Sorority Family Terminology: The Complete Glossary

Are you overwhelmed and confused by all the sorority family terminology? Don’t fret! I got you covered with this complete glossary of sorority family terminology.

Your Sorority Family will be one of the greatest and dearest parts of your sorority life. However, Sorority Families can get quite confusing when trying to figure out who is who.

Just like your “normal” family, there are your immediate family members like your mom, dad, and siblings. But then once you branch off to your aunt, your uncle, your cousins, and so forth, it can get pretty confusing who is who.

The same situation applies to Sorority Families–there’s just a lot of people who make up a Sorority Family tree.

If you’re feeling lost and confused at your Sorority Family get-togethers or are a New Member want to exactly know what a Sister means when she says, “her twin,” but you know for a fact that she doesn’t have a biological twin–then you’re in the right place.

In today’s blog post, I am giving you the complete glossary of Sorority Family terminology and I’m breaking it down each term in a way that even your father would be able to understand!

We will also discuss at the end how Sorority Families are structured and how multiples in sororities work, because I know it can get pretty confusing!

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Who is who? Must-know sorority family terminology:

With there being so many women who can make up a Sorority Family, it is only appropriate to give them a proper title.

If you are confused about who is who in your Sorority Family this glossary of Sorority Family terminology was made just for you.

The Complete Glossary of Sorority Family Terminology

Aunt: If your Sorority Big is a multiple, meaning a twin, triplet, quadruplet, etc., then those girls are considered your Sorority Aunt(s). So for example, if you sorority Big had a Twin, her Twin would be your Sorority Aunt.

Big: What is a Big in a sorority? Your Sorority Big is your main go-to-girl in the sorority. She is your mentor, your cheerleader, your “mom”..she is the girl that you were mutually paired with after meeting with countless other Sisters in your chapter and turning in your preference list on the day of Big Little Selection. You picked your Big out of every other girl wanting you to become her Little and she is now your forever Big!

You may also like: 13 Trendy Paddle Design Ideas for Your Sorority Big

Cousin: If your Sorority Big is a multiple, for example, she has a Twin, then whoever your Sorority Big’s Twin’s Littles are technically your Sorority Cousins.

God Big: This girl is someone in the chapter who your Big has chosen to be your “Big” if something were to ever happen to her (ok, it isn’t that deep), but essentially this is a girl that your Sorority Big is very close with and really, it’s just a cute title to give her Sorority BFF.

God Little: If you have a God Big, then you are considered her God Little. Or if you are a God Big, then you would have a God Little. She is not your official Little, but you look after her like she was.

Grand Big (G-Big): Ever wondered what the heck G-Big means? It means Grand Big and this girl is your Sorority Big’s Big, so you can kinda think of her as your Sorority Grandma.

Grand Little (G-Little): These girl(s) are your Sorority Little’s Littles. So if you have a Little of your own and she goes through the process of finding a Little, then whomever she gets as a Little, they become your Grand Little(s) and you get promoted to a G-Big.

Great Grand Big (GG-Big): What is a GG-Big and what are there so many G’s? A GG-Big is your Great Grand Big. She is your Grand Big’s Big. So think of her as your Great Grandmother in the Sorority. Most likely, you may never meet your GG-Big because she has already graduated, but she is always there in spirit.

Little: This is a Big’s mentoree. Some Sorority Bigs even like calling their Littles their children. And, if you yourself choose to become a Sorority Big, then whoever you get paired with the night of Big Little selection becomes your Little. You can also have multiple littles (twins, triplets, quadruplets, etc.) if you have a ton of love, time, and money to go around to new members in your chapter.

Niece: If you have a Sorority Twin, Sorority Triplet, or Sorority Quadruplet, then whoever their Littles are are considered your Sorority Nieces. And of course, you can also have Grand Nieces if your Sorority Nieces have Littles themselves.

Panhellenic / Pan Big: This is a girl who is in another Sorority who you consider to be a mentor to you. It’s not an official Big Little relationship by any means, but it is great to have a Pan Big to help you connect with other sorority women in other chapters and get an outsider’s perspective about sorority life.

Panhellenic / Pan Little: If you have a Pan Big, then you are her Pan Little. Or if you are a Pan Big to someone, then whoever you are a Pan Big to is your Pan Little. It’s a girl you mentor from another sorority chapter on campus, but again, this is not an official Big Little relationship, but it is a great relationship to have.

Pseudo Big: Ok, so what is a Pseudo Big? A Pseudo Big (or Adopted Big) is a Big who “adopts” you and becomes your new official Big if your original Sorority Big Little relationship does not work out and you two part ways.

Pseudo Little: If you have been adopted by another girl in your chapter after a fallout with your previous Sorority Big, then you become her Pseudo Little or Adopted Little. If you yourself adopt a girl in your chapter and become her Pseudo or Adopted Big, then they are considered your Pseudo Little or Adopted Little.

Quadruplet: If your Sorority Big has four littles, then you are a considered a Quadruplet. Or if you yourself have four Littles, then you have Quadruplets. It is super rare to have Quadruplets, but if you have adopted a Little (or two) then it can be pretty easy to expand the Sorority Family.

