AskDefine | Define freshman

Dictionary Definition

freshman adj : used of a person in the first year of an experience (especially in United States high school or college); "a freshman senator"; "freshman year in high school or college" [syn: first-year]


1 a first-year undergraduate [syn: fresher]
2 any new participant in some activity [syn: newcomer, fledgling, fledgeling, starter, neophyte, newbie, entrant]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A person of either sex entering the first year of an institution, especially a university or legislative body.
    At the time I was a wide-eyed freshman, but I was soon to grow jaded and cynical.



a person of either sex entering the first year of an institution

See also

Extensive Definition

Freshman, or first year, is a term, in an educational setting, which is often used to describe a student's status during their first year at an educational institution. The term First year can also be used as a noun, to describe the students themselves (e.g. They are first years).

United Kingdom

The term first year is commonly used in the British education system, although in schools it is no longer in official usage. In England and Wales a student's school career (not including pre-school nursery education) now begins with Reception, usually at the age of four, and continues up to either Year 11 or Year 13 depending on whether the student is going on to higher education. However, in informal usage the term "first year" is still very common. In Northern Ireland and Scotland, the first year of compulsory education is Primary 1 (P1).
Before the introduction of the "Year [number]" system around the early 1990s, the first year or first form almost always referred to the first year of secondary education.
In Scotland, the first year of secondary school is known as S1 and also first year. In Northern Ireland, the first year is known as either "Form 1", "First Form" or "Year 8".

United States

In recent years, "first year" has gained popularity as a result of its more descriptive name and gender neutral language. However, freshman is commonly in use as a US English idiomatic term to describe a beginner or novice, a first effort, instance, or a student in the first year of study (generally referring to high school or university study). New members of Congress in their first term are referred to as The Freshman Senator or The Freshman Congressman to suggest their lack of experience at their new position, no matter how experienced they were in previous business of government positions.
In a four-year education setting, students are typically classified as freshmen (first years), sophomores (second years), juniors (third years), and Seniors (fourth years), corresponding to their year of study. Beyond the fourth year, students are simply classified as fifth years, sixth years, etc. Some institutions use the term freshman for specific reporting purposes. "Freshman Year" is usually a common term because of all the new things you get to experience in your first year of high school. Like homecoming, prom, winter formal, spring fling, sadie hawkins, etc.


freshman in German: Fuchs (Studentenverbindung)
freshman in Dutch: Schacht (studenten)
freshman in Polish: Fuks
freshman in Finnish: Fuksi
freshman in Serbian: Бруцош

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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