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Slang Dictionary: Freshman Fifteen

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What Does "Freshman Fifteen" Mean

What Does “Freshman Fifteen” Mean?

“Freshman Fifteen” is a slang term that refers to the alleged fifteen pounds (or approximately 7 kilograms) that a college or university student may gain during their first year on campus. It’s often used humorously or with a hint of concern about the dietary habits of new students.

Related Words

Related slang words to “Freshman Fifteen” include “college weight gain,” “sophomore slump” (referring to the second year’s challenges), and “campus calories” (extra calories consumed while on campus).

Where Does This Term Come From?

The term “Freshman Fifteen” likely originated as a humorous and somewhat exaggerated way to address the common perception that students, free from parental oversight and exposed to cafeteria food and late-night snacks, might gain weight during their first year in college. The number “fifteen” is not meant to be precise but rather serves as a catchy and memorable label for this phenomenon.

Who Uses This Term?

“Freshman Fifteen” is used colloquially among college students, alumni, and anyone familiar with the college experience. It’s often mentioned in conversations about the challenges of transitioning to college life, particularly with regard to dietary choices and lifestyle adjustments.

Examples of Using This Term

  1. “I heard about the Freshman Fifteen, so I’m trying to make healthier food choices this semester.”
  2. “Gaining the Freshman Fifteen is a common concern for students living on campus.”
  3. “Don’t let the Freshman Fifteen discourage you; staying active and balanced is key.”

What to Replace This Term with in Academic Writing

In academic writing, it’s important to maintain a formal tone. Instead of using “Freshman Fifteen,” you should describe the concept more formally, such as “weight gain during the first year of college,” or “initial-year college weight gain.” This ensures clarity and adherence to academic standards.

“The Freshman Fifteen is a cautionary tale, but with awareness and healthy choices, it can be avoided.” – Nutritionist Sarah Smith


“Freshman Fifteen” humorously highlights a common stereotype associated with the college experience. While it’s often used light-heartedly, it’s important to remember that everyone’s college journey is unique, and weight gain during this time is not inevitable. Awareness and making healthy choices can help students navigate their first year successfully.