons with a good stomach, and _battled_ with discretion. –_Puritan_, Malone’s Suppl. 2, p. 543.

Many men “_battel_” at the rate of a guinea a week. Wealthier men, more expensive men, and more careless men, often “_battelled_” much higher.–_De Quincey’s Life and Manners_, p. 274.

Cotgrave says, “To _battle_ (as scholars do in Oxford) etre debteur an college pour ses vivres.” He adds, “Mot use seulement des jeunes ecoliers de l’universite d’Oxford.”

2. To reside at the university; to keep terms.–_Webster_.

BATTEL. Derived from the old monkish word _patella_, or _batella_, a plate. At Oxford, “whatsoever is furnished for dinner and for supper, including malt liquor, but not wine, as well as the materials for breakfast, or for any casual refreshment to country visitors, excepting only groceries,” is expressed by the word _battels_.–_De Quincey_.

I on the nail my _Battels_ paid,
The monster turn’d away dismay’d.
_The Student_, Vol. I. p. 115, 1750.

BATTELER, BATTLER. A student at Oxford who stands indebted, in the college books, for provisions and drink at the buttery.–_Webster_.

Halliwell, in his Dict. Arch. and Prov. Words, says, “The term is used in contradistinction to gentleman commoner.” In _Gent. Mag._, 1787, p. 1146, is the following:–“There was formerly at Oxford an order similar to the sizars of Cambridge, called _battelers_ (_batteling_ having the same signification as sizing). The _sizar_ and _batteler_ were as independent as any other members of the college, though of an inferior order, and were under no obligation to wait upon anybody.”

2. One who keeps terms, or resides at the University.–_Webster_.

BATTELING. At Oxford, the act of taking provisions from the buttery. Batteling has the same signification as SIZING at the University of Cambridge.–_Gent. Mag._, 1787, p. 1146.

_Batteling in a friend’s name_, implies eating and drinking at his expense. When a person’s name is _crossed in the buttery_, i.e. when he is not allowed to take any articles thence, he usually comes into the hall and battels for buttery supplies in a friend’s name, “for,” says the Collegian’s Guide, “every man can ‘take out’ an extra commons, and some colleges two, at each meal, for a visitor: and thus, under the name of a guest, though at your own table, you escape part of the punishment of being crossed.”–p. 158.

2. Spending money.

The business of the latter was to call us of a morning, to distribute among us our _battlings_, or pocket money, &c.–_Dicken’s Household Words_, Vol. I. p. 188.

BAUM. At Hamilton College, to fawn upon; to flatter; to court the favor of any one.

B.C.L. Abbreviated for _Baccalaureus Civilis Legis_, Bachelor in Civil Law. In the University of Oxford, a Bachelor in Civil Law must be an M.A. and a regent of three years’ standing. The exercises necessary to the degree are disputations upon two distinct days before the Professors of the Faculty of Law.

In the University of Cambridge, the candidate for this degree must have resided nine terms (equal to three years), and been on the boards of some College for six years, have passed the “previous examination,” attended the lectures of the Professor of Civil Law for three terms, and passed a _series_ of examinations in the subject of them; that is to say in General Jurisprudence, as illustrated by Roman and English law. The names of those who pass creditably are arranged in three classes according to merit.–_Lit. World_, Vol. XII. p. 284.

This degree is not conferred in the United States.

B.D. An abbreviation for _Baccalaureus Divinitatis_, Bachelor in Divinity. In both the English Universities a B.D. must be an M.A. of seven years’ standing, and at Oxford, a regent of the same length of time. The exercises necessary to the degree are at Cambridge one act after the fourth year, two opponencies, a clerum, and an English sermon. At Oxford, disputations are enjoined upon two distinct days before the Professors of the Faculty of Divinity, and a Latin sermon is preached before the Vice-Chancellor. The degree of Theologiae Baccalaureus was conferred at Harvard College on Mr. Leverett, afterwards President of that institution, in 1692, and on Mr. William Brattle in the same year, the only instances, it is believed, in which this degree has been given in America.

BEADLE, BEDEL, BEDELL. An officer in a university, whose chief business is to walk with a mace, before the masters, in a public procession; or, as in America, before the president, trustees, faculty, and students of a college, in a procession, at public commencements.–_Webster_.

In the English universities there are two classes of Bedels, called the _Esquire_ and the _Yeoman Bedel_.

Of this officer as connected with Yale College, President Woolsey speaks as follows:–“The beadle or his substitute, the vice-beadle (for the sheriff of the county came to be invested with the office), was the master of processions, and a sort of gentleman-usher to execute the commands of the President. He was a younger graduate settled at or near the College. There is on record a diploma of President Clap’s, investing with this office a graduate of three years’ standing, and conceding to him ‘omnia jura privilegia et auctoritates ad Bedelli officium, secundum collegiorum aut universitatum leges et consuetudines usitatas; spectantia.’ The office, as is well known, still exists in the English institutions of learning, whence it was transferred first to Harvard and thence to this institution.”–_Hist. Disc._, Aug., 1850, p. 43.

