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Greek Terms

Greek Alphabet


Greek Glossary

Affiliate: to join with an organization. A local sorority may choose to affiliate with a National sorority if the opportunity arises. a member who switches schools may also affiliate with the chapter at his/her new school.

Badge: Also known as a pin, it is an item of jewelry given to members upon initiation. The badge is to be worn at all official functions, and upon a members death it should be returned to the sorority or fraternity headquarters. The badge must be worn with business-like attire, usually over the heart and above all other pins.


Bid: An invitation to join a sorority or fraternity. They are given out on Bid Day during formal recruitment.


Bid Day: The last day of recruitment in which potential new members receive formal invitations to join a sorority or fraternity.


Big: Nickname for a big sister or brother. A mentor assigned to a new member.


Brother: Term that fraternity members call one another.


Chapter: A branch of a sorority or fraternity, established at a campus. Each chapter has their own name, usually designated by Greek Letters.


Chapter House/Room: A location on or near campus where members of the organization live.


Chapter Meeting: A weekly meeting held to discuss organization business.


Charter: Permission granted by the college to have a chapter affiliated with that campus. Holds significant importance for the survival of the organization.


Colors: The official pair or triad of colors that represent a specific Greek organization. The colors typically have a hidden meaning behind them.


Crest: Insignia used by sorority and fraternity members. Each crest has hidden, secret meanings behind the symbols used that only initiated members are privy to.


Depledge: The process where a pledge elects or is asked to stop pledging.


Dues: The amount a member must pay per calendar year. Used to cover the costs of operation, formal events and other activities.


Expansion: When a organization is looking to expand and open a chapter at another school.


Family: Multiple generations of big/little sisters/brothers brought together to form a family line.


Founders Day: An event celebrated by sororities and fraternities to highlight the founding of their organization and celebrate its history. Not necessarily held on the day the organization was founded.


Frat: A nickname for a fraternity that is generally offensive and should not be used.


Fraternity: Most commonly refers to a Greek organization for men. Many co-ed organizations and sororities are officially named fraternities as well.


Greek: Not the nationality. In this sense it means a member of a sorority or fraternity organization.


Greek Week: An organized week of activities between all Greek houses on a campus.


GLO: Greek Letter Organization, a sorority of fraternity that utilizes the Greek alphabet letters in representing their name.


Hazing: Any act performed by a member of any GLO that is likely to cause harm, danger, public embarrassment, compromise's a persons dignity, causes the person to be the object of ridicule, cause psychological harm or is illegal. Hazing is against the law in all states.


House: A GLO's physical facility.


House Mom: Traditionally a person hired to live in the chapter house and supervise the chapter members. May also be an alumnae member of the organization that oversees chapter activities.


Independent: Term for a student that isn't a member of a GLO. Often termed a GDI.


In House: A member that lives in the chapter house.

In House Legacy: A potential new member who has a sibling who is currently an active member of the organization.


Initiate: A person who has recently learned the ritual of the sorority or fraternity and is a full member.


Initiation: A ceremony where a new member becomes a full member of the organization. Initiation ceremonies are private and different for all organizations.


Lavaliere: A necklace with the sorority letters, often worn by members.


Legacy: The daughter, son or brother/sister of an initiated or alum member. Some organizations also include grandchildren or step children. Sorority rules sometimes dictate that she cannot be cut from the first round of parties, but in no way are legacies guaranteed a bid from the organization they are a legacy to.


Letters: The first Greek letter of each Greek work that makes up the name of the organization.


Little/Lil': A nickname for a Big's new member that they mentor.


Local: A GLO which is not part of a national organization. Locals may have one chapter or several.


Mascot: A symbol, usually an animal, chosen to represent a GLO. Many organizations have symbols and mascots.


Mixer: A party between two or more houses.


National: A organization that is governed by a National organization. Many are governed by the NPHC (National Pan-Hellenic Council).


Neophyte: A new member. Also called a Neo. They have completed the initiation process (pledging) but have yet to put through another class of members. They have all rights and privileges associated with membership.


Open Motto: A short phrase that describes the purpose or outlook of the organization and is available for all to read. Many organizations also have a Creed or Purpose in addition to a private motto that only initiated members know.


Philanthropy: A charity or fundraiser that the organization supports.


Pinning: Term for a fraternity member giving his pin to his girlfriend as a pre-engagment.


Pledge: A female or male that is trying to gain membership into the organization.


Pledge Class: A group of pledges that go through the new member program together. Typically designated as Fall or Spring semester followed by Class year.


Pledge Pin: A distinctive badge worn on the chest designating a person pledging the organization. Most organizations require the new member to return the pledge pin at initiation in exchange for their membership badge.


Retreat: A trip or sleep-over where the sorority members bond and get to know each other.


Ritual: A secret ceremony of a GLO. The elements used are sacred to the organization and have been handed down through the years.


Rush: The process where sororities and fraternities seek new members. Also called Recruitment.


Rushee: A potential new member.


Sister: Term that sorority members call one another.


Sorority: A Greek organization for women.

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