Sorority Family: This is the entire collection of women in your chapter who have been paired together through the Big Little selection process and are considered “related” to one another. Your Sorority Family is made up of your GG-Big, G-Big, Big, Littles, their Littles, etc. Some Sorority Families can be large and some can be quite small if they have broken off from a larger sorority family due to disputes or are wanting to start fresh.

Sorority Family tree branch: This is your subset of girls in your Sorority Family that are in your “main” lineage. This usually includes your Sorority Big and your Sorority Little(s). Think of your sorority family tree branch as the equivalent to your immediate family in real life.

Sorority Family tree name: This is the name or nickname you give your Sorority Family. It is not an official name by any means, but having a Sorority Family name can be fun to reference to on social media, like Instagram, and can help distinguish your Sorority Family from others in your chapter. If you are looking for cute and creative sorority family tree names, I have a master list of sorority family tree name ideas you can check out by clicking here.

Stack photo: A stack photo is the go-to family photo of Sorority Families. It is easy to do and looks super cute no matter what! Essentially it is photo where the “oldest” family member, so for example your G-Big, will be on the “top of the stack” and then your Big, you, and then your Littles (if you have any). Think of it as a cheerleading pyramid without you having to climb on top of each other. Some people also equivocate this to how meerkats pose.

Triplet: If your Sorority Big took not just two, but three Littles, then you are considered a triplet. Triplets are quite rare, but being a Sorority Triplet can be a unique experience depending on how your Sorority Big approaches the relationship. And if you yourself have three Littles, then you have Triplets.

Twin: What is a Sorority Twin? And how can you be a twin with someone who is not biologically related to you? I know it’s weird to think of someone not biologically related to you as your twin (and this is coming from a girl who has a biological twin in real life), but essentially–if your Sorority Big has two Littles, you are considered a Twin. I personally was a Sorority Twin and loved it because she was my built-in sorority BFF.

How are sorority families structured?

Every sorority family’s structure begins with its “core” or immediate members.

In most cases, it will be the Grand Big (G-Big for short), Big, and Little, which we will define in a bit.

The G-Big serves as the base of the family tree and then the family tree expands to her little (your Big) and then their little (you).

To help you out (and because who doesn’t love a good diagram), here are two diagrams of a basic sorority family tree structure:

This is a diagram of what a simple sorority family tree would look like. In this diagram, there is a Grand Big, Big, and Little in a vertical line.

A simple family tree where each Sorority Family only has one person below them on the tree.

This is a diagram of a more complex sorority family tree. In this diagram, the Grand Big is at the top and then she has one little, which on the diagram is labeled as "Big." Then from "Big" it branches off into two to represent her two Littles.

A Sorority Family tree where the G-Big only has one Little (called Big on the tree) and then the G-Big’s Little (the Big) has two Littles (Little and Little).

However, most Sorority Families are a lot more complex than the two diagrams above.

And just wait until you start browsing family stack photos on Instagram, you’ll really start questioning who is who!

But here’s what a typical Sorority Family tree may look like:

This is a diagram of what a typical sorority family tree would look like. There is a Grand Big who is at the top, followed by her little, which is labeled as "Big" on the diagram. Then from the Big, it branches off to her two Littles and then their respective Grand Littles below. On the diagram, there is one Grand Big, one Big, two of the Big's Littles, and has two littles of her own and the other one has one little and those are labeled as "grand little."

For this Sorority Family tree, the Grand Big has one Little (referred to as Big on the diagram) and then the Grand Big’s Little (referred to as Big) has two Littles (Little and Little). Then each Little has their own Little: the one of the left has two Littles of her own (Grand Little and Grand Little) and the Little on the right has one Little (Grand Little).

How do multiples work in sororities?

Having Sorority Twins, Triplets, or even in extreme cases, Quadruplets can be confusing to New Members or people not familiar with sorority life.

Essentially, if a Big has two Littles, they are considered Twins. If she has three, Triplets. Four, Quadruplets, and so forth.

Twins are more common than Triplets and Twins are way more common than Quadruplets.

However, there are Sorority Bigs out there who love having tons of Littles and do a great job at mentoring all of them fairly.

So can you be a Twin, Triplet, or Quadruplet with a sorority girl not in your same pledge class?

Yes! You can.

So being a Twin, Triplet, or Quadruplet is not pledge class dependent.

Meaning, you can become a Twin, Triplet, or Quadruplet with girls in your chapter who are from a pledge class above you or below you.

For example, my Sorority Twin and I were from two different pledge classes. I was Fall Pledge Class 2016 and she was Spring Pledge Class 2017 yet we are still considered Twins.

I know its weird and not very logical, but that’s just how sororities work as you’ll come to find out.

Concluding thoughts sorority family terminology

Figuring out who is who in a Sorority Family can be exhausting!

However, I hope this glossary of sorority family terminology has helped you get a little more familiar with the terms you may hear during sorority recruitment, chapter meetings, and casual hangouts with other sorority sisters.

And if all else fails and you’re seriously lost on who is who in your Sorority Fam, just ask your Sorority Big, I bet she’d be more than happy to help you navigate the family tree.

If you loved this post on sorority family terminology, then you may love these posts as well:

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