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(definition) by RubenAzarja (print)

Terp (?), n.

Frisian (and Dutch) word for a historical refuge hill in a frequently flooded area. Best single word description in English would be mound or knoll. Also: village (old Frisian) or burial mound.

             A terp can be as high as 15 m. Van Dale

Many cities in Friesland have been built on a terp. In Groningen, this refuge hill is called wierde.


  1. A player on a sports team for the University of Maryland, College Park.
  2. A student, alumnus, or other member of the University.

The mascot University of Maryland, College Park is the diamondback terrapin, and the sports teams (or perhaps any competitive school team of any sort) are known as the Maryland Terrapins. Since terrapin is a bit of a mouthful, people often refer to them by nickname the Terps. As is customary with such terms at many other schools, the term can also be used to refer to students, alumni, other people affiliated with the University.

A lot of the sports and other university merchandise and advertising uses the term “Terps”, often baring phrases such as,

Go Terps!


Terp is also a shortened or slang version for interpreter, this is popular with the military. Example: "Can you get a terp to "translate" for us?"

This is not used as a put-down or in a bad way, although it is usually used in reference to a local citizen. This is just another way of shortening up words for use in the military lingo. Terp is probably also used like this in other areas, but this is the most prevalent use of it that I have seen.

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