Word of the Day – Wednesday, September 7th



Word of the Day


Clever Clue of the Month

The Cruciverbalist


Daily Email

ETON (EE-tuhn)

  1. A short black jacket with wide lapels and cut square at the hip

  2. An English secondary school

Common clues: Harrow rival; School on the Thames; School founded by Henry VI; Collar type; Preppy jacket; British prep school; English school

Crossword puzzle frequency: Once a month

Frequency in English language: 15109 / 86800

Video: A tour of Eton College

Eton uniform

Eton school is famous for its traditions, including a uniform of black tailcoat (or morning coat) and waistcoat, false-collar and pinstriped trousers. All students wear a white tie that is effectively a strip of cloth folded over into the collar. There are some variations in the school dress worn by boys in authority, see School Prefects and King's scholars sections.

The long-standing claim that the present uniform was first worn as mourning for the death of George III is unfounded. "Eton dress" has undergone significant changes since its standardisation in the 19th century. Originally (along with a top-hat and walking-cane) Etonian dress reserved for formal occasions, boys wear it today for classes, which are referred to as "schools". As stated above, King's Scholars wear a black gown over the top of their tailcoats, and occasionally a surplice in Chapel. Members of the teaching staff (known as Beaks) are required to wear a form of school dress when teaching.

From 1820 until 1967, boys under the height of 5'4" were required to wear the Eton suit, which replaced the tailcoat with the cropped Eton jacket (known colloquially as a "bum-freezer") and included an Eton collar, a large, stiff-starched, white collar. The Eton suit was copied by other schools and has remained in use in some, particularly choir schools.

Eton College is a public school (that is, an independent, fee-paying secondary school) for boys in Eton, Berkshire near Windsor in England.

Eton College Chapel

It boards approximately 1,200 boys between the ages of 13 and 18 who enjoy some outstanding facilities at a cost of over £23,000 (GBP) a year. As at most 'public schools', its pupils achieve very good exam results. 'Public schools' in the English sense are not state funded or run, rather they are the top independent secondary schools.

It is famous for its alumni (known as Old Etonians) and the archaic traditions it maintains, including a uniform of black tailcoat and waistcoat, false-collar and pin-striped trousers. The uniform was first worn as mourning for the death of George III, and the uniform is still worn today for classes (known as "divisions" or "divs".) Other idiosyncrasies include the Eton Field Game, the Eton Wall Game, and the remnants of a peculiar slang.

The school is popular with the Royal Family and has produced nineteen Prime Ministers. There are many old Etonians in the Special Air Service (SAS). See the list at the foot of this page for more well-known Old Etonians.

Quadrangle, Eton College

The King's College of Our Lady of Eton beside Windsor was founded in 1440 by Henry VI as a charity school to provide free education to seventy poor students who would then go on to King's College, Cambridge, founded by Henry VI in 1441. Henry VI took half the scholars and the headmaster from William of Wykeham's Winchester College (founded 1382). Eton is modelled on Winchester College, and became popular in the 17th century.

It is often suggested that the Duke of Wellington claimed "The Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing-fields of Eton". The credibility for this is believed by some to be dubious: Wellington briefly attended Eton, for which he had no great love, in the late 18th century, when the school had no playing fields or organised team sports, and the phrase was first recorded three years after the Duke's death. The Duke was, however, wildly popular at Eton, visiting many times later in his life.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Eton College".