Student Involvement and Leadership Center

Greek Dictionary

photo of students outside on campus

Alumnae/Alumni: Initiated members who graduated or who are no longer in college. Some organizations confer this status after an initiate has been a member for four or more years. Alumna/alumnae refers to women and alumnus/alumni refers to men.

Badge: The pin of an initiated member indicating membership in a fraternity or sorority.

Bid: A formal invitation to pledge or associate with a fraternity or a sorority.

Bid Matching: Procedure utilized during women's formal recruitment. At the conclusion, each participant (potential new member) has the opportunity to submit a prioritized choice of sororities she would like to join. Each sorority also submits a prioritized list of women to whom they are interested in extending a bid. A computerized process is used to match the priorities of both. Every potential new member may not receive her first choice as there is a maximum on the number of bids allowed (see Quota).

Big Brother/Big Sister: An active member of a fraternity or sorority who serves as a mentor to a new member, guiding them through their new member program and initiation.

Brother: Term used when referring to another member of the fraternity.

Call: A yell used mostly by NPHC organizations, although some NIC, NPC, and local organizations have calls as well. Used to identify and greet brothers and sisters.

Chapter: The local group of an (inter)national fraternal organization.

Charter: The document issued from a headquarters to a chapter indicating the group is a full-fledged member of the national or international organization.

Chapter Total: The allowable chapter size for Panhellenic sororities, as determined by the Panhellenic Council.

Class or New Member Class: A term used to name new members of a Panhellenic Council or Interfraternity Council organization who all joined during the same semester.

Colony: A group of students seeking a charter from a headquarters to a chapter indicating the group is a full-fledged member of the national or international organization.

Crest: Insignia used by sorority and fraternity 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.

Crossing: Ceremony during which new members of the IGC and NPHC Greek organizations become active, life-long members of their organization.

Depledge: The process of terminating one’s membership after initiation.

Dues: The monetary costs of membership in a fraternity or sorority. These fees are used to cover the costs of operation, formal events, social activities, and other events, depending on the organization.

Formal Recruitment: The period set aside for structured recruiting. At Wright State, this occurs in January, prior to the start of the second semester.

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 men's or women's Greek-letter organization that can fall under the general/social, professional, or honorary category. Informally, the term refers to men's organizations.

Greek: Any member of a Greek-letter social or community service organization (fraternity or sorority).

Greek Alphabet:

A: Alpha
B: Beta
C: Chi
D: Delta
E: Epsilon
F: Phi

G: Gamma
H: Eta
I: Iota
K: Kappa
L: Lambda
M: Mu

N: Nu
O: Omicron
P: Pi
Q: Theta
R: Rho
S: Sigma

T: Tau
U: Upsilon
W: Omega
X: Xi (zee)
Y: Psi
Z: Zeta

Hazing: Any action taken, or situation created intentionally, on- or off-fraternity premise to produce mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment, or ridicule.

Headquarters: The central international or national organization of a particular fraternity or sorority.

Initiation: The formal ceremony during which a man or a woman begins full membership in a fraternity or sorority.

Intake: The membership recruitment and induction process for the National Pan-Hellenic Council member organizations (historically African-American fraternities and sororities).

(Inter)National: A term referring to the central organization of a given sorority or fraternity.

Interfraternity Council (IFC): The central governing body of fraternities.

Legacy: A potential new member whose grandmother/grandfather, mother/father, sister/brother, stepmother/stepfather, or stepsister/stepbrother was or is a member of a particular sorority or fraternity. A legacy can be given special consideration but is never guaranteed membership.

Lavaliere: A pendant, generally a necklace, bearing the Greek Letters of one’s organization.

Letters: Used in the context of Greek life, it usually refers to an article of clothing embroidered with the Greek letters of one’s Greek organization and traditionally worn by the initiated members.

Line: A National Pan-Hellenic Council term used to name new members who joined during the same quarter (similar to the term "class” which is often used by Panhellenic Council and Interfraternity Council organizations). They are the potential new members of the organization. Lines are often given names.

National Order of Omega: This is a National Honor Society for fraternity or sorority members who maintain a grade point average above the All-Greek average, have distinguished themselves as leaders in the Wright State Greek community, have exemplary character, and are either juniors or seniors. These individuals are nominated and voted on by the Greek community and then inducted by current members of the Order at the end of each year.

National Panhellenic Conference: The central governing body of sororities, from the Greek meaning all (Pan) Greeks (Hellenic); Panhellenic is organized on every campus that has (inter)national sororities.

Neo or Neophyte: A new member of a National Pan-Hellenic Council organization.

New Member: A member of an IFC or NPC fraternity or sorority who has not been initiated. Some organizations refer to new members as associates.

New Member Program: The process, endorsed or prescribed by the fraternity or sorority headquarters, to teach the ideals and values of fraternity and sorority life. The length of time for each chapter’s new member program may vary.

On the Yard: An NPHC phrase meaning that a chapter is currently chartered and able to recruit new members on campus.

Panhellenic Council (Panhel/NPC): The central governing body of sororities.

Pin: Sometimes referred to as pledge/new member pin, this is worn by those leading up to initiation.

Philanthropy: A charitable project sponsored by many organizations.

Pledge/associate/new member: A member of a fraternity or a sorority who has not participated in the initiation ceremony.

Pledgeship/new member period: A time during which new members learn about the fraternity or sorority, its members, and their activities.

Potential new member (PNM): A woman who participates in either formal or open recruitment.

Quota: The total number of potential members each sorority chapter can invite to join during formal recruitment.

Recommendation: A letter signed by an alumna/alumnus recommending a student for membership in a Greek chapter.

Recruitment: A social experience in which mutual choice and selection occurs to determine fraternity and sorority memberships.

Rho Lambda: A National Honorary Society for NPC (National Panhellenic Counsel) sorority members.

Serenade: Traditionally, a singing performance by one Greek chapter to another.

Sister: Term used when referring to another member of the sorority.

Sigma Rho Gamma (Recruitment Guide): A NPC woman who agrees to disaffiliate herself from her sorority to assist potential new members to navigate the formal membership recruitment process. These women are charged with providing impartial assistance to PNMs in making choices about selecting membership in NPC organizations.

Soror: Term used when referring to another member of the sorority in NPHC organizations.

Step Show: A show often performed by National Pan-Hellenic Council organizations. Also called "stepping".

Unaffiliated: A term used to describe a student/person that is not a member of a Greek organization.