Glossary / FAQs

Intro to Mensa-Speak & Related Mensa Jargon

Glossary of Typical Mensa Terms

Acronym for "Annual Business Meeting," somewhat akin to a shareholders meeting where members ask questions the leadership would prefer to avoid.

"Achieving Communications Excellence" - an award program to highlight local groups doing a good job of maintaining contact with each other.

Refers to "Annual Gathering," a yearly national event for all interested Mensans.

In Mensa-speak, the national board of directors is referred to as the "American Mensa Committee" - the governing body at the national level.

American Mensa, Ltd. - the US subsidiary of Mensa International, Limited; parent organization* of Rochester Area Mensa.  Occasionally referred to as "National."  (* National is organized into ten regions throughout the United States.)

A person designated to be in charge of activities, coordination, and/or communication in a subdivision of a local group.

Refers to one or more "Actions Still In Effect," or those actions in their entirety, which are pronouncements by the AMC on a regular basis of organizational mandates, their supersessions and obsoletions.

A favoite among well-connected Mensans, this is a weekly, email-based synopsis of concise, interesting, and relevant intellectual topics.  Built to broaden one's Mensa experience, it comes highly recommended.  Archived issues also available online.  View archived issues.

The term "bylaws" pertains to both AML as a whole and to individual local groups as well.  National bylaws were originally adopted in November of 1964 and were amended many times through 2017.  Read the bylaws.

Formal permission granted in the form of a document to a local group by AML to operate as an affiliate, or the document itself.  View a typical charter template.

Rochester Area Mensa → "RAM" → Ovis aries → Aries → Constellation.  The name Constellation was chosen many years ago as the name of our (usually) monthly newsletter publication.

The Constitution of Mensa is a collection of the governing principles, policies, and procedures of Mensa at an international level.  The Constitution of Mensa was adopted in April of 1982, amended 1982, 1985, 2005, 2009, and 2013.  Read the Constitution of Mensa

The 2IC or second in command for a local group, the notch just below LocSec.

The governing body of a Local Group (or SIG), stands for Executive Committee.

This pertains to the "Gifted Youth Coordinator, " whose job it is to see that gifted Young Mensans are also coordinated.

In this context, an amenity available at virtually all RGs and AGs providing snacks, beverages, and room to consume either or both among friends; a place where some attendees spend much of their RG / AG time.

International Board of Directors - The top-tier governing body of all things Mensa.

Isolated M is a SIG organized under the auspices of AML, originally designed to serve Mensans who did not belong to a particular group for a variety of reasons.  Today it may refer to the isolated M him- or herself, the publication of the group (Little Green Rag), or the actual SIG, which is open to all Mensans.

Where smart people continue to get even smarter; stands for "Leader Development Workshop."

International → National → Regional → Local Group → Area.  Rochester Area Mensa is a Local Group that covers all or part of 14 western New York counties, roughly halfway to Buffalo, halfway to Syracuse, from Lake Ontario to the PA line.

Head honcho at the local level - short for Local Secretary.  Some groups opt for "President" or something similar instead; We're looking for suggestions for an appropriate title that we might include when our bylaws document is updated.

A shorthanded way of referring to a Mensan, sometimes perhaps surreptitiously. e.g. "I've never been introduced, but I'm sure he's an 'M'."

Sometimes used to refer to a 'couple' of Ms, possibly but not always becoming a couple after meeting through Mensa.

An online forum for all Mensans, segregated into communities such as local groups, officer positions, special interest groups, and more.  It's kind of like Facebook, except without the ads, without the security breaches, without all the family members / in-laws / highschool pals / college pals / ex-partners / and others you'd rather not see anyway, and without the undue foreign influence.  Members can visit Mensa Connect now.  You will be required to log-in.

AML distributes scholarships and other educational awards and recognition through the Mensa Foundation.  Awards and recognition are bestowed upon researchers, creative achievers, distinguished teachers, societal benefactors, purveyors of theoretical or applied achievement in the area of intelligence, and press reporters or editors who promote intelligence.  (Formerly referred to as MERF, or Mensa Educational Research Foundation.)

