Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Title cover of "Dangerous Crooked Scoundrels: Insulting the President from Washington to Trump" by Edwin L. Battistella, published by Oxford University Press

What’s coming down the pike?

During the news coverage of the COVID pandemic, I enjoyed seeing Dr Anthony Fauci on television and hearing his old-school Brooklyn accent. My favorite expression to listen for was his use of “down the pike” to mean “in the future.”

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Title cover of "Dangerous Crooked Scoundrels: Insulting the President from Washington to Trump" by Edwin L. Battistella, published by Oxford University Press

What does a technical writer do?

When people think about careers in writing, they may focus on writing novels or films, poetry or non-fiction. But for steady work, there is nothing like technical writing.

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Word Origins

A rake’s etymological progress to hell

Three English words sound as rake: the garden instrument, the profligate, and a sailing term meaning “inclination from the perpendicular.” Though at first sight, they do not seem to be connected, I’ll try to show that their histories perhaps intertwine.

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Title cover of "Dangerous Crooked Scoundrels: Insulting the President from Washington to Trump" by Edwin L. Battistella, published by Oxford University Press

When meanings go akimbo

The realization started with the word akimbo. I had first learned it as meaning a stance with hands on the hips, and I associated the stance with the comic book image of Superman confronting evildoers. Body language experts sometimes call this a power pose, intended to project confidence or dominance.

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