Privileged Words

For much of its first 100 years, Texas A&M was a small, all-male, military academy.  The school became co-educational in the 1960s, and membership in the Corps of Cadets became voluntary. I n military tradition, privileges are meted out as one climbs the ranks, and Texas A&M has several such traditions.  The most obvious are the uniforms worn by the Corps of Cadets.  Corps members wear different uniforms for each year, culminating in the prized Senior boots.

Vocabulary is also restricted by class.  Freshmen may not say the word Pisshead, a nickname for sophomores.  Juniors are known as "Serge Butts", so neither freshmen nor sophomores can say any form of either word.  Juniors are also the first class to be allowed to say "Whoop!"  Seniors, known as "Zips" for the black and gold braid on their garrison caps, which resembles a zipper, have reserved the word elephant and all forms of the words "death," "dying," "shoot," or "reload" in reference to the traditions surrounding Elephant Walk.  However, saying the phrases "pass away," "decease," "fire," "load again," etc., are all acceptable substitutes.

Students caught "pulling out", or saying words that are reserved for other classes, are forced to "push."  Traditionally, this means the students must do a "class set" of pushups, one for each year of their class.  The Class of 1945 did only 45 pushups and an extra pushup has been added for each subsequent year; the Fighting Texas Aggie Class of 2012 now does 112.  Pulling out privileges of the class directly above is considered "Good Bull", but pulling out two classes or more is "Bad Bull."  Members of the Corps of Cadets generally take privileged words more seriously than non-reg students.