Would it be proper to say freshman students, freshmen, or freshmen students?


It is worth noting that I have since learned it is more acceptable in educational circles to use the term "first-year students" instead of "freshmen".

  • 2
    Note freshman (freshmen) is US and fresher (freshers) is UK. At least fresher is informal and I suspect the same for freshman.
    – Hugo
    Oct 26, 2011 at 9:38
  • @Hugo What are female first-year students called? are they freshwomen?
    – WS2
    Oct 19, 2013 at 9:29
  • @WS2: In the UK it's just freshers and I don't know about the US but I suspect freshmen is used or just first years.
    – Hugo
    Oct 19, 2013 at 12:25
  • 1
    @Hugo Pity, I rather liked the idea of 'freshwomen'!
    – WS2
    Oct 19, 2013 at 15:51
  • @GEdgar it is extremely common in my area that they are considered 'Fresh-meat' to much of the older years in schools.
    – anonymous
    Nov 4, 2015 at 0:30

4 Answers 4


Both "freshmen" and "freshman students" are correct, but "freshmen students" is wrong. I think "freshmen" is the official term.

  • 3
    Yes, I would think in almost any context where "freshmen" is used it is clear that you are referring to students. You could imagine contexts, however, where you need to distinguish between "freshman students" and "freshman senators" in which case "freshman ..." should be used. Aug 5, 2010 at 20:10
  • To be PC, I always used to say Freshpersons.
    – moioci
    Aug 5, 2010 at 21:55
  • 3
    @moioci: this is entirely a matter of personal preference, but I think "freshpersons" sounds weird. I prefer "first-years." There's a bit more of a risk of sounding pretentious, but that hasn't been a big problem for me.
    – Pops
    Aug 6, 2010 at 0:01
  • 3
    I think "freshperson" is more pretentious than "freshman."
    – Claudiu
    Oct 22, 2010 at 13:58
  • 5
    @moioci That's very speciest. You should say "freshbeings".
    – Jay
    Feb 22, 2012 at 15:19

In Canada, or at least in the part of Canada where I went to school, you can also say frosh. The singular and plural are the same. It can also be used as an adjective, as in frosh week, the first week of the term when the frosh are introduced to the school (and local pubs).

  • I heard that, too, in the Northeast US. Though not at my school. And at the University of Chicago, it was "first-years."
    – jbelacqua
    Mar 20, 2011 at 6:42
  • FWIW: We used that word in Oklahoma as well.
    – T.E.D.
    Aug 25, 2011 at 19:15

You can also say "freshers", although I'm not sure if it's proper.

  • 6
    +1 "Freshers" is common usage in the UK. Fresher is in the OED as Pronunciation:/ˈfrɛʃə/ noun British informal term for freshman Dec 30, 2010 at 11:45

Looking at the definition of freshman on the New Oxford American English, I find two examples:

We invited the freshmen.
[as adjective] A freshman second baseman.

In English, when a word is used as an adjective, the plural form of that word is not used.

(*) We invited the freshmen students.

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