From Hull AWE
The word academical, first recorded in 1549, is comparatively little used these days.
- OED records three meanings of academical as an adjective marked as "rare", and one (the second, "2. = academic adj[ective] 2. [~ scholarly, intellectual]") is a usage that AWE does not recommend.
- The noun 'an academical'
- is sometimes used (against AWE's advice) in the same sense as academic to mean 'a member of the teaching staff of a university'. For this, AWE recommends academic, as the normal British usage;
- in HE circles, the plural academicals was formerly the common term for what is now usually called 'academic dress' - the gown, cap, hood etc worn on formal occasions such as graduation ceremonies. The term academicals was more common in the Ancient Universities before the second half of the twentieth century, when members of the universities were required to wear academic dress, if only gowns, on all official occasions, such as lectures, and even when walking in the town after dark.
- In much less academic circles, Academicals is often the name of a sports team, originally formed from old boys of a school called 'the [...] Academy', a common name for senior secondary schools in the traditional education system in Scotland. One football team which plays in the Scottish professional League is called Hamilton Academicals. It no longer picks its members from the old boys of Hamilton Academy. Like many other sports teams (the others are almost all amateur), formed from current or former students, it is known as The Accies: the formal name for those formed from current students is '... Academy', reserving the formal 'Academicals' for former students. The singular, Accy, is sometimes used to denote a former pupil of such a school.