In an account of a Commencement at Williams College, Sept. 8, 1795, the order in which the procession was formed was as follows: “First, the scholars of the academy; second, students of college; third, the sheriff of the county acting as _Bedellus_,” &c.–_Federal Orrery_, Sept. 28, 1795.

The _Beadle_, by order, made the following declaration.–_Clap’s Hist. Yale Coll._, 1766, p. 56.

It shall be the duty of the Faculty to appoint a _College Beadle_, who shall direct the procession on Commencement day, and preserve order during the exhibitions.–_Laws Yale Coll._, 1837, p. 43.

BED-MAKER. One whose occupation is to make beds, and, as in colleges and universities, to take care of the students’ rooms. Used both in the United States and England.

T’ other day I caught my _bed-maker_, a grave old matron, poring very seriously over a folio that lay open upon my table. I asked her what she was reading? “Lord bless you, master,” says she, “who I reading? I never could read in my life, blessed be God; and yet I loves to look into a book too.”–_The Student_, Vol. I. p. 55, 1750.

I asked a _bed-maker_ where Mr. —-‘s chambers were.–_Gent. Mag._, 1795, p. 118.

While the grim _bed-maker_ provokes the dust, And soot-born atoms, which his tomes encrust. _The College.–A sketch in verse_, in _Blackwood’s Mag._, May, 1849.

The _bed-makers_ are the women who take care of the rooms: there is about one to each staircase, that is to say, to every eight rooms. For obvious reasons they are selected from such of the fair sex as have long passed the age at which they might have had any personal attractions. The first intimation which your bed-maker gives you is that she is bound to report you to the tutor if ever you stay out of your rooms all night.–_Bristed’s Five Years in an Eng. Univ._, Ed. 2d, p. 15.

BEER-COMMENT. In the German universities, the student’s drinking code.

The _beer-comment_ of Heidelberg, which gives the student’s code of drinking, is about twice the length of our University book of statutes.–_Lond. Quar. Rev._, Am. Ed., Vol. LXXIII. p. 56.

BEMOSSED HEAD. In the German universities, a student during the sixth and last term, or _semester_, is called a _Bemossed Head_, “the highest state of honor to which man can attain.”–_Howitt_.


BENE. Latin, _well_. A word sometimes attached to a written college exercise, by the instructor, as a mark of approbation.

When I look back upon my college life, And think that I one starveling _bene_ got. _Harvardiana_, Vol. III. p. 402.

BENE DISCESSIT. Latin; literally, _he has departed honorably_. This phrase is used in the English universities to signify that the student leaves his college to enter another by the express consent and approbation of the Master and Fellows.–_Gradus ad Cantab._

Mr. Pope being about to remove from Trinity to Emmanuel, by _Bene-Discessit_, was desirous of taking my rooms.–_Alma Mater_, Vol. I. p. 167.

BENEFICIARY. One who receives anything as a gift, or is maintained by charity.–_Blackstone_.

In American colleges, students who are supported on established foundations are called _beneficiaries_. Those who receive maintenance from the American Education Society are especially designated in this manner.

No student who is a college _beneficiary_ shall remain such any longer than he shall continue exemplary for sobriety, diligence, and orderly conduct.–_Laws of Univ. at Cam., Mass._, 1848, p. 19.

BEVER. From the Italian _bevere_, to drink. An intermediate refreshment between breakfast and dinner.–_Morison_.

At Harvard College, dinner was formerly the only meal which was regularly taken in the hall. Instead of breakfast and supper, the students were allowed to receive a bowl of milk or chocolate, with a piece of bread, from the buttery hatch, at morning and evening; this they could eat in the yard, or take to their rooms and eat there. At the appointed hour for _bevers_, there was a general rush for the buttery, and if the walking happened to be bad, or if it was winter, many ludicrous accidents usually occurred. One perhaps would slip, his bowl would fly this way and his bread that, while he, prostrate, afforded an excellent stumbling-block to those immediately behind him; these, falling in their turn, spattering with the milk themselves and all near them, holding perhaps their spoons aloft, the only thing saved from the destruction, would, after disentangling themselves from the mass of legs, arms, etc., return to the buttery, and order a new bowl, to be charged with the extras at the close of the term.

