Tute Speak

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This is the authoritative dictionary of RPI stuff.

Additions are very much welcome!

Most is taken from the Not the Rensselaer Handbook. According to that great catechism of ancient lore,

"What part of the student's life is not influenced by how that student communicates? Even the Institute has recognized the need for its student body to be more literate. Therefore, it is to this end that the following glossary of the language that is spoken at RPI is provided to those holding this book.

One will note, however, that the words contained herein are not spoken anywhere else, save for the bowels of IBM or at a social gathering at MIT. Still, it is essential to be able to understand your fellow man at lunch when he tells you that his HP-41CX has crashed and that his last APL project has de-rezed, in the hopes that you will offer some sympathy. Be warned that many of the words contained are not of a delicate nature, and that if you are offended by phrases such as ``Wankel Rotary Engine, you shouldn't be reading this anyway."


exp. Equivalent to ``gag.


n. Assemblage of Computer Maniacs, a group of wanted criminals at the VCC.

Alien Death Ray

n. Solar Collector on top of the Science Center. Also known as the Laser Cannon.


n. The act of staying up all night to complete some project before the deadline.

Apathy Field

n. (RPI) A peculiar ethereal atmosphere indigenous to RPI, generated by the individual students' lack of concern for the events of the Real World. It works in inverse proportion to distance away from Troy and in direct proportion to the distance to Home, i.e., when you return to the nest you care once again. However, it also has hysterical properties and takes a certain amount of time to wear off.


n. (RPI) The decaying ruins of the old Rensselaer gateway from Troy. NOTE: They were restored in 1999 at a cost of $1,000,000. [Link to Article]

Arbitrary Constant

n. Something that can be put anywhere for any reason and not harmfully affect the outcome of any given event. See Fudge Factor.


n. Bullshit. No, really. Symbolized by the ``Right Hand Rule, see Halliday and Resnick for the formal definition.


n., acronym. (RPI) Burdett Avenue Resident Housing, the only REAL co-ed dorm on campus with its own bad version of DAKA. This place has a history of being a wild party dorm, thanks to the non-homogeneous population. Originally called the Burdett Avenue Residence Facility (BARF).


adv. In discrete lumps.


n. A main staple of the Rensselaer Diet.


exp. (RPI) A more serious version of alarm, not to be confused with ``Be Like A Real Man.


v. To be forced off MTS by the operator, owing to some ``fatal computer error.


exp. A sound of disgust. --- adj. --- blecherous. To be disgusting. Also spelled ``Bletch and ``Bletcherous.

Blow Away

v. To lose big, or fail miserably.

Blow Off

v. To disregard; see Punt.

Brownian Motion

n. A very random and unpredictable sort of motion. Best typified by, say, a nice hot cup of tea. (Also see Halliday and Resnick.)


n. Your first degree, assuming you finish.

Building 102

n. The Center for Industrial Innovation, or CII, as translated by lovers of Roman numerals.


v. To erase, eradicate or otherwise remove from the face of the Earth.


n. (RPI) For those who don't listen to WPYX, and still don't know this term, it means Albany and Rensselaer Counties and the general surrounding area.

Care Package

n. A package containing munchies, junk food and probably a stuffed animal, intended to ease homesickness.


n. Pre-IRC and Pre-Facebook, CB was a computer chat service with the RPI computer system

Chez Stavo

n. The nerd-food restaurant in the Folsom Library.


n. (RPI) The ubiquitous supermarket of the Capital District and all-time favorite food store for RPI students. Also called ``Price Gouger or ``Price Hacker.


n. (RPI) Two Rectangles Vertical Gyratory Up, a kinetic metal sculpture which was lent to the Institute by the sculptor, George Rickey, a professor at RPI from 1961 to 1966. Often confused with meteorological equipment on the Science Center. Although gone, it may be coming back.


n. A xerox, but more so. Did you know that clones never use mirrors?

Cosmic Wimpout

n. A very peculiar game which defies explanation, you just have to play it to understand it.

Couch Potato

n. Sedentary lifeform most prevalent on low slung sofas and lounges around the campus. Best sightings are in the JEC Lounge, the second floor of the Union and on every floor of the Folsom Library.


v. The act of Sibyl going to sleep, or as most Comp Sci's put it, ``going down. --- n. You'll know Him when you meet Him.


n. Something that is small, and usually alive (though many critters fake it).


n. see QPA.

