Greek Life 101
A TikToker explains the definitions of sorority slang.
Here’s Your Official #RushTok Glossary

A little refresher so you be fully equipped for all the Bama Rush tea.

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Even if you’ve seen movies like Legally Blonde, Sydney White, and House Bunny a million times, and have a basic understanding of the Greek Life system from #RushTok, there’s still a lot to learn for anyone who hasn’t gone through it themselves. Of course, you know the basics around rush week and sorority life — at least enough to get caught up in the drama of #BamaRush TikTok when it hits your FYP.

Though watching hopefuls show off their OOTDs while doing dance trends is grade-A entertainment, chances are you’ll encounter a term (or five) during rush that you don’t fully understand. Like, what is a PNM exactly, and is there a difference between being a new member and being a pledge?

For anyone who’s a little lost on their #RushTok journey, a glossary with some of the popular words and phrases popping up on your FYP will help you break down what’s happening and navigate the whole process much more seamlessly. Plus, you’ll find out how to use them in a sentence for when you really want to school your friends on the latest Bama tea. From pref night to pledge family, here are some sorority terms explained for anyone needing a Greek Life 101.

Rush Week


I’ve got an OOTD picked out for each day of rush week.

Rush week is how a sorority recruits its new members. The term “recruitment” can even be used interchangeably with rush week, so if you hear both being thrown around, that’s why. The reason it’s a week-long process is that there are social events throughout the week that incoming hopefuls attend to get to know different members of various sorority houses. It’s basically like an extended interview process that involves a lot of mingling and parties, which all lead up to Bid Day.

Philanthropy Round


Philanthropy round made me realize how much I want to join Delta Zeta.

Some rush weeks include a philanthropy round, which is in the middle of the process. At this point, you must be invited back to a sorority house for their philanthropy round party where you’ll get to meet more members and find out about different philanthropy events each of the houses hold throughout the year. It’s basically another interview and a way to find out if you really fit in with the houses you like. Along with learning about different events, TikToker @aanastasia.m_ shares that you’ll learn about both the national and local level philanthropies that the chapter supports.



I’m a PNM hoping to drop the P to just become a new member of Pi Beta Phi.

PNM is short for potential new member. It’s basically anyone going through the recruitment process in hopes of joining a sorority.



That group over there are actives from Kappa Kappa Gamma.

Anyone who has been initiated into a sorority is an active, so a group of members would be considered actives. While you may be a lifelong sister, once you graduate, you’re not an active anymore.

Basement Girl


My OOTD is sweatpants, because I’m a basement girl.

During rush week, actives are split into two groups. There are the girls who are representatives of the house and meet all the PNMs for the events. Then, there are basement girls, who are the ones working out all the logistics and behind-the-scenes of recruitment. They input all the scores that help to determine who gets a bid and who doesn’t. They’re known for keeping it casual, which is why a lot of them joke about wearing sweats during rush week on TikTok.

Pref Night


I’m hoping Pref Night helps me decide which house I want to join.

Pref Night is short for Preference Night, which according to TikToker @hallemeisterrr is the last round before decisions are made. Pref Day is a hopeful’s final chance to make a good impression on the house of their dreams. While wearing formal attire, a rushee attends their top two or three houses for a party and ranks them at the end of the night. The same goes for the houses ranking the rushees, and these results are then used to try and match each person to a house.

Bid Day


If Shelby doesn’t get a bid from Phi Mu on Bid Day, I’ll be so upset.

Bid Day is the final day of recruitment. It’s when new members receive their bid to join a house. Bid Day reveals on TikTok feels like watching the sorting hat ceremony from Harry Potter. From there, the house has a fun Bid Day activity planned for all the new members to get to know each other.



Actually, I’m in the Alpha chapter of Delta Delta Delta, and I have to get to chapter.

A chapter is your university or college’s part of a national sorority organization. Take Target, for example, which has a bunch of stores all over the country. Your hometown’s Target would be your specific chapter of the Target organization. That’s why you see so many Chi Omega sororities and Alpha Kappa Alpha houses. Each one is a different chapter.