Similar in thought to this account are the remarks of Professor Sidney Willard concerning Harvard College in 1794, in his late work, entitled, “Memories of Youth and Manhood.” “The students who boarded in commons were obliged to go to the kitchen-door with their bowls or pitchers for their suppers, when they received their modicum of milk or chocolate in their vessel, held in one hand, and their piece of bread in the other, and repaired to their rooms to take their solitary repast. There were suspicions at times that the milk was diluted by a mixture of a very common tasteless fluid, which led a sagacious Yankee student to put the matter to the test by asking the simple carrier-boy why his mother did not mix the milk with warm water instead of cold. ‘She does,’ replied the honest youth. This mode of obtaining evening commons did not prove in all cases the most economical on the part of the fed. It sometimes happened, that, from inadvertence or previous preparation for a visit elsewhere, some individuals had arrayed themselves in their dress-coats and breeches, and in their haste to be served, and by jostling in the crowd, got sadly sprinkled with milk or chocolate, either by accident or by the stealthy indulgence of the mischievous propensities of those with whom they came in contact; and oftentimes it was a scene of confusion that was not the most pleasant to look upon or be engaged in. At breakfast the students were furnished, in Commons Hall, with tea, coffee, or milk, and a small loaf of bread. The age of a beaker of beer with a certain allowance of bread had expired.”–Vol. I. pp. 313, 314.

No scholar shall be absent above an hour at morning _bever_, half an hour at evening _bever_, &c.–_Quincy’s Hist. Harv. Univ._, Vol. I. p. 517.

The butler is not bound to stay above half an hour at _bevers_ in the buttery after the tolling of the bell.–_Ibid._, Vol. I. p. 584.

BEVER. To take a small repast between meals.–_Wallis_.

BIBLE CLERK. In the University of Oxford, the _Bible clerks_ are required to attend the service of the chapel, and to deliver in a list of the absent undergraduates to the officer appointed to enforce the discipline of the institution. Their duties are different in different colleges.–_Oxford Guide_.

A _Bible clerk_ has seldom too many friends in the University.–_Blackwood’s Mag._, Vol. LX., Eng. ed., p. 312.

In the University of Cambridge, Eng., “a very ancient scholarship, so called because the student who was promoted to that office was enjoined to read the Bible at meal-times.”–_Gradus ad Cantab._

BIENNIAL EXAMINATION. At Yale College, in addition to the public examinations of the classes at the close of each term, on the studies of the term, private examinations are also held twice in the college course, at the close of the Sophomore and Senior years, on the studies of the two preceding years. The latter are called _biennial_.–_Yale Coll. Cat._

“The _Biennial_,” remarks the writer of the preface to the _Songs of Yale_, “is an examination occurring twice during the course,–at the close of the Sophomore and of the Senior years,–in all the studies pursued during the two years previous. It was established in 1850.”–Ed. 1853, p. 4.

The system of examinations has been made more rigid, especially by the introduction of _biennials_.–_Centennial Anniversary of the Linonian Soc._, Yale Coll., 1853, p. 70.

Faculty of College got together one night, To have a little congratulation,
For they’d put their heads together and hatched out a load, And called it “_Bien. Examination_.”
_Presentation Day Songs_, June 14, 1854.

BIG-WIG. In the English universities, the higher dignitaries among the officers are often spoken of as the _big-wigs._

Thus having anticipated the approbation of all, whether Freshman, Sophomore, Bachelor, or _Big-Wig_, our next care is the choice of a patron.–_Pref._ to _Grad. ad Cantab._

BISHOP. At Cambridge, Eng., this beverage is compounded of port-wine mulled and burnt, with the addenda of roasted lemons and cloves.–_Gradus ad Cantab._

We’ll pass round the _Bishop_, the spice-breathing cup. _Will. Sentinel’s Poems_.

BITCH. Among the students of the University of Cambridge, Eng., a common name for tea.

The reading man gives no swell parties, runs very little into debt, takes his cup of _bitch_ at night, and goes quietly to bed. –_Grad. ad Cantab._, p. 131.

With the Queens-men it is not unusual to issue an “At home” Tea and Vespers, alias _bitch_ and _hymns_.–_Ibid., Dedication_.

BITCH. At Cambridge, Eng., to take or drink a dish of tea.

I followed, and, having “_bitched_” (that is, taken a dish of tea) arranged my books and boxes.–_Alma Mater_, Vol. I. p. 30.

I dined, wined, or _bitched_ with a Medallist or Senior Wrangler. –_Ibid._, Vol. II. p. 218.

A young man, who performs with great dexterity the honors of the tea-table, is, if complimented at all, said to be “an excellent _bitch_.”–_Gradus ad Cantab._, p. 18.

BLACK BOOK. In the English universities, a gloomy volume containing a register of high crimes and misdemeanors.

At the University of Goettingen, the expulsion of students is recorded on a _blackboard_.–_Gradus ad Cantab._

Sirrah, I’ll have you put in the _black book_, rusticated, expelled.–_Miller’s Humors of Oxford_, Act II. Sc. I.

