1. Academic life and interests. Professors, students, tenure, publish or perish, journals and final exams -- all that good stuff.

2. The academic environment.

The word academia comes from the Akademeia in Greece, near Athens. Akademeia was made famous in scholarly circles by Plato's Academy, founded about 385 BC. The word doesn't actually have anything to do with schools and study; Akademia literally means "the grove of Akademos" in Greek. Akademos was a minor Greek hero who helped to rescue Helen of Troy.

Those of us with retarded senses of humor take this as license to call Nethack, Diablo, and especially Super Mario Brothers (who are also rescuing a princess) as academic endeavors. Sorry. Nevermind.

Here are some sample usages, blatantly stolen from random webpages:

"I'm not convinced that academia operates solely on an aggressive exertion of privilege."

"The Village Voice offers a pretty interesting piece on blogging in academia."

"Not to take anything away from academia and the news media, but..."

A clerk ther was of Oxenford also,
That unto logyk hadde longe ygo.
As leene was his hors as is a rake,
And he nas nat right fat, I undertake,
But looked holwe and therto sobrely.
Ful thredbare was his overeste courtepy;
For he hadde geten hym yet no benefice,
Ne was so worldly for to have office.
For hym was levere have at his beddes heed
Twenty bookes, clad in blak or reed,
Of Aristotle and his philosophie,
Than robes riche, or fithele, or gay sautrie.
But al be that he was a philosophre,
Yet hadde he but litel gold in cofre;
But al that he myghte of his freendes hente,
On bookes and on lernynge he it spente,
And bisily gan for the soules preye
Of hem that yaf hym wherwith to scoleye.
Of studie took he moost cure and moost heede.
Noght o word spak he moore than was neede,
And that was seyd in forme and reverence,
And short and quyk, and ful of hy sentence;
Sownynge in moral vertu was his speche,
And gladly wolde he lerne, and gladly teche.

Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, General Prologue, lines 287-310: The Clerk

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