Pax, Oprah Winfrey


Hi everyone:

I'm an Asian who don't know much about American popular culture. Please tell me what does "Pax, Oprah Winfrey" refer to in the following sentences: "In other words, dopamine is the chemical equivalent of an aha moment (Pax, Oprah Winfrey). Order a slice of chocolate cake in a restaurant and there’ll be little dopamine released in your brain. But if that café spontaneously produces a slice complete with a candle on your birthday, dopamine neurons will spurt."

  • Mahantongo

    Senior Member
    English (U.S.)
    "Pax" is the Latin word for "peace". In this usage the nominative form "pax" is uncommon; as used here, it is normally found in its ablative form of pace. Here is the Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of this word used this way:
    : contrary to the opinion of —usually used as an expression of deference to someone's contrary opinion —usually ital.
    <easiness is a virtue in grammar, pace old-fashioned grammarians — Philip Howard>

    The writer is saying that the famous talk-show host Oprah Winfrey would probably disagree with his statement.
    Yes, the normal usage is the ablative case, pace, which is probably best translated in this context as "in peace".

    In my experience it's a shorthand way of saying "Look, I know Oprah Winfrey will disagree with this, but in my opinion ....". In other words, the writer is trying to pre-empt an argument by recognising that there is a valid contrary opinion.
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