I fell in love with the Stanfordese term drofnatS the first time I saw it. As a natural born geek, I'd been practicing mirror writing since kindergarten or thereabouts, long before I found out about Leonardo da Vinci and his penchant for using it, thus, I instantly recognized what this word signified. The term drofnatS is, of course, the word Stanford spelled or written backward helpfully including a capital letter S at the end --- in case, you somehow missed the reference.

In my mind, "drofnatS" instantly conjured up an alien or at least German --- joking --- insect, awkwardly plopped down on this odd (from the alien's point of view) planet, zooming around building nests as it tries to make sense of Earth. Considering the cache of attending a university like Stanford and the sort of people, often stylized as "nerds," whom the University attracts, this word as my mind defined it seemed an apt metaphor for a Stanford student or alumni. To me, the word seemed to epitomize Stanford. (BTW, I'm also an amateur entomologist.)

I first found a reference to the term in a 1920s Quad (the old Stanford University Yearbook), that I bought as a curiosity at a library book sale. The term was used to describe Stanford students during the Roaring 20s, appropriately enough as "drofnats men" and "drofnats women." So it would seem we Stanford folk have virtually always been a little outre, counter-culture, or ahead of the curve. Aliens bringing the world up to (or in some cases, down to) our supposedly erudite level.

It's important to note that not every student was a drofnats man or woman. It wasn't automatic, but instead, an earned appellation. By its context --- in this 1920s Quad at least --- the term was reserved for a special class of student, those who distinguished themselves or were standouts in some manner. The seemingly tongue-in-cheek phrase was oft repeated throughout the yearbook in reference to a "real drofnats man or woman" doing X or Y, the implication being that those who did not qualify as "real drofnats" were mere pretenders.

When I find a word that I like I usually write it down, I make note of it. I keep lists. I add the word/s to my vocabulary. With drofnatS, I also determined to make use of it somehow, perhaps as part of a business name --- and was the original register of the domain name, drofnats.com back in the fledgling days of the web with the thought being to make something of it. (I allowed the registration to lapse as I didn't immediately do anything with the domain, and it was claimed by an unknown.)

Now that I'm finally moving ahead with a Stanford related project, I've resurrected the term with an appended EDU both in homage to .edu (the tld or top-level domain reserved for educational institutions) and in an effort to differentiate my concepts from the vernacular usage. I plan to use the Drofnats Edu™ (also stylized as, Drofnats EDU™) brand as an umbrella for all the fun, quirky educational resources, gear and other items that I am developing as a direct result of my matriculation at Stanford University. The Drofnats Edu Lex(icon) is the first of what I hope will be several such tools.

As I lost my originally planned upon domain name for all things Stanfordian, I shifted over to drofnats.us (the .us stands for U. S., as it's the tld of the United States, but of course, it can be read or pronounced as the word us), which may actually turn out to be a more in sync rendering of the vernacular for my purposes than .com was. I am a sucker for wordplay. Call me Wordy Nerdy (a brand motto).

In response to the curious query, "What's a drofnats? Who are drofnats?" Another brand motto answers "We are Drofnats, Drofnats are us."

Welcome! You are now enrolled in Drofnats Edu™. Please promptly remit your tuition. (I got jokes for days.)

-- Θεα, Editor-in-Chief

DISCLAIMER: Drofnats Edu™ is a servicemark of Castle Modern™. Our brand is not affiliated with Stanford University (well, beyond the fact that it was created by a Stanford alumna).

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