Introducing The Durham Dictionary: The low-down on the lingo every Durham student uses

From Billy B to SNK, you won’t make it through your three years at Durham without knowing these key phrases

Welcome to Durham University – known for its academic prowess, balls, and 70 per cent marriage figure where its students are exposed to more than just the standard student dialect. The secluded Northern-powerhouse university is the home of certain college colloquialisms. Suppose you are a fresher who is looking to adjust to the Durham lifestyle. In that case, this concise Durham dictionary is just for you. While some of these terms are more university-wide, this is the lingo that all Durham students use.

In alphabetical order:

Billy B

The most used shorthand at Durham, The Tab Durham, can guarantee that you will exclusively use this to refer to the university’s main library – The Bill Bryson. Not to be confused with The Library, the name of a popular bar on the Bailey.


also see: Good Chat and Dead Chat

They are used to describe the sense of humour (Good) or terrible conversation (Dead) of the many Tinder dates that Durham students find themselves on.  

College nicknames

Most colleges will have their own pet names, such as Stevo or Trevs, to make the college system even more of a clique. In contrast to this, Josephine Butler likes to call itself Butler – while the rest of the colleges refer to it as JoBo.



Grimy and revolting, like Jimmy’s dance floor. It can also be used in a complementary fashion with the same meaning for something cool, like a dutty song. This reminds us of the infamous “Rah, is that garage?” video.


Most common terms of endearment for Durham. The colloquial way of saying Durham, for when you’re trying to make your Russell Group university sound a bit more road.

It’d be rude not to

The origins of this saying in Durham are yet another reason for the rivalry between Hatfield and Castle. Both colleges claim that they coined this slogan for their secret games at formal dinners. But the widespread catchphrase, fully translated as “it would be rude not to do X”, is a sarcastically charming way of saying agreeing to do something.


Something surprising or incongruous that doesn’t sit quite right. It is something that has an unpleasant effect on you – an off comment could be jarring, as could a college character who latches onto the idea that rowing is a substitute for a personality.


Amusement aroused. However, the ironic phrase typically refers to a practical joke or scenario that has backfired.


Non-sympathetic manner of expression towards somebody else’s misfortune when in reality, you don’t care. But when the unfortunate soul is you, it’s an awkward attempt at nonchalance – “so peak I didn’t get that banking internship.”


People, places, and things are considered bizarre, unexpected, and non-conformist. Rogue is often a decision: walking back to Durham after a night out in Newcastle fits this bill.


Both an adjective and exclamation are used in response to a merciless, uncalled-for action or comment, usually of passive aggression.


Abbreviation of “Sunday Night Klute” – i.e a Sunday night sesh at Klute.


Something anticlimactic, disappointing, and pathetic. Tacky C-ing in Klute bathrooms would be very, slightly tragic.

We move

This one has a few definitions depending on its context. From agreeing with a fellow student to trying to forget an awkward situation, ‘we move’ generally has an air of carrying on regardless of the circumstances.

We love to see it

also, see: Things we love to see

A phrase showing a Durham students’ complete approval of something. It could be things to do with the Three Bridges Pub opening times, a college match result, or any simple day to day pleasures that deserve a nod of satisfaction.


The posh version of “Yeah” is heard far too much for comfort. The most heard syllable of the “rah”-stereotype that inhabits Durham. Not to be confused with “Gap Yah”, which is pronounced the same, but refers to the London girls’ fully paid trips to Southeast Asia by Daddy’s money.