All had reason to fear that their names were down in the proctor’s _black book_.–_Collegian’s Guide_, p. 277.

So irksome and borish did I ever find this early rising, spite of the health it promised, that I was constantly in the _black book_ of the dean.–_Alma Mater_, Vol. I. p. 32.


BLACK RIDING. At the College of South Carolina, it has until within a few years been customary for the students, disguised and painted black, to ride across the college-yard at midnight, on horseback, with vociferations and the sound of horns. _Black riding_ is recognized by the laws of the College as a very high offence, punishable with expulsion.

BLEACH. At Harvard College, he was formerly said to _bleach_ who preferred to be _spiritually_ rather than _bodily_ present at morning prayers.

‘T is sweet Commencement parts to reach, But, oh! ’tis doubly sweet to _bleach_. _Harvardiana_, Vol. III. p. 123.

BLOOD. A hot spark; a man of spirit; a rake. A word long in use among collegians and by writers who described them.

With some rakes from Boston and a few College _bloods_, I got very drunk.–_Monthly Anthology_, Boston, 1804, Vol. I. p. 154.

Indulgent Gods! exclaimed our _bloods_. _The Crayon_, Yale Coll., 1823, p. 15.

BLOOD. At some of the Western colleges this word signifies excellent; as, a _blood_ recitation. A student who recites well is said to _make a blood_.

BLOODEE. In the Farmer’s Weekly Museum, formerly printed at Walpole, N.H., appeared August 21, 1797, a poetic production, in which occurred these lines:–

Seniors about to take degrees,
Not by their wits, but by _bloodees_.

In a note the word _bloodee_ was thus described: “A kind of cudgel worn, or rather borne, by the bloods of a certain college in New England, 2 feet 5 inches in length, and 1-7/8 inch in diameter, with a huge piece of lead at one end, emblematical of its owner. A pretty prop for clumsy travellers on Parnassus.”

BLOODY. Formerly a college term for daring, rowdy, impudent.

Arriving at Lord Bibo’s study,
They thought they’d be a little _bloody_; So, with a bold, presumptuous look,
An honest pinch of snuff they took. _Rebelliad_, p. 44.

They roar’d and bawl’d, and were so _bloody_, As to besiege Lord Bibo’s study.

_Ibid._, p. 76.

BLOW. A merry frolic with drinking; a spree. A person intoxicated is said to be _blown_, and Mr. Halliwell, in his Dict. Arch. and Prov. Words, has _blowboll_, a drunkard.

This word was formerly used by students to designate their frolics and social gatherings; at present, it is not much heard, being supplanted by the more common words _spree_, _tight_, &c.

My fellow-students had been engaged at a _blow_ till the stagehorn had summoned them to depart.–_Harvard Register_, 1827-28, p. 172.

No soft adagio from the muse of _blows_, E’er roused indignant from serene repose. _Ibid._, p. 233.

And, if no coming _blow_ his thoughts engage, Lights candle and cigar.
_Ibid._, p. 235.

The person who engages in a blow is also called a _blow_.

I could see, in the long vista of the past, the many hardened _blows_ who had rioted here around the festive board.–_Collegian_, p. 231.

BLUE. In several American colleges, a student who is very strict in observing the laws, and conscientious in performing his duties, is styled a _blue_. “Our real delvers, midnight students,” says a correspondent from Williams College, “are called _blue_.”

I wouldn’t carry a novel into chapel to read, not out of any respect for some people’s old-womanish twaddle about the sacredness of the place,–but because some of the _blues_ might see you.–_Yale Lit. Mag._, Vol. XV. p. 81.

Each jolly soul of them, save the _blues_, Were doffing their coats, vests, pants, and shoes. _Yale Gallinipper_, Nov. 1848.

None ever knew a sober “_blue_”
In this “blood crowd” of ours.
_Yale Tomahawk_, Nov. 1849.

Lucian called him a _blue_, and fell back in his chair in a pouting fit.–_The Dartmouth_, Vol. IV. p. 118.

To acquire popularity,… he must lose his money at bluff and euchre without a sigh, and damn up hill and down the sober church-going man, as an out-and-out _blue_.–_The Parthenon, Union Coll._, 1851, p. 6.

BLUE-LIGHT. At the University of Vermont this term is used, writes a correspondent, to designate “a boy who sneaks about college, and reports to the Faculty the short-comings of his fellow-students. A _blue-light_ is occasionally found watching the door of a room where a party of jolly ones are roasting a turkey (which in justice belongs to the nearest farm-house), that he may go to the Faculty with the story, and tell them who the boys are.”