C Vortex

n. (RPI) The name for the phenomenon that results in so many students receiving so many C's.


n., acronym. (RPI) Dining And Kitchen Administration. The generic food company vested with the task of creating food out of flup for the FDH, Union and BARH.


v. To destroy, delete or eliminate.


n., acronym. Decelerated Undergraduate Matriculation Program, otherwise known as the five year Bachelor of Science degree.

Endless Loop

n. see Loop, Endless.


v. To have a low enough grade point average that one cannot transfer to another school but not low enough to actually fail-out.


v. To achieve a low enough GPA to be kicked out of school.


adj. Incorrect to the point of humorous.


n. F:cking Computer Nerd (one of the few cases in which ``nerd is preferred to ``knurd because ``FCK is too similar to a very favorite word of all RPI students). Not uncommon for this type to be verbally fluent in Fortran or Assembler.


exp. A word of disgust.


n., acronym. F:ckin Independent Sh:t Head, see GDI


v. 1. to boast. 2. to complain, sometimes vehemently. --- n. Someone who flames.

Flunking In

v. (RPI) To secure one's stay at RPI with grades too low to transfer elsewhere. --- adj. Flunked In.


n. (Niven) Sea-bottom ooze; very fine, fertile mud which is useful for gardens and green, growing things. (Like mold.) Also see: DAKA.


FOAD Letter

n. A letter from a company which says, ``We liked your resume, and had a real good time laughing at it, and we don't want to hire you now, but (chuckle) please (snort) try again (hee, hee) later. (Haw, haw, haw!) Usually received at the end of your senior year, and whenever you apply for a co-op or a summer job. Most RPI seniors receive five or six of them.


n. Generic pronoun. (Others are: Bar, Zot.)


n. Fortran, to those who know it well.


n. Derogatory Slang for Fraternity (You wouldn't call your mother a Mut would you?)

Free Body Diagram

n. A cryptic chart depicting each and every force, accountable or otherwise, in a force system.


n., acronym. Factor Reality into the Situation.

Fudge Factor

n. Amount of discrepancy added to lab data to make it agree with theoretical results.


n. God-Damned Independent, as opposed to a frat-rat.

GM Week

n. (RPI) A week long festival, cleverly chosen so as to lie three weeks before finals and still within winter, during which students drink themselves into a stupor, and occasionally, by accident, vote for student officials.


n. (RPI) Favorite nick-name of Price Chopper.


n. General Personal Aptitude, the rating by which the rest of the world values your existence. Though you'll hear of these, RPI won't give you one; being a technical school, they have to complicate it. See QPA.

Gradual Student

n. Another word for masochist, this type of student is notable for being forced to teach undergrads in his second language, English.

Greene Building

n. (RPI) One of the many anomalies at RPI, this structure houses the School of Architecture and is not at all green.


n. A type of human that can directly interface with Sibyl with every means short of psychic communication, and does so for a large percentage of its non-sleeping life. Can find interfacing with other humans too difficult to bother. Treatment is available for these types; drag them over to the Counselling Center.

Hell Week

n. An annual week during which pledges to RPI Fraternities undergo group therapy, which includes dressing oddly, indulging in silly walks, and the most suits on campus at any time other than Placement Interviews.

Hill Saint Helens

n. (RPI) The source of steam between the VCC, the Folsom Library and the Amos Eaton building.

Hockey Line

n. (RPI) An annual sit-in, the biggest at RPI since the takeover of the Pittsburgh Building in the early 70's, where intrepid students wait over a month (the current record is 35 days, 20 hours by the Polemic Staff) for the best tickets.


n. (RPI) Happy Valley Country Club, where most of RPI's Square Root Club members retire for a semester or two.


n. Pertaining to input and output operations, like sex and eating.

Intuitively Obvious

exp. One small step for a TA, one giant leap for the student.


v. To branch, as in a program. To travel, usually by car.


n., acronym. Keep it Simple, Stupid.


n. Any alteration or assemblage which takes advantage of faulty rules or organization. --- v. To fix in a temporary way (note: long ``u as in ``nUke).


n. One who studies intensively, but only for practical reasons, such as an exam tomorrow. Preferred to ``nerd due to it's nature of being reversible int::o another useful word.