This term is used right here on our website; it stands for "Members-Only Section."  The MOS is a password-protected area of the website, and it requires users to log-in using their credentials as supplied by AML / National.  Typically, you will need your email address as listed with AML and your current password.  Visit the Members-Only Section now.

Mpedia is an independent website, not associated, owned, or endorsed by Mensa in any way, that acts as a compendium of not-otherwise-catalogued information about Mensa, which may or may not be accurate.  Visit Mpedia.com

Stands for "National Office;" Loosely another name for AML / National, but usually referring more to the group of people who comprise the professional staff who do an excellent job of running the business of Mensa and supporting local chapter members.

Vacancies among local group, regional, or national officers are first addressed by a Nominating Committee, whose job it is to identify, motivate, and nominate candidates for vacant offices.

Typically among the first Mensans many people meet, the proctor administers admission tests for Mensa candidates.

Our nickname / acronym for Rochester Area Mensa.

International → National → Regional → Local Group → Area.  Rochester Area Mensa is contained within Region 3, Great Lakes & Ohio Valley Region.

Refers to "Regional Gathering" - an event held in various locations but loosely focused on any one of the ten defined AML regions of the United States.

Stands for "Regional Vice Chair" - the person in charge of an entire region who coordinates and supports the local groups.

Acronym for Special Interest Group, a subset of Mensa based on a specific interest or activity.

Acronym for Service of Information, Guidance, and Hospitality to Travelers.

Mensa members under the age of 18 are frequently referred to as "YMs" or Young Mensans.

FAQ Topics

Mensa's purposes are:
  • to identify and foster human intelligence for the benefit of humanity;
  • to encourage research into the nature, characteristics, and uses of intelligence; and
  • to provide a stimulating intellectual and social environment for its members.

In the best of circumstances, these three goals are the glue that holds our organization together.  We value this common purpose enough to including its entirety on every page of this website.

There are more opinions on this topic than there are Mensans, but most often it seems the benefits cited by Mensans center on some form of interacting with like-minded people.  You can read about why people join Mensa in a variety of public blog posts.

In addition to that, there are group buying-power benefits, such as discounts on car insurance, hotels/motels, travel, computers, books, and more.  We have an entire page devoted to the Benefits of Mensa.

But perhaps most importantly, there is a sense of belonging, and a committment to the common core beliefs that comprise the Purpose of Mensa.  (Please see the FAQ topic immediately above.)  In its simplest form, we value intelligence and the amazing things we can do with it by working together.

Rochester Area Mensa was founded October 1, 1975.  That makes it 15973 days old as of today.

Oh!  Okay. That's 43 years.

79 bucks, 'til it changes.  Some people in Mensa have been schooled in the concepts of fixed expense versus variable expense, and they might tell you a good way to avoid membership dues increases is to make sure our membership base grows faster than our expenses.  This is another example of how we can be smarter together:  If you know any smart people, and you probably do, invite them to join!

Click the envelope,
Email your feedback,
Make us happy!

Mensa's purposes are: to identify and foster human intelligence for the benefit of humanity; to encourage research into the nature, characteristics, and uses of intelligence; and to provide a stimulating intellectual and social environment for its members. ~ from the Constitution of Mensa

As an organization, Mensa has no opinions.  Mensa has no ideological, philosophical, political, or religious views or affiliations.

But as individuals, we tend to make up for it:  Mensans usually have two or more opinions on any given topic.  Bright people have the ability to view almost any issue from several perspectives, often simultaneously. 

As an organization, Mensa has no
opinions.  Mensa has no ideological,
philosophical, political, or religious
views or affiliations.

But as individuals, we tend to make up for it:  Mensans
usually have two or more opinions on any given topic.
Bright people have the ability to view almost any issue
from several perspectives, often simultaneously. 

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