BLUES. The name of a party which formerly existed at Dartmouth College. In The Dartmouth, Vol. IV. p. 117, 1842, is the following:–“The students here are divided into two parties,–the _Rowes_ and the _Blues_. The Rowes are very liberal in their notions; the _Blues_ more strict. The Rowes don’t pretend to say anything worse of a fellow than to call him a Blue, and _vice versa_”


BLUE-SKIN. This word was formerly in use at some American colleges, with the meaning now given to the word BLUE, q.v.

I, with my little colleague here,
Forth issued from my cell,
To see if we could overhear,
Or make some _blue-skin_ tell.
_The Crayon_, Yale Coll., 1823, p. 22.

BOARD. The _boards_, or _college boards_, in the English universities, are long wooden tablets on which the names of the members of each college are inscribed, according to seniority, generally hung up in the buttery.–_Gradus ad Cantab. Webster_.

I gave in my resignation this time without recall, and took my name off the _boards_.–_Bristed’s Five Years in an Eng. Univ._, Ed. 2d, p. 291.

Similar to this was the list of students which was formerly kept at Harvard College, and probably at Yale. Judge Wingate, who graduated at the former institution in 1759, writes as follows in reference to this subject:–“The Freshman Class was, in my day at college, usually _placed_ (as it was termed) within six or nine months after their admission. The official notice of this was given by having their names written in a large German text, in a handsome style, and placed in a conspicuous part of the College Buttery, where the names of the four classes of undergraduates were kept suspended until they left College. If a scholar was expelled, his name was taken from its place; or if he was degraded (which was considered the next highest punishment to expulsion), it was moved accordingly.”–_Peirce’s Hist. Harv. Univ._, p. 311.

BOGS. Among English Cantabs, a privy.–_Gradus ad Cantab._

BOHN. A translation; a pony. The volumes of Bohn’s Classical Library are in such general use among undergraduates in American colleges, that _Bohn_ has come to be a common name for a translation.

‘Twas plenty of skin with a good deal of _Bohn_. _Songs, Biennial Jubilee_, Yale Coll., 1855.

BOLT. An omission of a recitation or lecture. A correspondent from Union College gives the following account of it:–“In West College, where the Sophomores and Freshmen congregate, when there was a famous orator expected, or any unusual spectacle to be witnessed in the city, we would call a ‘class meeting,’ to consider upon the propriety of asking Professor —- for a _bolt_. We had our chairman, and the subject being debated, was generally decided in favor of the remission. A committee of good steady fellows were selected, who forthwith waited upon the Professor, and, after urging the matter, commonly returned with the welcome assurance that we could have a _bolt_ from the next recitation.”

One writer defines a _bolt_ in these words:–“The promiscuous stampede of a class collectively. Caused generally by a few seconds’ tardiness of the Professor, occasionally by finding the lock of the recitation-room door filled with shot.”–_Sophomore Independent_, Union College, Nov. 1854.

The quiet routine of college life had remained for some days undisturbed, even by a single _bolt_.–_Williams Quarterly_, Vol. II. p. 192.

BOLT. At Union College, to be absent from a recitation, on the conditions related under the noun BOLT. Followed by _from_. At Williams College, the word is applied with a different signification. A correspondent writes: “We sometimes _bolt_ from a recitation before the Professor arrives, and the term most strikingly suggests the derivation, as our movements in the case would somewhat resemble a ‘streak of lightning,’–a thunder-_bolt_.”

BOLTER. At Union College, one who _bolts_ from a recitation.

2. A correspondent from the same college says: “If a student is unable to answer a question in the class, and declares himself unprepared, he also is a ‘_bolter_.'”

BONFIRE. The making of bonfires, by students, is not an unfrequent occurrence at many of our colleges, and is usually a demonstration of dissatisfaction, or is done merely for the sake of the excitement. It is accounted a high offence, and at Harvard College is prohibited by the following law:–“In case of a bonfire, or unauthorized fireworks or illumination, any students crying fire, sounding an alarm, leaving their rooms, shouting or clapping from the windows, going to the fire or being seen at it, going into the college yard, or assembling on account of such bonfire, shall be deemed aiding and abetting such disorder, and punished accordingly.”–_Laws_, 1848, _Bonfires_.

A correspondent from Bowdoin College writes: “Bonfires occur regularly twice a year; one on the night preceding the annual State Fast, and the other is built by the Freshmen on the night following the yearly examination. A pole some sixty or seventy feet long is raised, around which brush and tar are heaped to a great height. The construction of the pile occupies from four to five hours.”

Not ye, whom midnight cry ne’er urged to run In search of fire, when fire there had been none; Unless, perchance, some pump or hay-mound threw Its _bonfire_ lustre o’er a jolly crew. _Harvard Register_, p. 233.

