In American parlance, a freshman, first year, or frosh, is a person in the first year at an educational institution, usually a secondary or post-secondary school.

Arab world

In much of the Arab world, a first-year is called a "Ebtidae" (Pl. Mubtadeen), which is Arabic for "beginner".[1]


In Brazil, students that pass the vestibulares and begin studying in a college or university are called "calouros" or more informally "bixos" ("bixetes" for girls), an alternate spelling of "bicho", which means "animal". Calouros are often subject to hazing, which is known as "trote" (lit. "prank") there. The first known hazing episode in Brazil happened in 1831 at the Law School of Olinda and resulted in the death of a student.[2] In 1999, a Chinese Brazilian calouro of the University of São Paulo Medicine School named Edison Tsung Chi Hsueh was found dead at the institution's swimming pool; this has since become one of the most well known episodes of violent hazing and has received extensive national media coverage since that year.[2][3][4][5]


In Scotland, the first year of compulsory education is Primary 1 (P1). The first year of secondary school is known as S1 but one can freely use first year.

Preceded by
Primary 7
First year
Succeeded by
Second year

At the four ancient Scottish universities the traditional names for the four years at university are Bejan ("Bejant" at the University of St Andrews)(1st),[6] Semi (2nd), Tertian (3rd) and Magistrand (4th), though all Scottish universities will have a "freshers' week" (as with all British universities) and the term is as widely used with more traditional terms.[7]

United States

Freshman is commonly in use as a US English idiomatic term to describe a beginner or novice, someone who is naive, a first effort, instance, or a student in the first year of study (generally referring to high school or university study).[8]

New members of Congress in their first term are referred to as freshmen senators or freshmen congressmen or congresswomen, no matter how experienced they were in previous government positions.

High school first year students are almost exclusively referred to as freshmen, or in some cases by their grade year, 9th graders. Second year students are sophomores, or 10th graders, then juniors or 11th graders, and finally seniors or 12th graders.

At college or university, freshman denotes students in their first year of study. The grade designations of high school are not used, but the terms sophomore, junior, and senior are kept at most schools. Some colleges, including historically women's colleges, do not use the term freshman but use first year, instead.[9][10] Beyond the fourth year, students are simply classified as fifth year, sixth year, etc. Some institutions use the term freshman for specific reporting purposes.[11]

See also


  2. Nadai, Mariana. "Quais foram os trotes mais cruéis do Brasil?". Mundo Estranho (in Portuguese). Grupo Abril. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  3. Toledo, Roberto Pompeu de (30 April 1999). "Tolerância zero, o remédio para o trote". Veja (in Portuguese). Grupo Abril. Archived from the original on 18 February 2009. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  4. "Calouro morre afogado em trote na USP". Terra (in Portuguese). Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  5. Oliveira, Mariana (6 June 2013). "STF mantém absolvição de 4 pela morte de calouro da USP em 1999". G1 (in Portuguese). Brasília: Grupo Globo. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  6. "Bejan". 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica. 3.
  7. Grant, Alexander, Sir (1884). The story of the University of Edinburgh during its first three hundred years (Vol. 2). London: Longmans, Green, and co. p. 479. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  8. Random House, Inc. (2006). "freshman". Retrieved 12 August 2007.
  9. Huffpost College (2012). "UNC Drops 'Freshman' From School Vocabulary In Favor Of 'First-Year,' Media Controversy Ensues". Retrieved 15 June 2016.
  10. Student Admissions Representatives (2010). "Meet Our Student Representatives". New College of Florida. Retrieved 19 December 2010.
  11. Office of the Registrar (2006). "Glossary of Reporting Terms". University of Wisconsin–Madison. Retrieved 12 August 2007.

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