21 Words That Have Totally Different Meanings In College

College is a magical place where you have effectively all the freedom of an adult, with none of the responsibility. And as a result, college life isn't quite the same as life outside it, and some words as a result mean something slightly different than they do in the real world. Here is a list of some of these words.


Outside College: Does or says something again, or more than once.

In College: To be avoided at all costs. Will ruin any plans you have at the end of the summer if you don't.


Outside College: Taking in something that is written down.


In College: Something your lecturer tells you to complete in between lectures, that you never ever do.

Guest List

Outside College: A list of names of the people invited to an event or party.

In College: A magical list that gets you in free to night clubs on a certain weekday.



Outside College: A region of France that produces some of the most expensive sparkling wine in the world.

In College: Some really cheap bottle of prosecco or something similar that are sometimes on offer to people who bring a birthday party to a night club.


Outside College:  To take in and consume liquid.

In College: Anything with alcohol in it.



Outside College: An outlet of human expression that includes literature, music, dance, painting, photography and film.

In College: A degree that is the butt of an awful lot of jokes, and for good reason.



Outside College: Any substance consumed to provide nutrition to the body.

In College: Whatever leftover takeaway is in the fridge from the night before. See also: half a box of corn flakes.


Outside College: To devote time and attention to gaining knowledge of a certain subject.

In College: Something you should be doing instead of flicking endlessly through Facebook and watching the tenth episode of your favourite tv show in a row.



Outside College: a task or piece of work allocated to someone as part of a job or course of study.

In College: Something that you will not, under any circumstances, start until the night before it is due.


Outside College: Investigate a number of reliable and related sources systematically


In College: Look up the Wikipedia page on the topic and name the sources of the page as your reference material.


Outside College: Free from dirt, marks, or stains

In College: All of the empty bottles and cans from the night before are in a big bag beside the bin outside.

Being Late


Outside College: Arriving to something after the expected or desired time.

In College: Not an issue.


Outside College: Somewhere to sleep and sometimes make love to man/woman of your dreams.

In College: Your best friend.



Outside College: To have consumed enough alcohol that your speech, balance and thought process are somewhat impaired.

In College: Passed out in a dark corner of whatever night club you got free into, cradling a bottle of that "champagne".

A House


Outside College: A building that one or more people, often a family, lives together.

In College: Somewhere to drink.


Outside College: A building that stores books/CDs/films that the public are allowed to borrow for a certain amount of time.

In College: Somewhere to sleep and pretend that you're studying.


Central Heating

Outside College: The method by which a lot of modern houses are heated during the winter months.

In College: What's that?

Being Broke


Outside College: Not having any money, and struggling to make end's meat.

In College: Not having any money, but still managing to go out three times a week.

Early Start

Outside College: Getting up before 8am.

In College: Getting up before noon.



Outside College: The warmest months of the year when people often go on holidays.

In College: The months in between the end and start of college, when you struggle to find a job and spend too much time in front of the tv doing nothing.


Outside College: A facility allowing computers, smartphones, or other devices to connect to the Internet or communicate with one another wirelessly within a particular area.

In College: More important than the air you breathe.

David Sweeney
Article written by
David has the most relevant qualifications of all of the writers at CollegeTimes, having just completed 3 years of an Electrical Engineering degree in UCD.

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