AskDefine | Define sizar

User Contributed Dictionary


Alternative forms



alterating derivation of size 'fixed portion' + -er


  1. at certain universities, e.g. Cambridge and Dublin, a student who receives an allowance for his college expenses (study grant); originally in return for serving other (paying) students.


Extensive Definition

A sizar formerly referred to students of limited means at the universities of Cambridge and Trinity College, Dublin, who were charged lower fees and obtained free food and/or lodging and other assistance during their period of study.
According to Alumni Dublinenses, most students entered college as Pensioners. In other words, they paid a fixed sum annually. The other two categories were: Sizar and Fellow Commoners (Socii Comitates). Sizars were "allowed free education in consideration of performing certain, at one time menial, duties"; Fellow Commoners paid double fees and enjoyed several privileges, including that of finishing the College course in three years instead of four. "Sizards were sons of poor parents, frequently the clergy"
The word sizar is thought to derive from the "sizes" or "sizings" (in turn a shortened form of "assize") which were the specified portions of food and drink made available at a fixed price at the college. One of the sizar's duties was to fetch the "sizes" for his colleagues.
The word sizarship is still used to refer to monetary awards made to members of a student body willing to take on defined jobs with responsibility. According to John Stillwell, "Sizars had to earn their keep as servants to the wealthier students [...]" .


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