Twamp  n.

Acronym:Typical William And Mary Person”

General Denotations:  Originally used to describe a socially awkward nerdy kid who goes to William and Mary, but now a word that’s used to describe the community at W&M.

Sociolectal Information: This word would only be used at William and Mary or by alumni who have gone to The College.

Etymology: The earliest online usage of Twamp was used in 2009, but most people like to believe it came from Thomas Jefferson himself.

Usage: The acronym itself is usually mistaken for Typical William and Mary Student. It’s used to describe a person at William and Mary who is doing things that are solely performed at William and Mary, e.g. a person who is studying all day at Swem Library.

Survival Predictions: I think this word will last just as long as The College itself, because the word has become part of the community of William and Mary students. The word connects us all as a student body and it is a rite of passage to be called a Twamp after going to school at William and Mary.

There has been recent debates as to whether Twamp is actually a word of endearment or if it can have a more negative effect. Some people fear that the word is egging on unhealthy habits or causing a competition with who can be more Twampy? For example people say they only got 2-4 hours of sleep and say, ” I’m such a Twamp.” so the question is, is it really a good thing to be a Twamp? It’s also controversial because some people don’t want to be seen as typical, but rather unique or diverse.

Lexopinions: I think Twamp was created as sort of an insult but is now a term of endearment among William and Mary students, however I have found people who use it as an endearing term and others who believe the word should not be used.








  1. I am so happy that you picked the word twamp because it truly plays a huge role on campus– I rarely go a day without hearing someone reference it here. I believe this was a sample post and therefore lacks some of the things we discussed for Post 1, but I would love to see it revised and placed in the neotwampism category, so I thought I would just leave a few thoughts. While I definitely agree that the word twamp is not always used in a positive sense, I feel as if your general denotation may be a bit too harsh. When I use the word twamp, I typically mean overachiever. For example, if I see someone on the treadmill that is also studying flashcards, I might say that is such a twamp thing to do. I’m not sure that I associate it with being socially awkward, so much as being maybe quiet and compassionate and over-committed to both academics and extracurriculars. That being said, I completely agree with your lexopinions and survival predictions. Twamp can certainly be used negatively but our campus has adopted it as a term of endearment and a reflection of our love for the W&M community and its quirks. I agree with you that it will probably live on at the College since it has become such an embodiment of our campus culture, and it really does connect us as a community. If you were to revise this post, I would suggest including a little bit of the debate around the word on campus. Recently, AMP hosted an event called “reenvisioning the twamp” because they felt like it encouraged poor mental health(i.e. studying all day at swem). It would be interesting to maybe video someone from either side of that debate. Overall, it was a great post and captures various viewpoints of the word, I would suggest just expanding on that and adding more of the positive side to the definition. I hope you will add it to the neotwampisms category!

Speak Your Mind