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Girl in a jacket

Please explain DLSU, so does ‘frosh’ come from ‘frog’ or what?

Saan nga ba talaga nang galing ang “frosh”, pare?

On August 19, Facebook user Ben Lim posted a side-by-side comparison of a DLSU Business College Government (BCG) photo and an online article both trying to explain the origin of the word “frosh” in De La Salle University. 

Lim reveals that BCG’s post is mostly copied from the article which was posted last year. Lim’s caption “mali na nga info kinopya pa rin hanep” suggests that the etymology of the word “frosh” provide by the article (later to be the basis of the DLSU BCG’s post) is false.

Although, how wrong is the info? 


“According to the Cambridge Dictionary” 

Yes, frosh really is in the Cambridge dictionary. It also appears in Merriam-Webster and the Oxford Languages Google dictionary as well. These lexicons all agree that the word frosh is the informal reiteration of the word “freshman”. 

After various alterations and shortening of “freshman”, words like “frosh” and “freshie” arose. Merriam-Webster also states that “Inevitably, freshie grew stale, and frosh was discovered as a hip-sounding alternative”  

With the amount of information about the word it is clear that it is not only used by DLSU or Lasallian schools in general. The Oxford Language Google dictionary also notes its prominent use in North America. 


Frosh = Frog? 

Again, yes. Both Merriam-Webster and Google’s Oxford Languages dictionary confirm that the “hip-sounding alternative” for freshman may have found its origins in the German word for frog—”Frosch”. 

Merriam-Webster notes that the word was recorded into A Collection of College Words and Customs published in 1851 by Harvard student Benjamin H. Hall: “In Germany, a student in the gymnasium, and before entering the university, is called a Frosch, — a frog.” 

On Google, Oxford Languages explains that “frosch” may mean “grammar-school student” as well. 


Frosh as a gender-neutral alternative

In Merriam-Webster’s Usage Notes there is an entry titled “Is the Word ‘Freshman’ Going Out of Style?“. It explains that alternatives to the word “freshman” may be preferred by more people due to its gender-neutral nature. Alternatives like “freshie”, “frosh”, and “first-years” remove the gendered skew brought about by the “-man” suffix.


Frosh = Fresh Out of Senior High?

First of all…no. Second of all… maybe?  

This may be the claim that caught most people’s attention. It is quite hard to believe this considering the fact that the term “frosh” has been used in DLSU way before the K-12 educational system was established in the Philippines (academic year 2012-2013). Frosh was being used even before senior high was a thing that existed across the country.

Although, considering the way the acronym fits perfectly with the phrase, it could make sense? Maybe? If you try hard enough?

DLSU Freedom Wall frosh meaning

But with all of this in mind, just take Amber Ger’s word for it— “it’s honestly just a slang word for a college freshman”. Let’s not over analyze and over intellectualize a fun and casual slang word.

BCG posted an apology also on August 19 for the “wrong information”.

One comment called out the need to cite their sources. This was addressed by BCG as they edited their caption to include their source and its date of publication.

It might look like BCG would need to edit their caption once more as the article was actually posted in August of 2020. Only one year before this long-winded etymology quest began. If it was originally posted in 2017 and later edited in 2020, the website does not specify.

Candy Magazine frosh article DLSU

Let this be a lesson to all: always check your sources, corroborate the information you gather and NEVER plagiarize. 

Using the word “frosh” is only one of the many pieces of DLSU’s colorful culture, another piece is… blaming the frosh for everything. 

Hay nako… yung mga frosh kasi talaga eh.

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