BOOK-KEEPER. At Harvard College, students are allowed to go out of town on Saturday, after the exercises, but are required, if not at evening prayers, to enter their names before 10 P.M. with one of the officers appointed for that purpose. Students were formerly required to report themselves before 8 P.M., in winter, and 9, in summer, and the person who registered the names was a member of the Freshman Class, and was called the _book-keeper_.

I strode over the bridge, with a rapidity which grew with my vexation, my distaste for wind, cold, and wet, and my anxiety to reach my goal ere the hour appointed should expire, and the _book-keeper’s_ light should disappear from his window; “For while his light holds out to burn, The vilest sinner may return.”–_Collegian_, p. 225.


BOOK-WORK. Among students at Cambridge, Eng., all mathematics that can be learned verbatim from books,–all that are not problems.–_Bristed_.

He made a good fight of it, and … beat the Trinity man a little on the _book-work_.–_Bristed’s Five Years in an Eng. Univ._, Ed. 2d, p. 96.

The men are continually writing out _book-work_, either at home or in their tutor’s rooms.–_Ibid._, p. 149.

BOOT-FOX. This name was at a former period given, in the German universities, to a fox, or a student in his first half-year, from the fact of his being required to black the boots of his more advanced comrades.

BOOTLICK. To fawn upon; to court favor.

Scorns the acquaintance of those he deems beneath him; refuses to _bootlick_ men for their votes.–_The Parthenon_, Union Coll., Vol. I. p. 6.

The “Wooden Spoon” exhibition passed off without any such hubbub, except where the pieces were of such a character as to offend the delicacy and modesty of some of those crouching, fawning, _bootlicking_ hypocrites.–_The Gallinipper_, Dec. 1849.

BOOTLICKER. A student who seeks or gains favor from a teacher by flattery or officious civilities; one who curries favor. A correspondent from Union College writes: “As you watch the students more closely, you will perhaps find some of them particularly officious towards your teacher, and very apt to linger after recitation to get a clearer knowledge of some passage. They are _Bootlicks_, and that is known as _Bootlicking_; a reproach, I am sorry to say, too indiscriminately applied.” At Yale, and _other colleges_, a tutor or any other officer who informs against the students, or acts as a spy upon their conduct, is also called a _bootlick_.

Three or four _bootlickers_ rise.–_Yale Banger_, Oct. 1848.

The rites of Wooden Spoons we next recite, When _bootlick_ hypocrites upraised their might. _Ibid._, Nov. 1849.

Then he arose, and offered himself as a “_bootlick_” to the Faculty.–_Yale Battery_, Feb. 14, 1850.

BOOTS. At the College of South Carolina it is customary to present the most unpopular member of a class with a pair of handsome red-topped boots, on which is inscribed the word BEAUTY. They were formerly given to the ugliest person, whence the inscription.

BORE. A tiresome person or unwelcome visitor, who makes himself obnoxious by his disagreeable manners, or by a repetition of visits.–_Bartlett_.

A person or thing that wearies by iteration.–_Webster_.

Although the use of this word is very general, yet it is so peculiarly applicable to the many annoyances to which a collegian is subjected, that it has come by adoption to be, to a certain extent, a student term. One writer classes under this title “text-books generally; the Professor who marks _slight_ mistakes; the familiar young man who calls continually, and when he finds the door fastened demonstrates his verdant curiosity by revealing an inquisitive countenance through the ventilator.”–_Sophomore Independent_, Union College, Nov. 1854.

In college parlance, prayers, when the morning is cold or rainy, are a _bore_; a hard lesson is a _bore_; a dull lecture or lecturer is a _bore_; and, _par excellence_, an unwelcome visitor is a _bore_ of _bores_. This latter personage is well described in the following lines:–

“Next comes the bore, with visage sad and pale, And tortures you with some lugubrious tale; Relates stale jokes collected near and far, And in return expects a choice cigar;
Your brandy-punch he calls the merest sham, Yet does not _scruple_ to partake a _dram_. His prying eyes your secret nooks explore; No place is sacred to the college bore. Not e’en the letter filled with Helen’s praise, Escapes the sight of his unhallowed gaze; Ere one short hour its silent course has flown, Your Helen’s charms to half the class are known. Your books he takes, nor deigns your leave to ask, Such forms to him appear a useless task. When themes unfinished stare you in the face, Then enters one of this accursed race.
Though like the Angel bidding John to write, Frail —— form uprises to thy sight, His stupid stories chase your thoughts away, And drive you mad with his unwelcome stay. When he, departing, creaks the closing door, You raise the Grecian chorus, [Greek: kikkabau].”[02] _MS. Poem_, F.E. Felton, Harv. Coll.

BOS. At the University of Virginia, the desserts which the students, according to the statutes of college, are allowed twice per week, are respectively called the _Senior_ and _Junior Bos_.

