the acahack


SELECTED DEFINITIONS (and examples of usage)



1. Cut with rough or heavy blows:  e.g. We watched them hack the purpose of higher education or Casual staff are generally the ones who hack at the coalface [of teaching in higher education.

1.1 Kick wildly or roughly:  e.g. She had to race to hack the essay into the submission box by the 9am deadline. (This was, of course, in the 1990s before online assessment submission was standard.)

2.  Gain unauthorized access to data in a system or computer: They hacked into the student engagement data, just because it was there and apparently not doing much of anything or Someone hacked his computer from another location, which was fairly easy to do as he didn’t have an office because he was a casual academic and always had to use the coffee-shop wifi.

{as noun} e.g. Outlawing hacking has not stopped it. Indeed it has only made it more attractive.

2.1.  […] Program quickly and roughly [see also:  ‘just-in-time’ decision making in higher education].

3.  Cough persistently She hacked and spluttered her way through her tutorial because she had no sick leave as a casual employee.

4. {USUALLY WITH NEGATIVE} (hack it) informal  – Manage; cope. Lots of people leave academia because they can’t hack the myriad ways it deviates from its core business and/or how it has pulverizes working lives and identities. See also: quit lit.


1.0 A rough cut, blow, or stroke: she knew that at least one reviewer would take a hack at the paper.

1.1 (In sport [/academia]) a kick … with a [verbal] stick inflicted on another player / institution / academic, who is not playing fair and/or otherwise behaving abominably. (it really is all fun and games, isn’t it.)

1.2. A notch cut in the ice, or a peg inserted, to steady the foot.  Used when delivering a lecture in very cold climates or outdoors near either of the poles – say, Greenland. Or Hobart.

1.3. A tool for rough striking or cutting, e.g. a sharp word or a curt reminder about what education should be all about.

1.4. archaic A gash or wound. Like that which is left on the psyche after working in the neo-liberal University for more than a decade and the rose-coloured glasses that were used to see higher education have well and truly fallen off.

1.5. informal An act of hacking

1.6. Providing a quick or inelegant solution to a particular problem See also: my ‘career path’

2.0. A mediocre writer

Phrasal verbs

hack around North American informal  Pass one’s time idly or with no definite purpose: she hacked around procrastinating.

hack someone off informal  Annoy or infuriate someone e.g. when something really hacks me off I’ll whinge about it on Twitter under @acahacker.

hack job In today’s universities?

*[XXX] = added / adapted

**And with thanks to the Oxford Dictionary from which this is adapted. I wanted the Macquarie Dictionary definitions for very particular reasons but this was not available for free online.


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