The Telegraph
Tuesday , May 22 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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It is always interesting to follow the trends in college and job slang. There is also another category of “slang” used by senior and top management. But you can't call that slang. They become the subject matter of books by academics a year down the line. But the living slang in graduate school and entry-level jobs tells us a lot about the economic environment of the times.

In the US, people who expect to join the workforce this year are a very worried lot. Even at the top B-schools, nobody is quite sure they will get a job. They are even less confident of getting a job of their choice. The gap year — which is normally after you complete your degree — has seen a sudden increase in numbers. A lot of students are coming to India and China to spend a year with an NGO, or as an intern with an Indian company, or simply backpacking.

Incidentally, the gap year has an avatar in India too. According to Wikipedia, it is called the drop year and is the time spent in coaching classes preparing for a competitive exam. Even in a gap year, Indians don’t know how to enjoy themselves. Understandably, their propensity for slang — which is informal and fun — is not well developed.

What’s alive and kicking in US colleges today? According to the College Slang Guide at, the hot terms include:

Alpha Greek: A student who rules the Greek system of the college.

Alpha Greek: The person in a group displaying the most experience and knowledge, especially with respect to technology.

Antler Festival: A party in which there are more men than women attending.

Bag monster: A student who sleeps all day in the dorm room.

Biohazard: Anything in your dorm room that has not been cleaned all semester.

Cash cow: An ATM.

Copy jocks: Students who hog the copier in the library.

To frontload: To eat or drink before a party begins.

Sexiled : Being kicked out of your dorm room while your roommate has a friend over.

Pizza pirate: A person who doesn’t contribute to the cost of a pizza.

Horizontal engineering : Sleeping.If you are sexiled, don't be too sure that your roommate is into horizontal engineering in company. He may be just a bag monster; the biohazards will tell you.

Where have the fun terms gone? Where is da bomb (the best)? Dormcest (hooking up with somebody who lives in your dorm)? Business Class (the lady with the fat bum)?

Some have eloped to the job world. The Words of Work include examples like eyeservice (working only when the boss is watching), inemuri (the power nap; from the Japanese sleeping while present), and zero drag (a no-spouse, no-children way of life). Job slang, according to the pundits, is getting younger while college slang is getting older. And there are clear signs of many crossovers.

One reason: in a dismal economic environment, many jobholders are quitting to go back to school.

It will take some time to analyse the slang in India along similar lines. The country has too many languages and too much variety. If you end up in a common destination like the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (IIMC), you will realise that the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi and the Indian Institute of Technology Chennai cannot understand each other.

There is another problem. A couple of years ago, The Telegraph published an article on slang at IIMC. It hasn’t changed at all for 25 years. When things are static, the only message is that the institute is moribund. There are no fatrus left, only fundoos.