Lab Report

n. A practical exercise in Finagle's Law.


v. to attach oneself onto.


n. The Nuclear Department's linear accelerator, which is aimed directly at Troy's main water tower, the Space Invader. It is mainly used to project matter out of the Known Universe.

Loop, Endless

n. See Endless Loop.


n. (RPI) The RPI Players main hideout, the 15th Street Playhouse, as it is referred to by the Players.

Love Canal

n. The ``temporary pathway along the '86 Field, which turns into some kind of toxic sludge whenever Troy rains or snows (which is far too frequent). Don't slip and fall into it.


n. The free newsprint magazine that gets distributed every Thursday, available in the Union if you're quick. Sometimes called Metrobland because, while informative on what's happening in the capital district, it really doesn't tell you much. Good reviews though.


n., acronym. (RPI) Meanest Man On Campus, a title held by whoever collects the most money during GM week for an APO funds drive, has the silliest name and throws the least pies.

MoneyMaybe Machines

n. (RPI) Brownian electronic tellers on the west side of the Union which randomly allocate funds.


n. (RPI) The familiar letters that greet all of Sibyl's users, the Message Terminal System (for those of us who use $MESSAGESYSTEM more than the operating system).


n. A variable word pertaining to any noun, object or thing.


v., acronym. A recursive word, meaning ``MUNG Until No Good.


n. (RPI) The old campus mainframe computer, rumored to still be in the basement of the Voorhees Computing Center.


n. Meaning any number of items, usually tending to positive infinity.

Nerd Feeder

n. Any of several devices that vend unnatural and artificially flavored food-stuff for late night feeders. The largest collections are in the JEC Lounge, the Field House, and the Folsom Library.


exp. A greeting call for many on campus.


n. (RPI) Abbreviation for Niagara Mohawk, the Troy power company.

No Op

n. Someone or thing that does nothing useful. --- v. To waste time by ``slugging off. To ignore something.


n. Referring to anything nuclear, including weapons, power or radiation. --- v. To eradicate or obliterate.


n. The device resembling a terminal in any RPI-provided kit-chen, it is used to heat food and eradicate numerous forms of matter in general.


n. The existential penguin in ``Bloom County, a comic strip that can only be found in The Boston Globe, and occasionally in The Poly.

Organic Waste Products

n. The Hudson River, DAKA food, chem labs.

P & M

n. Parental units, Pa and Ma.

Parental Maintenance

v. The act of convincing your parents that the $15K a year spent on your lifesupport at RPI is worth the expense, despite your grades.


n. A social gathering with a goal of mixed group interrelating, the consumption of chilled beverages, etc. --- v. To enjoy the company of others and not be involved in studying. --- adj. To be desirable to have at a party (e.g. ``He's quite a party guy). Alternativly, this term comes down to a few guys sitting at computers for extended periods of time playing CS or BF2.


n. One of the options available to a Tute student. A class on Pass-Punt does not count against you if you fail or do poorly; it also does not help your GPA even if you do incredibly well. Officially called ``Pass-No Credit.


n. The perforated strips of paper that come off of computer printouts. Makes great confetti.


n. (RPI) The avant-garde actors' troupe on the RPI campus composed of mostly students, which has been in continuous production since 1927. They are housed in the 15th Street Playhouse.


n. (RPI) The independent, student financed, somewhat-bi-weekly spoof of the Institute's newspaper, the Polytechnic. Otherwise known as ``Not the Poly.

Power Tool

v. to INTENSIVELY study; see tool.


n. 1. Hockey Player type. 2. Any crusty piece of food served by DAKA, often passed off as meat. They come in three varieties: poultry-flavored, fish-flavored, and other (which is usually the veal).

Puckman : RPI's really crazy Hockey Mascot who has a habit of getting lost / lurking around campus in the middle of the night.


v. To drop, reject or ignore, as in classes.


n. Rejection letter. Primarily used to designate rejection letters from the Tute. Rejection letters from companies are usually referred to as FOAD letters.

