Truman State University


Useful Black Greek Definitions
Unlike other councils, the National Pan-Hellenic Council includes both sororities and fraternities. All nine affiliate organizations of the council are very rich in tradition. The vocabulary that is used between all nine organizations is unique among other councils. The “language” of the NPHC sororities and fraternities can be confusing to non-members of the NPHC. Below are some terms that may be useful when referring to one of the NPHC organizations.

The term used by members of men’s fraternities when referring to each other.

The local collegiate membership of an international fraternal organization.

Initiated, at the end of the recruitment period after being evaluated by the organization the aspirant is seeking. The new member then “crosses” over from a pledge to a new member.

“Dropping Line”
To quit the process of becoming a member.

A group of individuals bound together by ritual, common ideals, and a strong bond of friendship and brotherhood/sisterhood. Women’s fraternities are called sororities.

A member of the organization that has graduated from college and continues to stay active with the organization by way of a graduate or alumni chapter.

The traditional ritual or formal ceremony of induction, which marks the transition to full membership of a fraternity or sorority.

A prospective member whose relative is an alumnus/alumna or current member of a fraternity/sorority.

Pledge class

Membership Intake Process: the process adopted by the NPHC and all of its members in the early 1990’s to put an end to dangerous rites of passage (known as hazing) and hazing deaths. Hazing is illegal in our organizations AND in the United states courts of law.

“Nalia” orĀ “Perry”
Two abbreviated terms for paraphernalia. Shirts, paddles, license plates, jewelry, etc. Abbreviation differ regionally.

An abbreviated term for the Greek word Neophyte, meaning beginner. A neophyte is someone who is new to the organization.

“On Yard”
Organization that have active status on campus.

Official public display of initiation often in the form of a step.

“Prospective Member”
A term used for undergraduate men and women interested in becoming a member of a fraternity/sorority.

The term used by members of sororities or women’s fraternities when referring to each other.

A statement or letter from an alumnus/alumna or an active member of a fraternity/sorority, which recommends the prospective member for membership.


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