Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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SEMI, n. Also semie. A student in the second year of his university course, usu. applied to the Arts faculty and now only in the Universities of St. Andrews and Aberdeen. Also in full semi-bachelor, semi-bajan, -bejant, see Bajan and note below. Also attrib. Comb. semi-poudering, appar. a student's jollification at St. Andrews University to celebrate his entry into the semi-class when the students were allowed to powder their hair [′sɛme]. Sc. 1702  Munim. Univ. Gsw. (M.C.) II. 374:
John Dunlop a semi his being found drinking in an alehouse.
Sc. 1708  Univ. Edb. Charters (Morgan 1937) 164:
It shall be lawfull for any student to enter to the Semie Class or any superior Class, albeit he was not a Begen.
Sc. 1713  Two Students (Dickinson 1952) 76:
Of expences for Alexr. at the Semi-poudering. ¥2. 8. 0.
Sc. 1787  Session Papers, Anderson v. Millar (20 April) 25:
It appears to have been the practice of this University [Glasgow] for time immemorial, to give the degree of Master of Arts to no Scotsman who had not studied one year or session in the Logic or Semi-class.
Sc. 1799  Stat. Acc.1 XXI. App. 84:
Semi Class. — The second year of the academical course is employed in teaching the elements of the mathematical sciences.
Sc. 1807  J. Grierson St Andrews 187:
Those [students] of the second year, who usually attend the second Greek, second Latin, second mathematics and logic, are termed Semies, probably from their being considered, as it were, half through with their course, this being four years.
Sc. 1868  G. MacDonald R. Falconer ii. xix.:
Robert must start fair with the rest of the semies.
Sc. 1891  College Echoes (15 Jan.):
The present designations [at St Andrews] — Second-year man, Third-year man, and Fourth year man are colourless and awkward. Why should not Bejants become Semis, then Tertians, and close their career with the melancholy glory of Magistrand?
Sc. 1946  R. G. Cant Univ. St Andrews 17:
By the third year the student had normally attained to the dignity of bachelor, and in the intermediate stage before this, he tended to be referred to as a semi-bachelor or semi. . . . At St Andrews semi-bajan had replaced semi-bachelor as the full title of the second year early in the eighteenth century.
Sc. 1954  Bulletin (15 Nov.):
Bejants (first year students) of St Andrews University last night claimed that they had kidnapped some of the leaders of their traditional rivals, the Semi-Bejants.
Sc. 1956  Edb. Univ. Calendar xxxviii.:
The “Bajans”, the “Semi-Bajans”,' the “Bachelors”, and the “Magistrands”, as the Students of the first, second, third, and fourth year were respectively styled.

[O.Sc. semi, 1626, (Latin) semi-bejanus, id., later taken to mean semi-baccalaureus, one half-way to his bachelor's degree, where such a degree was given at the end of the third year. Semi-bejane is found in 1647.]

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"Semi n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Mar 2018 <>



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