Why Are Sororities and Fraternities “Greek”? (2)


While the society continued on through members initiated at Yale and Harvard, no other Greek letter society was formed until 1821, when Chi Delta Theta was founded at Yale. From this point on, Greek organizations shifted more towards the development of friendship and brotherhood being the primary purpose. These societies upheld scholarship but moved away from the original literary forum and debate-based structure that was exemplified by the original Latin societies.


Women were inspired by the comradery of these Greek fraternities and began forming their own women’s fraternities starting in 1851. These first women’s fraternities were given Greek-inspired names such as The Adelphian Society, The Philomathean Society, and I. C. Sorosis. Later, these organizations took Greek letter names: Alpha Delta Pi, Phi Mu, and Pi Beta Phi. Over time, increasing numbers of women’s fraternities were founded with Greek letter names.


The word “Sorority” was first given to the women’s fraternity Gamma Phi Beta in 1882 after a Latin professor coined the term. Ever since, the terms sorority and women’s fraternity have been interchangeable. Sororities and fraternities continued to be founded and expanded into additional chapters, creating the Greek life culture that we know today.

Maddie Joy

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