UF Terminology & Slang

American college students speak colorful, idiomatic English that may be quite different from the vocabulary studied in the classroom. Foreign English speakers may be confused at times by the combination of slang, technical words, and academic terms that characterize campus conversation.

There are too many slang words to thoroughly list here (some we won't mention at all!) but the following is a short list of some of the words and expressions you may hear from American students. Most importantly, if you hear something and you do not understand what has been said, don't be afraid to ask someone the meaning of a particular word or phrase.

Academic/Campus Terms

  • A College: A division of the University where a group of related academic departments are administered as a unit by a Dean (i.e. College of Business).
  • An exam: A test or examination on which students usually receive a grade.  Larger than a Quiz.
  • A quiz: A short test.
  • Drop/Add: The process of withdrawing from some courses and adding others to your class schedule during the first few days of the semester.
  • Feedback: A response or reaction to a change or event. "The issue assigned for homework was very controversial. There will be a lot of negative feedback on it."
  • Finals: Final examinations given at the end of the semester.
  • Gators: The nickname of the school's athletic team and UF students in general. The alligator, or 'gator', is the school's mascot. "Go Gators!"
  • Homecoming: A University of Florida festival held in late October or early November, coinciding with a home football game. Classes are cancelled the Friday of Homecoming week.
  • I.D.: Identification card. You'll need to show your student I.D. to check out a library book or when using a credit card.
  • Incomplete: An "I" notation appears on a transcript in place of a grade if a student is unable to complete the class requirements and needs more time to finish. It becomes an "E" (or failing grade) if the student doesn't complete the work by the following semester.
  • Mid-term: An examination given in the middle of the semester.
  • To petition: The process of making a formal request for a change in some academic regulations applied to you. "I had to petition to drop that class."
  • Seminar: A small class involving open discussion among the students and professor.
  • Registrar's office: The Office of the University Registrar maintains the offical records of all coursework taken and final grades obtained. This office issues offical transcripts for all students. UF's Registrar's Office is located in Criser Hall.
  • Term paper: A research report written for a class.
  • To withdraw: To voluntarily resign from the University or from a particular course.

Other terms/phrases frequently used by college students

  • Burned out: To be exhausted and lacking enthusiasm. "After exams, I feel totally burned out."
  • Bucks: Dollars. "You can save a couple of bucks by buying something on sale."
  • Guts: Courage. "It takes guts to register for 18 credit hours!"
  • Into: Intense enthusiasm for something. "She's really into playing tennis."
  • Jerk: An obnoxious person. "He's a real jerk!"
  • Jock: An athlete.
  • On the ball: Alert, quick to respond. "You must be on the ball if you get a good grade in that class."
  • To rip off: To steal or cheat. "Someone ripped off his bike."
  • Take out: To order food from a restaurant but pick it up and take it home rather than eat it in the restaurant. (Almost the same as "to go").
  • To go: To order fast food and take it "to go" instead of eating it at the restaurant.
  • Adios:  (Ah-Dee-os) Spanish for “Bye”.
  • Hang out: Friends gather and spend time together.  “Hey, let’s hang out later and watch a movie.”
  • French Fries: The yellow sculpture located near the Marston Library. "I'll meet you at the French Fries at 6pm."
  • The Potato: Oddly shaped rock located near Turlington Hall. "I'll meet you at the Potato at noon."
  • Plaza: The Park in front of the Library West and Smathers Library that is called the "Plaza of the Americas." "I'm going to eat lunch on the Plaza."
  • To flunk: To fail a test or subject. "I flunked English."
  • To cram: Frantic effort to learn neglected lessons right before a test. "I crammed all night for that exam."
  • Greeks: Members of organizations called fraternities (for men) and sororities (for women).
  • To hit the books: To study. "I can't go out tonight. I've got to hit the books."
  • What is your ZIP? "What is your ZIP code?" ZIP Codes are a system of postal codes used by the United States Postal Service (USPS). The term ZIP is an acronym for Zone Improvement Plan.