BOSH. Nonsense, trash, [Greek: phluaria]. An English Cantab’s expression.–_Bristed_.

But Spriggins’s peculiar forte is that kind of talk which some people irreverently call “_bosh_.”–_Yale Lit. Mag._, Vol. XX. p. 259.

BOSKY. In the cant of the Oxonians, being tipsy.–_Grose_.

Now when he comes home fuddled, alias _Bosky_, I shall not be so unmannerly as to say his Lordship ever gets drunk.–_The Sizar_, cited in _Gradus ad Cantab._, pp. 20, 21.

BOWEL. At Harvard College, a student in common parlance will express his destitution or poverty by saying, “I have not a _bowel_.” The use of the word with this signification has arisen, probably, from a jocular reference to a quaint Scriptural expression.

BRACKET. At the University of Cambridge, Eng., the result of the final examination in the Senate-House is published in lists signed by the examiners. In these lists the names of those who have been examined are “placed in individual order of merit.” When the rank of two or three men is the same, their names are inclosed in _brackets_.

At the close of the course, and before the examination is concluded, there is made out a new arrangement of the classes called the _Brackets_. These, in which each is placed according to merit, are hung upon the pillars in the Senate-House.–_Alma Mater_, Vol. II. p. 93.

As there is no provision in the printed lists for expressing the number of marks by which each man beats the one next below him, and there may be more difference between the twelfth and thirteenth than between the third and twelfth, it has been proposed to extend the use of the _brackets_ (which are now only employed in cases of literal equality between two or three men), and put together six, eight, or ten, whose marks are nearly equal. –_Bristed’s Five Years in an Eng. Univ._, Ed. 2d, p. 227.

BRACKET. In a general sense, to place in a certain order.

I very early in the Sophomore year gave up all thoughts of obtaining high honors, and settled down contentedly among the twelve or fifteen who are _bracketed_, after the first two or three, as “English Orations.”–_Bristed’s Five Years in an Eng. Univ._, Ed. 2d, p. 6.

There remained but two, _bracketed_ at the foot of the class.–_Ibid._, p. 62.

The Trinity man who was _bracketed_ Senior Classic.–_Ibid._, p. 187.

BRANDER. In the German universities a name given to a student during his second term.

Meanwhile large tufts and strips of paper had been twisted into the hair of the _Branders_, as those are called who have been already one term at the University, and then at a given signal were set on fire, and the _Branders_ rode round the table on chairs, amid roars of laughter.–_Longfellow’s Hyperion_, p. 114.


BRAND-FOX. A student in a German university “becomes a _Brand-fuchs_, or fox with a brand, after the foxes of Samson,” in his second half-year.–_Howitt_.

BRICK. A gay, wild, thoughtless fellow, but not so _hard_ as the word itself might seem to imply.

He is a queer fellow,–not so bad as he seems,–his own enemy, but a regular _brick_.–_Collegian’s Guide_, p. 143.

He will come himself (public tutor or private), like a _brick_ as he is, and consume his share of the generous potables.–_Bristed’s Five Years in an Eng. Univ._, Ed. 2d, p. 78.


BRICK MILL. At the University of Vermont, the students speak of the college as the _Brick Mill_, or the _Old Brick Mill_.

BUCK. At Princeton College, anything which is in an intensive degree good, excellent, pleasant, or agreeable, is called _buck_.

BULL. At Dartmouth College, to recite badly; to make a poor recitation. From the substantive _bull_, a blunder or contradiction, or from the use of the word as a prefix, signifying large, lubberly, blundering.

BULL-DOG. In the English universities, the lictor or servant who attends a proctor when on duty.

Sentiments which vanish for ever at the sight of the proctor with his _bull-dogs_, as they call them, or four muscular fellows which always follow him, like so many bailiffs.–_Westminster Rev._, Am. Ed., Vol. XXXV. p. 232.

The proctors, through their attendants, commonly called _bull-dogs_, received much certain information, &c.–_Collegian’s Guide_, p. 170.

And he had breathed the proctor’s _dogs_. _Tennyson, Prologue to Princess_.

