Monday, April 18, 2016

#atozchallenge: Oxbridge

Oxbridge =
Oxford University
+ Cambridge University


Oxford University coat of arms (source: Wikipedia, public domain)
Cambridge University coat of arms (source: Wikipedia, public domain)

Even a Yank like me knows that the two most important and most prestigious universities in the United Kingdom (and possibly the world) are Oxford University and Cambridge University. Wikipedia tells us that William Thackeray, in his 1849 novel Pendennis, came up with the name Oxbridge when he described a university that was similar to both Oxford and Cambridge. Virginia Woolf used the name in her 1929 essay A Room Of One’s Own, citing Thackeray. By the late 1950’s it was being used to describe both universities collectively, usually in comparison to other colleges and universities, and in a slightly class-conscious way about the people who attend them. Evidently Thackeray also referred to Camford University, a slightly different portmanteau, but it never caught on.

I had a friend in college who had as his goal to send his children to Oxford. Don’t know if he ever made it. He himself talked his way into Harvard, then talked his twin brother into it as well. I don’t know that Harvard compares well or not to Oxbridge, but I know it’s pretty well thought of here.

Many of my readers live in the UK and other current or former Commonwealth countries; do any of you know anyone who went to either university?


from The Sound of One Hand Typing

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