The Paris Review

The Academic’s Guide to Academese

The following definitions are culled from a critical glossary written by a group of Princeton graduate students and faculty. The glossary defines fifty-eight terms common to academic life, in a style intended “to prick both egos and consciences.”

Most generally, the ability, manner, or “knack” essential to the realization of some task or goal, especially when tricky or specialized (e.g., “the art of losing isn’t hard to master”). Also, a large class of objects and/or nonmaterial phenomena privileged for their putative

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