BULLY CLUB. The following account of the _Bully Club_, which was formerly a most honored transmittendum at Yale College, is taken from an entertaining little work, entitled Sketches of Yale College. “_Bullyism_ had its origin, like everything else that is venerated, far back in antiquity; no one pretends to know the era of its commencement, nor to say with certainty what was the cause of its establishment, or the original design of the institution. We can only learn from dim and doubtful tradition, that many years ago, no one knows how many, there was a feud between students and townsmen: a sort of general ill-feeling, which manifested itself in the lower classes of society in rudeness and insult. Not patiently borne with, it grew worse and worse, until a regular organization became necessary for defence against the nightly assaults of a gang of drunken rowdies. Nor were their opponents disposed to quit the unequal fight. An organization in opposition followed, and a band of tipsy townsmen, headed by some hardy tars, took the field, were met, no one knows whether in offence or defence, and after a fight repulsed, and a huge knotty club wrested from their leader. This trophy of personal courage was preserved, the organization perpetuated, and the _Bully Club_ was every year, with procession and set form of speech, bestowed upon the newly acknowledged leader. But in process of time the organization has assumed a different character: there was no longer need of a system of defence,–the “Bully” was still acknowledged as class leader. He marshalled all processions, was moderator of all meetings, and performed the various duties of a chief. The title became now a matter of dispute; it sounded harsh and rude to ears polite, and a strong party proposed a change: but the supporters of antiquity pleaded the venerable character of the customs identified almost with the College itself. Thus the classes were divided, a part electing a marshal, class-leader, or moderator, and a part still choosing a _bully_ and _minor bully_–the latter usually the least of their number–from each class, and still bestowing on them the wonted clubs, mounted with gold, the badges of their office.

“Unimportant as these distinctions seem, they formed the ground of constant controversy, each party claiming for its leader the precedence, until the dissensions ended in a scene of confusion too well known to need detail: the usual procession on Commencement day was broken up, and the partisans fell upon each other pell-mell; scarce heeding, in their hot fray, the orders of the Faculty, the threats of the constables, or even the rebuke of the chief magistrate of the State; the alumni were left to find their seats in church as they best could, the aged and beloved President following in sorrow, unescorted, to perform the duties of the day. It need not be told that the disputes were judicially ended by a peremptory ordinance, prohibiting all class organizations of any name whatever.”

A more particular account of the Bully Club, and of the manner in which the students of Yale came to possess it, is given in the annexed extract.

“Many years ago, the farther back towards the Middle Ages the better, some students went out one evening to an inn at Dragon, as it was then called, now the populous and pretty village of Fair Haven, to regale themselves with an oyster supper, or for some other kind of recreation. They there fell into an affray with the young men of the place, a hardy if not a hard set, who regarded their presence there, at their own favorite resort, as an intrusion. The students proved too few for their adversaries. They reported the matter at College, giving an aggravated account of it, and, being strongly reinforced, went out the next evening to renew the fight. The oystermen and sailors were prepared for them. A desperate conflict ensued, chiefly in the house, above stairs and below, into which the sons of science entered pell-mell. Which came off the worse, I neither know nor care, believing defeat to be far less discreditable to either party, and especially to the students, than the fact of their engaging in such a brawl. Where the matter itself is essentially disgraceful, success or failure is indifferent, as it regards the honor of the actors. Among the Dragoners, a great bully of a fellow, who appeared to be their leader, wielded a huge club, formed from an oak limb, with a gnarled excrescence on the end, heavy enough to battle with an elephant. A student remarkable for his strength in the arms and hands, griped the fellow so hard about the wrist that his fingers opened, and let the club fall. It was seized, and brought off as a trophy. Such is the history of the Bully Club. It became the occasion of an annual election of a person to take charge of it, and to act as leader of the students in case of a quarrel between them, and others. ‘Bully’ was the title of this chivalrous and high office.”–_Scenes and Characters in College_, New Haven, 1847, pp. 215, 216.

BUMPTIOUS. Conceited, forward, pushing. An English Cantab’s expression.–_Bristed_.

About nine, A.M., the new scholars are announced from the chapel gates. On this occasion it is not etiquette for the candidates themselves to be in waiting,–it looks too “_bumptious_.”–_Bristed’s Five Years in an Eng. Univ._, Ed. 2d, p. 193.

BURIAL OF EUCLID. “The custom of bestowing burial honors upon the ashes of Euclid with becoming demonstrations of respect has been handed down,” says the author of the Sketches of Yale College, “from time immemorial.” The account proceeds as follows:–“This book, the terror of the dilatory and unapt, having at length been completely mastered, the class, as their acquaintance with the Greek mathematician is about to close, assemble in their respective places of meeting, and prepare (secretly for fear of the Faculty) for the anniversary. The necessary committee having been appointed, and the regular preparations ordered, a ceremony has sometimes taken place like the following. The huge poker is heated in the old stove, and driven through the smoking volume, and the division, marshalled in line, for _once_ at least see _through_ the whole affair. They then march over it in solemn procession, and are enabled, as they step firmly on its covers, to assert with truth that they have gone over it,–poor jokes indeed, but sufficient to afford abundant laughter. And then follow speeches, comical and pathetic, and shouting and merriment. The night assigned having arrived, how carefully they assemble, all silent, at the place appointed. Laid on its bier, covered with sable pall, and borne in solemn state, the corpse (i.e. the book)