Fraternity Folk Speech-Biz

Info on the Informant: The informant, Jack McGeagh, is one of my best friends and is a fellow classmate who is in the same fraternity as I am. Both he and I pledged in the Fall of 2015 and were exposed to many new traditions and rituals. Jack is from the Pacific Palisades on the coast of Los Angeles. He is 19 years old and studies psychology as his major. He is currently a Freshman at USC.

Me: “Can you give an overview of the origin of biz and the significance it has on our fraternity?”

Jack: “As a pledge in the fall of 2015, our pledge class was told by our peers in the house that were not allowed to say the number ‘5.’ We were instead told that we had to say the word ‘biz’ as a replacement of ‘5’.” The exact origin of this is that when playing the game beer die, a popular college drinking game, a player throws a die on a table and if it rolls on ‘5,’ the person who threw the die has to drink his whole cup. Although we were not 21 and didn’t participate in the games, we were still held to a standard of always saying ‘biz’ instead of’ ‘5.” Some people in the house saw it as a thing you do just as a pledge while others in the house maintained the tradition of saying ‘biz’ all the way up until they were seniors. The actual phrase ‘biz’ comes from an old active in the house who graduated and made up the term as an alternative to say 5. I can’t actually remember the reason why he chose biz but there was more meaning behind it. That’s essentially how it all came to be and how it became so engrained in everyone in our fraternities’ heads.

Analysis: The action of saying biz is one of the arbitrary, pointless fraternity traditions that is mostly created for humor and to give the pledges another hiccup on their way to becoming an active of the house. Although it does not have objective meaning, it is a funny thing to bring up in a conversation to those in the fraternity.