Oxbridge is a composite of the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge which are most famous in England and the term is now used to refer to them collectively, often with implications of perceived superior intellectual or social status. Oxbridge can be used as a noun referring to either or both universities or as an adjective describing them or their students.
“牛桥”是一个合成词，是英国两所最知名的大学牛津大学和剑桥大学的合称。 现在这个词常用来代指这两所大学，通常寓示着更高等的教育或社会地位。“牛桥” 可以作为一个普通名词使用，指代两所大学里任何一个学校，也可以用作一个形容词 来修饰这两所大学或它们的学生。
Although both universities were founded more than seven centuries ago, the term Oxbridge is relatively young. In William Thackeray's novel Pendennis, published in 1849, the main character Pendennis wants to attend the fictional College, Oxbridge, but failed. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, this is the first recorded instance of the word. Virginia Woolf used it, citing Thackeray, in her 1929 essay A Room of One's Own. By 1957 the term was used in the Times Educational Supplement and in Universities Quarterly by 1958. Thackeray's Pendennis also introduced the term Camford as another combination of the university names, but this term has never achieved the same degree of usage as Oxbridge.
尽管两所大学都建成于7个多世纪以前，“牛桥”这个说法却相对年轻。英国作 家威廉萨克雷1849年完成的小说《潘登尼斯》中的主人公想进入一所叫“牛桥”的 大学求学却没有被录取。根据牛津英语词典,这是关于这个词的最早记载。弗吉尼亚伍 尔夫曾经在她1929年的散文《一个人的屋子》中引用了这个词。1957年，泰晤士报 的教育增刊用到了这个词，1958年大学季刊也使用了这个词。萨克雷在《潘登尼斯》 中还创造了这两所大学的另外一个合成词“剑津”，但这个词从来就没有“牛桥”的 使用频率高。
Oxbridge is often used as shorthand for characteristics that the two institutions share. Firstly, they are the two oldest universities in continuous operation in England. Both were founded more than 800 years ago, and continued as England's only universities until the 19th century. Between them they have educated a large number of Britain’s most prominent scientists, writers and politicians, as well as noted figures in many other fields. Besides, they have established similar institutions and facilities such as printing houses, botanical gardens, museums, and debating societies. In addition, both universities comprise many buildings of great beauty and antiquity，sited on level terrain ideal for cycling, near slow- moying rivers suitable for rowing and punting. At each of the universities there is a college which has a ^Bridge of Sighs”，although neither resembles the original Bridge of Sighs in Venice.
牛桥通常被用来指代两所大学共有的特征。首先，他们是英国历史最为久远的两 所大学。他们都有超过800年的建校史,直至19世纪，他们仍是英格兰仅有的两所大学。 英国最著名的科学家、作家和政治家及其他各界几乎所有的知名人士都出自这两所大 学。此外，他们还有相似的机构和设施，比如出版社、植物园、博物馆、辩论社等。 两所大学还都有许多漂亮的古建筑，坐落在地势平坦的地方，旁边有静静流淌的河流， 在这里骑车、划船，撑篙十分惬意。两所大学各有一座“叹息桥”，尽管和威尼斯的 叹息桥重名，但它们截然不同。
Oxford and Cambridge also share a common collegiate structure: each university is composed of more than 30 autonomous colleges, which provide the environments in which groups of students live, work and sleep. Applicants must choose a specific college when applying to Oxford or Cambridge, or allow the university to select one for them, as all undergraduate and graduate students must be a member of one of the university colleges. All Oxbridge colleges are part of the university, and students studying the same subject are given lectures together, irrespective of which college they attend.
牛津和剑桥有着相似的组织结构：它们都由30多所独立学院组成。学生们可以在 这样的氛围中一起住宿、工作和休息。申请人在申请这两所大学的时候必须选择一个 特定的学院，或者让校方为学生选择学院，因为所有的本科生和研究生必须成为某个 学院的一员。牛桥的每个学院都是大学的一部分，不管在哪个学院，选择同样课程的 学生都在一起上课。
Competition between Oxford and Cambridge also has a long history, dating back to around 1209 when Cambridge was founded by scholars taking refuge from hostile townsmen in Oxford.