Friday, June 11, 2010


View from the outside of Christ Church College, 2007

Tom Quad at Christ Church College, 2004

View from a punt (darling Oxford boy doing the punting), 2004

In anticipation of my trip to Oxford later this summer (to attend the Oxford Experience) I have just re-read Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers. I've mentioned before how much I enjoy Dorothy Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey (more like major crush). The story takes place at Shrewsbury College, a small women's college at Oxford. Shrewsbury is fictional but is based on Sayers' Alma Mater, Somerville.

All of this Oxford talk got me thinking of the jargon unique to British schools and in some cases to Oxford itself. Here are a few of my favorites:

Oxford College Idioms

Bursar - School's administrative money person

Buttery - pantry for drinks/food

Porter - One in charge of the gate or door (usually wears a bowler hat, quite dashing)

Scout - A student's housekeeper at Oxford (we get our own for the week we are on campus)

Don - Professor at Oxford (only)

High Table - The dining table for the Dons or Fellows dine. It is normally slightly raised above the other tables. Picture the Hogwarts dining hall--the high table is where Head Master Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall are seated.

While I'm there enjoying my class English Country Houses, I will be all-ears for more Oxford idioms to bring back to work into my vocabulary. Click here for my personal experience at Oxford (2004 and 2007).


  1. "Don" isn't that a mafia term?

    Looks so lovely. I would love to go there someday.

  2. I am counting the,,, sec...I can't wait!