town and gown

In a college town, the relations between “town and gown” are those between the residents of the town and the students and faculty associated with the school, who in the past wore academic gowns. Such relations are often not friendly or pleasant.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Examples from the Web for town and gown

Historical Examples of town and gown

  • These town-and-gown fights were often attended by fatal results.

    Old and New Paris, v. 2

    Henry Sutherland Edwards

  • The town-and-gown riots took the place of sports, that's all.

  • There had been no town-and-gown feeling existing similar to what prevailed in places of greater pretensions.

    Uppingham by the Sea

    John Henry Skrine


Idioms and Phrases with town and gown

town and gown

The inhabitants of a college or university town and the students and personnel of the college, as in There used to be friction between town and gown but the new parking lots have eased it. The gown in this expression alludes to the academic robes traditional in British universities. [Early 1800s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.