Georgetown University

What’s a hoya?

No one seems to know exactly when or how the term “Hoya Saxa” was first used at Georgetown. Many years ago, there was a team at Georgetown called the “Stonewalls,” and it is suggested that a student applied the Greek and Latin terms and dubbed them “Hoya Saxa,” meaning “what rocks!” Hoya has since become a nickname for Georgetown’s athletic teams and students.

Hoia is from the Greek word hoios, meaning “such a” or “what a.” The neuter plural of this word is hoia, which agrees with the neuter plural of the Latin word saxa, meaning rocks; thus we have hoya— substituting the letter “y” for “i.” Before 1900, every Georgetown student studied both Greek and Latin, so there was no need to explain what the expression meant.