Angel: also “Sewanee angel” or “getting your angel”; refers to the practice of touching the roof of the vehicle you are riding in as you leave the gates of the Domain; angels are “put up” (by touching the roof again) when you return to the Domain.
College, the: the undergraduate division of the University; not the same as “the University,” which includes the School of Theology.
Comped: post-delirious, transcendent, beatific, euphoric state of seniors in April and May after they have finished their comprehensive examinations; usually indicated by “COMPED SENIOR” written in large white letters across car windows and by festoons of purple and white balloons attached to car antennae; comped seniors may wear the gown, no matter what their previous average.
Comps: comprehensive examinations usually given in the spring to all senior majors by their departments; “to comp” is to take one’s comprehensive examinations; “comping” is in the process of taking comps, e.g., “I can’t go out this week, I’m comping.”
Cross, the: the war memorial cross originally erected on the west bluff of the Domain in honor of those Sewanee soldiers who served in the nation’s wars; in the 1980s, its tribute was extended to include all of Franklin County.
Domain, the: the nearly 13,000-acre woodland tract owned by the University; the land of the Domain gives the University one of the largest campuses in the nation, with a total circumference of 23 miles.
Ecce quam bonum: “Behold how good!”; the short form of the official University Latin motto taken from Psalm 133:1, “Ecce quam bonum et quam iucundum habitare fratres in unum” (“Behold how good and joyful it is for brethren to dwell together in unity”).
fog, Sewanee: actually clouds when seen from the valley, but called fog locally; typical winter atmospheric condition of the Domain; sometimes also used to refer to the mindset of certain residents and students.
Gates, the: a reference to the stone gates where Highway 64 enters and exits the Domain; the point at which Sewanee angels are pulled down or put back up.
Gown: the black bachelor’s gown worn by faculty and members of the Order of Gownsmen; “to gown” is to place the gown on a fellow student during Induction of Gownsmen at Convocation.
Headless gownsman: one of many popular Sewanee ghosts; last seen in 1988 marching in procession for Founders’ Day Convocation.
Highlanders: a social club distinguished by Scots regalia and dress; usually march in together at football games.
Lemon Fair: an old general store across from the bank in the village, now a gallery/gift shop opened in 1972 by Gay Alvarez and specializing in handmade, unusual, and magical gifts and treasures.
Lessons and Carols: popular name of the Festival of Lessons and Carols held in All Saints’ Chapel the first Saturday and Sunday of December; now in its fourth decade, the widely popular festival has been featured on television and in magazines; the three services each draw more than 1,200 people.
Lost Cove: a small extension of Crow Creek Valley to the south side of the Domain; sometimes taken as an image of remoteness, as in Walker Percy’s novel Love in the Ruins; said to have contained a birch grove sacred to Indians.
Mountain, the: an older way of referring to the Domain and to the life of the University; newcomers are often welcomed to “the Mountain.”
Night Study: (Archaic) a place, not a process; that portion of duPont Library formerly open through the night for student study. Night Study as a formal place came to an end a few years ago, but lives on in a 24/7 Academic Technology Center with computer lab access and occupying a portion of the Night Study space.
OG: short for Order of Gownsmen, as in, “I have to go to an OG meeting.”
Perimeter Trail: the newest of Sewanee’s hiking paths; a path that begins on Highway 41A (the Cowan Road) and follows the general line of the bluff around the Domain.
Pig, the: the Piggly-Wiggly grocery store in Monteagle, as in “I’ve got to run to the Pig.”
Purple, the: the undergraduate newspaper The Sewanee Purple.
Reserve, the: the 1,000-acre tract recognized by Tennessee law as set aside for special academic and residential usage by the University; the central, settled portion of the Domain.
SEMS: the volunteer, University-supported Sewanee Emergency Medical Service, which operates an ambulance and a corps of emergency medical technicians for the larger Sewanee community.
Sewanee Dogs: four-legged inhabitants of the Quad, classrooms, offices, and the space under the one traffic light.
Sewanee Metro: playful designation of the police department sometimes used by police dispatchers, as in “Sewanee Metro to all units.” Usually heard only on the late shifts.
Sewanee Review: the prestigious and internationally acclaimed literary journal published by the University; said to be the oldest literary quarterly in continuous publication in the United States.
Sewanee: the generic and place name for the University and its surrounding community; perhaps a derivation of the Amerindian form “Shawnee”; believed by some to mean “south” or to refer to the southern group of Shawnees by the northern group in Ohio.
SFD: the Sewanee Fire Department, which now includes both the old student volunteer fire department and the community fire department.
Skip’s: popular undergraduate lunch spot in Winchester; famous among generations of undergraduates for its chili.
Stable, the: the Equestrian Center and surrounding buildings and rings located at the second bend in the farm road beyond the dairy; home of the nationally famous Sewanee undergraduate equestrian team.
Tigers: nickname of Sewanee athletic teams, derived from the mascot emblem, a rampant Bengal tiger.
Truck Stop: one of several truck service-station restaurants in Monteagle frequented by students, especially after midnight; particularly popular on party weekends and during exams; used in excited phrases such as, “Let’s go to the Truck Stop!”
Village, the: the town of Sewanee; the nonacademic “downtown” portion of the Domain; the area around the bank, gas stations, and the Sewanee market.
Wellingtons: an undergraduate social club distinguished by distinctive British regalia; sometimes marches in together at football games.
Woodsie: a science major; someone who spends a lot of time in lab courses in Woods Laboratories.
WUTS: call letters of the University of the South’s student-operated radio station, 91.3 FM; sometimes also know as “Radio Free Sewanee.”
Yea, Sewanee’s right!: the surviving last line of an old football cheer: “Rip ‘em up! Tear ‘em up! Leave ‘em in the lurch. Down with the heathen. Up with the Church. Yea, Sewanee’s Right!” The heathen may have been the Methodists of Vanderbilt, which would date the cheer in the 1890s; the cheer was sometimes also used against Hampden-Sydney. Now used as an alternative motto and often shouted at the end of the alma mater. When used with the alma mater, it is preceded by an extended pause and the phrase “Hit it!”