Green’s Dictionary of Slang

fresher n.

also fresh, freshie
[SE freshman; one of the last survivors of the -er sfx, which once offered ‘Pragger Wagger’, the Prince of Wales, ‘wagger pagger bagger’, waste paper basket etc.]

1. (UK/US campus) a student in their first term at a university.

[UK] ‘Vincent Eden’ in Bentley’s Misc. 316: He [...] was told that he could not have a fresher than the gentleman in the coffee-room. The luggage was accordingly huddled into the barrow, and the embryo collegian was stepping into the street. [Ibid.] 319: They generally put fresh gentlemen in the back buildings.
Oxford & Camdidge Undergraduate's Jrnl 13 199: Freshers, if there are many of them together generally contrive to light upon those who are of their owu tastes and pursuits.
Cambridge Rev. 6 313: There has been plenty of cricket in the shape of the Freshers’ match.
[US]W.C. Gore Student Sl. in Cohen (1997) 6: fresh or freshie n. Freshman.
[UK]Boy’s Own Paper 17 Nov. 110: Dressed in flannels, long trousers – they must be long to proclaim to the world that you are only a ‘Fresher’.
[US]E.H. Babbitt ‘College Words and Phrases’ in DN II:i 37: fresh, n. A freshman [...] freshie, n. A freshman.
A. Baer Picked for 1920 24 Nov. [synd. col.] The profs sent him back to the freshies with this sign on his skull: ‘Opened by Mistake’.
Ottowa Campus 10 Oct. 2/3: Oh, to be a fresh again, I sure would study more.
[UK]Wodehouse Inimitable Jeeves 123: He was in his fourth year at Oxford when I was a fresher.
[US]H.W. Brecht Downfall 257: That’s what happens when an insignificant freshie has a little luck.
[US]J. Conroy World to Win 121: Look at that Goddamn fairy, Ralph Gibson [...] Look at the way he shakes it up. He’s tried to make every freshie on the campus.
[Ire]P. Howard PS, I Scored the Bridesmaids 22: Three or four freshers, total airheads, roysh.

2. a new arrival among a group of soldiers.

[UK]B.J. Brookes diary 6 Nov. [Internet] Freshers are always so eager to hear tale of the Front.