Since sororities love the Greek alphabet so much, TikToker @uncutchristal explains that they also use that to number each chapter instead of just saying something like the first chapter of Delta Delta Delta. What can also be confusing is that chapters are also “weekly meetings” that you have with your sorority.

New Member


You’re looking at a new member of Alpha Chi Omega.

A new member is someone who has accepted a bid to join a sorority. You might hear someone call themselves a pledge, which is an outdated term, according to TikToker @claireliseg. Pledge is just an informal way to say you’re a new member, prior to initiation.



What happens during initiation stays in initiation.

While you may have received a bid, you’re not a full member until you’ve gone through initiation. TikToker @claireliseg simply describes initiation as the “ceremony where a pledge becomes an active sorority member.” Along the way, you get to learn even more about your house before fully committing to it.

Depending on your university, this could also take a full week just like rush, but it’s more secretive, so you won’t be seeing it as much on TikTok.



My house is having their meeting at the house tonight.

Sorority houses are those giant mansions you may see driving down Greek Row at some universities. However, a house can also mean your sorority chapter. So, if someone says their house is in Miami this weekend, that just means their chapter is on vacay and the physical house didn’t move to Florida.



I think I have the best Big in the house, because she’s always there for me.

A Big is an active member who is assigned as your mentor. They act like your older sister in the chapter, and are there to kind of show you the way. Each sorority has a different process for assigning Bigs, but TikToker @ashleyydey says her chapter gives new members temporary Bigs for the first four weeks. After that time, they get to decide who they want their Big to be.



The best part about being a Little is getting presents from my Big.

When you’re given a Big, you become their Little. It’s like sisters in a family. The older one who has been around longer is the big sister, while the new one is the little sister. Once it’s your turn to go through recruitment as an active member, you’ll get to be the Big who then has a Little.

Pledge Family


We’re all one big happy pledge family.

When you’re a new member, you’re considered a pledge. A current member of the sorority (usually one grade ahead) will become your pledge mom or Big once you join. Your Big will act as a mentor to you (their Little) and look out for you during the rest of your time in college and beyond. The two of you (and any other Bigs or Littles) are called a pledge family.



I’m on a tight budget because I have to pay my sorority dues for the fall.

While the friendships you make joining a sorority are priceless, it does cost money to become a member. When you become a full member, you must pay your dues. These funds per semester help to pay for your chapter’s day-to-day expenses such as housing and food. It goes into things like social events and philanthropy work to make your university’s community better. TikToker @8kateee shared that one year she had to pay a little less than $3,000 for the fall and spring semesters at her sorority.



I have to find my badge so I can wear it to chapter.

Each new member receives a badge — or pin, according to TikToker @julia_adavis — from their sorority once initiated. It’s usually jewelry with the chapter’s letters on it, and the design includes an insignia of your sorority that members can proudly wear. The design is unique for each sorority, and carries different secret meanings that you’ll only understand once you’re initiated.



Sydney is a Kappa legacy, so she really wants to get in like her mom.

If you’re a legacy to a particular sorority, that means your mom, sister, or grandmother was an initiated member of that sorority. You’ve probably seen in movies where being a legacy is a big thing because it can mean you are a shoo-in to get a bid. However, it’s not always a guarantee, and as TikToker @claireliseg shares, many sororities have “eliminated their legacy policy.” This is to help sororities become more diverse and inclusive. Even if there is a legacy policy, you still need to fulfill certain criteria, like your chapter’s GPA requirement, in order to get in.



You wouldn’t understand my sorority’s rituals.

A lot of the Greek system is based on traditions that go back for years. When you join a house, you’ll be getting a history lesson right away from the different rituals that your specific chapter adheres to. Since the rituals are private traditions, they’re more secretive, but could include different chants, creeds, or songs that you must memorize as a sister.



I’ve decided to drop my sorority because I can’t afford it anymore.

To drop your sorority means you’re quitting that sorority. It’s like dropping out of college — you’re leaving. You can also get dropped by a sorority during rush week, which means that chapter has decided not to offer you a bid. While a new album drop is a good thing, usually sorority drops can happen because of issues like money or not getting along with your sisters. You also can’t rejoin the Greek system once you drop a sorority you’ve been initiated into.

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