Purity Test

n. (RPI) Basically, a sexual experience test.


n. A complicated version of the GPA, this stands for Quality Person Average, your mean value of total worth in relation to Reality.


n. (RPI) The three-sided upperclassman housing structure across from the Union.


adj. To be diverse in nature.


n., acronym. (RPI) Rensselaer Apartment Housing Project, is better known as the Alpha Phi Omega fraternity ``house.

Real Time

adv. Describing how an action occurs, meaning that it is happening instantly. --- n. Referring to actual or current events as opposed to the past.

Real World

n. (RPI) The Known Universe, minus the RPI environment, which is sheltered in an Apathy Field.


n. The Known Universe.

Reality Check

n. The act of leaping up once to see if one will still fall Earthward under the influence of gravity. Also known as ``Gravity Check.


adj. See recursive.


v. To create or originate.

Road Trip

n. To gather a group of friends together in a car and get out of Troy.


n. (RPI) A student of Russell Sage College, who is typified (by RPI men) as a slightly overweight ``MRS degree candidate.


n. Someone who is either climbing a tall campus building, or one who has just landed after a fall off a tall campus building. (See Vector.)


v. To take repetitively until none is left.

Self Screw

n. (RPI) A particular mutation of RPI's regular curriculum in which students are given the responsibility of administering the Tute Screw to themselves. Sometimes called ``Self Abuse.


n. The IBM 370/3081D computer which, according to reliable sources, lives in the basement of the VCC, and controls everything in the world, from the faculty's paychecks to your phone bills.


n. One who lies about ignoring the Universe at large. --- v. (-ing) To slug. See Couch Potato.

Snail Mail

n. The free intra-campus mail system. Not noted for it's speed.


n. Beer, Whiskey, Vodka, Rum, ... anything that will try to annihilate your digestive tract through alcoholic reactions.

Square Root Club

n. (RPI) Elite group of students whose cumes are less than the square root of their cumes.


n., acronym. (RPI) The Saratoga Performing Arts Center, yet another center which is the site of many concerts.

Space Invader

n. (RPI) The large blue water tower that is behind the RAHP and in the sights of the Lineac.


n. Naval ROTC type. or somekind of really cool server.
  • .*
n. Anything and everything (pronounced ``star-dot-star).

Starting Salary

n. A buzzword prevalent around the end of the spring semes-ter, it is a common method of rating the ``value of one's diploma.


n. (RPI) One who actively (or obsessively) participates in Student Government.


n., acronym. (RPI) State University of Nubile Young Airheads.


n. Unfortunate gradual student who is forced to teach undergrads who speak a foreign tongue, English.

Third Floor

n. (RPI) For many campus buildings, the floor where the main doors are.


n. The Total Mall Experience. Otherwise known as shopping at Crossgates Mall, the ultimate suburban mall in Upstate New York. Be there, aloha.


n. One who studies, and studies, and ...


n. One who studies considerably. v. -ing, to study excessively.


n. (RPI) One of many shorter versions of RPI's name, devised to help students who cannot spell the whole thing.

Tute Screw

n. (RPI) To quote the Rensselaer Student Handbook, ``A peculiar device ... whichever way you turn it, it goes in.


n. A person who has had his common sense surgically removed.


n. (RPI) The god of high voltage, whose servants are known as Ni-Mo (q.v.). To commune with Ultor, poke a paper clip into the wall socket ...


n. A computer programmer who believes everything you tell him.


n. (RPI, pronounced ``Vee-See-See) The Voorhees Computing Center, often confused with the Chapel and Cultural Center as the seat of religious power on campus. Otherwise known as the Church of the Great Computer.


n. (1.) In mathematics, a one dimensional matrix. (2.) Someone who is falling off a tall building. Derives from the last cry of the falling body, ``I'm a vector!


n. Any vehicle capable of traveling faster than walking.


n. (RPI) The campus 10-kilowatt radio station that can be found 91.5 MHz on your FM radio dial, which specializes in not specializing in music. Pronounced ``Whirpee.


n. A new version of MTS that became operational in the Fall 84 semester. Translated, it means ``Extended Aggravation.


n. Pizza. Another staple of the Rensselaer Diet.


n. The huge vehicle that clears the ice in the Houston Field House. Not a good car for road trips.


n. Calzone, a folded-over za.


n. Air Force ROTC type.


v. To copy onto a reused piece of magnetic tape, e.g., cassette or video tape. Now who the heck does that anymore?