Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

December 2008

New Year’s Eve

Although champagne has become as de rigueur as midnight strikes – no single food epitomizes contemporary New Year’s. The menu may be luxurious caviar, or sobering hoppin’ John on New Year’s Day. Celebrations marking the inexorable march of Father Time often involve foods imbued with symbolism.

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Etymology and Scandal

In the course of this month, two journalists have approached me with questions related to political scandals. My answers, neither of which has been printed in full, may perhaps interest the readers of our blog. They regarded the typicality of phrases such as Ponzi schemes, and using names as verbs.

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“I Want to Hold Your Hand,” 26 December 1963

For many of us in the British Commonwealth, Boxing Day can bring back memories of visiting family and friends, even as modernity transforms the date from an opportunity to exchange gifts between one another into one on which you return gifts at shopping malls. For Americans, it’s an anachronism.

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