Greek Life Glossary

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Ace– The first person in a line. See line and strolling 

Active Member– A fully initiated member of a fraternity or sorority. 

Alumni Chapter– former active/collegian members of a fraternity or sorority that join as alumni members. 

Alumnus/Alumna– An initiated fraternity/sorority member who is no longer an undergraduate. 

Anchor– The last person in a line; also known as tail. See line and strolling 

Badge/Pin– An item of jewelry given to members upon initiation. The badge is to be worn at all official functions, and upon a member's death, it should be returned to the sorority or fraternity headquarters. It is typically worn above all other pins and over the heart. 

Bid– A formal invitation to join a fraternity or sorority 

Big– Nickname for big brother or big sister in a fraternity or sorority. See Greek family 

Chapter Advisory Board– A group of alumni who assist active members in their executive board positions and chapter endeavors. 

Chapter House– A house around campus that houses members of the Greek chapter. Not all campuses have chapter houses and not all Greek chapters have houses. 

Chapter Meeting– Meetings held on a regular basis to discuss chapter business.  

Continuous Open Bidding (C.O.B.)– A policy where sororities are able, any time after formal recruitment, to invite potential new members to pledge their organization. There is no special registration.  

Crest– Insignia used by fraternity or sorority members. Most Greek organizations reserve the crest for initiated members only. Each crest has hidden, secret meanings behind it. Also known as a coat of arms or shield. 

Crossed– The date on which an associate member crossed into a fraternity or sorority to become an active member. Usually, a term used in culturally centered Greek organizations. 

Depledge/Drop– The process where a new member elects or is asked to relinquish membership during their process/initiation period. Those who depledge a Greek organization before initiation may not begin a process with another one for one full calendar year. If a member is initiated and then drops, they are never allowed to join another Greek organization. 

Dues– The monetary fees that members are required to pay to uphold membership of a Greek organization.  

Formal Recruitment– The formal process in which undergraduate students join a Panhellenic Council sorority.  

Founders Day– An event celebrated by fraternities and sororities to highlight the founding of their organization and celebrate its history. It’s not necessarily held on the day the organization was founded. 

Fraternity– a group of people, known as a brotherhood, sharing a common profession or interests. 

Greek family– The family tree of all great grand bigs, grand bigs, bigs, littles, grand littles, etc.  

House Director/House Mom/House Manager– A person who is hired to live in a sorority or fraternity chapter house to help advise them.  

Informal Recruitment– Where sororities use C.O.B. to recruit new members. 

Interfraternity Council (IFC)– A Greek council comprised of 57 intercollegiate social fraternities. 

Line– An NPHC term somewhat equal to a pledge/new member class. They are new members of the organization. Lines are often given names. 

Legacy– The child or sibling of an individual who is currently or previously an active member in a sorority or fraternity.  

Letters– The The first Greek letter of each Greek word in the organizations name.  

Multicultural Greek Council (MGC)– Greek council comprised of 12 multicultural sororities and fraternities. 

National Pan–Hellenic Council (NPHC)– A Greek council comprised of the nine historically African American sororities and fraternities that are also known as the “Divine Nine” or “D9” greek organizations 

New Member– A member of a sorority or fraternity that is not fully initiated 

Order of Omega– A Greek life honors society for those with outstanding leadership and academics.  

Panhellenic Council (PHC)– A Greek council that is nationally comprised of 26 social sororities. 

Pledge– A new member to a fraternity that has not yet been initiated. 

Potential New Member (PNM)– prospective individuals that active members are interested in potentially bidding 

Probate– The coming out or reveal of newly initiated or soon to be initiated members. This is presented by NPHC and MGC chapters only.  

Rush– The formal process in which undergraduate students join an Interfraternity Council fraternity. 

Snap bid– A bid given to a PNM who was not placed during bid matching. The PNM would be on the sorority’s list, but that PNM did not list the sorority on her bid card. Some schools will allow a person who had to drop out of recruitment to receive a snap bid. 

Soror– Another term used for “sister”; this is a term used by NPHC sorority members to acknowledge one another. Rarely used among NPC sororities. 

Sorority– a group of people, known as a sisterhood, sharing a common profession or interests. 

Stepping– a form of percussive dance in which the participant’s entire body is used as an instrument to produce complex rhythms and sounds through a mixture of footsteps and handclaps. 

Stroll(ing)– Also known as ‘party walk(ing)’ is an energetic, synchronized dance. Typically, NPHC Organizational members move together in a line expressing pride for their organization. In this line, members may express their pride through use of their organization’s call, sign or historical information, ritual/custom dances, etc. All of this is done through movements that are unique to a particular organization. It is also important to know that emulating or cutting in/through the line is considered a sign of disrespect. 

Suicide Bid– When a potential new member only lists one sorority in all places on their bid matching card. 

Surfacing– The first public appearance of a line. 

Sweetheart– Sorority/fraternity member or non–Greek affiliated individual chosen and voted on to serve as a sweetheart of a fraternity or sorority. These people are usually chosen because of the work they have put in to help better the organization. 


Contact Us

Fraternity and Sorority Life
Holmes Student Center
Organization and Student Involvement Suite
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