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[fresh-muh n] /ˈfrɛʃ mən/
noun, plural freshmen.
a student in the first year of the course at a university, college, or high school.
a novice; beginner.
of, relating to, or characteristic of a freshman:
to outgrow one's freshman attitudes.
lacking seniority or experience; junior:
a freshman senator.
required of or suitable for freshmen:
freshman courses.
initial; first:
This is my freshman year with the company.
Origin of freshman
1540-50; fresh + -man
Related forms
freshmanship, noun
prefreshman, noun, plural prefreshmen.
subfreshman, noun, plural subfreshmen.
Usage note
See -man. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for freshmen
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • When we freshmen had rebelled, we were punished by being rusticated or sent into the country to board.

    Memoirs Charles Godfrey Leland
  • Frank Lyman had exhorted them simply, while the freshmen were attacking their nine.

    Stanford Stories Charles K. Field
  • Get up a talk to persuade a freshman or a group of freshmen to subscribe to the school paper.

    Business English Rose Buhlig
  • Like oases are these freshmen to the Student-Body collector.

    Stanford Stories Charles K. Field
  • Not even one of our freshmen could have missed it, but I had it confirmed by Simmons and von Kramm.

    The Star Lord Boyd Ellanby
Word Origin and History for freshmen



mid-16c., "newcomer, novice," from fresh (adj.1) + man (n.). Sense of "university student in first year" is attested from 1590s. Related: Freshmen.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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