In a NY Times op-ed written by a professor of mathematics disgruntled with the reigning misuse of the word "exponential," the author writes that "the first edition [late 1800s] of the Oxford English Dictionary got [the definition] right. 'Involving the unknown quantity or variable as an exponent' refers to formulas such as '2 to the power x' (2ˣ) for doubling or '3 to the power x' (3ˣ) for tripling."

I'm no mathematician, but does not the professor only further confuse readers in pronouncing the dictionary's definition "right"? — when, it seems to me, it is rather *misleading* to use the term "tripling." 3 x 3 is 9; 3 to the power of 3 is 27 ("cubing"). I understand what the professor is saying, but in his manner of saying it, does it not only add to readers' possible confusion? Or am I just an idiot who's overlooking something otherwise quite simple? Help me out here, you math people.