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Animalogy \ The Animals in Our Everyday Words & Phrases

A Society, Culture and Education podcast
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Have you ever been "fleeced"? Have you ever "gone in search of the golden fleece" or "pulled the wool over someone's eyes"? Are your opinions "dyed in the wool"? In today's episode of Animalogy, I discuss the animal origins of these words and expre…
We have many words built from the English word for "bear," the Latin word for "bear," and the Greek word for "bear," and we have many expressions and phrases built from the same ursine animal. Of course there are also expressions using the verb "to…
The word “fly” is a very old word, and of course we have many expressions and nouns that contain the word "fly" itself, but do you know that there are dozens of familiar words whose origins reside in flies and other winged insects? 
In a pivotal scene in David Lynch’s film, The Elephant Man, the main character turns on those who are cruelly taunting him and declares “I am not an elephant! I am not an animal! I am a human being! I...am...a man.” The crowd disperses. Ever since …
If I asked you to name some cities and countries named after animals, how many could you come up with? You might think of obvious ones, such as Buffalo NY; Beaver, UY; White Horse, NJ; or Eagle River in Ontario; or Weston-Under-Lizard near Birmingh…
"Piggyback" has nothing to do with pigs! In fact, there are many seemingly animal-related words and phrases in the English language that have nothing to do with animals at all! In today’s episode, I offer up the backstory to words such as piggyback…
By now you would have listened to the Animalogy episodes about the words muscle, coccyx, and tragus — all parts of our body. All words from animals. Today, we have an entire episode on a number of other terms for parts of our anatomy that have anim…
The word meat goes back at least as far as 731 AD, but it didn't mean then what it does today. Its meaning was much broader. Understanding the history and evolution of the word can go a long way in normalizing plant-based meats and eschewing the de…
Whereas the word veal in English simply means “flesh of a calf” and pork in English means “flesh of a pig used as food,” hidden in many of the Anglo-Saxon/Old English and Proto-Indo-European words for the living animals are clues about the physical…
Roughly 10,000 new words entered the English language during the Norman occupation and assimilation, particularly those having to do with the world of the ruling class. The effects of the linguistic class division are most apparent in the culinary …
In a previous episode on words for different colors, an episode called Ingrained: A Crush of Color, I talked about the names we have for colors based on animals who have been crushed to create the color or from whom we've extracted their secretions…
“Language doesn’t merely have the effect of dehumanizing; it deanimates. It objectifies.” Those are the words of today’s guest: my friend and colleague Carol J. Adams, whose life’s work spans across many disciplines, as you’ll hear, including etymo…
When something is ingrained, it’s "deeply rooted" or "firmly fixed," pertaining to qualities, dispositions, or habits. This figurative use of the word ingrain came into English in the 1850s, but its original sense is from the 1300s and had to do wi…
A toady is a person who flatters and ingratiates himself or herself to another person in a servile way; a toady is a sycophant, a flatterer, especially someone who does distasteful or unprincipled things in order to gain favor. Celebrities and poli…
For years, the dairy industry has been trying to make it illegal for nondairy milk companies to use the word “milk," asserting that the word “milk” should be used to refer only to the lacteal secretions of cows. Today, I'm joined by Michele Simon, …
Animalogy is all about the animal-related words and phrases in the English language, but did you know there are animals in the very letters that make up our words? If I haven’t blown your mind yet, check out this episode to learn more about this fa…
Tragedy n. "goat song" Named for the dramatic plays of the ancient Greeks, characterized by a protagonist whose flaw or error in judgment leads to a series of events that cause his downfall. How it relates to goats, you'll have to listen. You'll al…
Semantics play a significant role in shaping public perception about animals and animal welfare. The meat, dairy, and egg industries go to great lengths to remove harsh terminology and replace it with euphemisms that conceal the truth and sanitize …
In this episode of Animalogy, we explore the goat-related words and expressions in our everyday language — particularly those formed by the Old English words goat, buck, and kid (such as butcher, "kidding around," and goatee). You’re going to love …
The practice of hunting wild birds with trained birds -- for fun is called falconry. Though it came into its own almost 1,000 years ago in England after the Norman invasion, it continues to have a stronghold in our contemporary English language. I …
Roll up your sleeve past your bicep, flex your arm at the elbow, and squeeze — or contract — your bicep muscle. Take a look at it. Now, relax it -- keep looking at it, and contract again. Squeeze. And relax. What do you see? Movement, right? Do you…
If you’ve made a serious faux pas and need to acknowledge it with humility, you might be said to be “eating crow” or “eating humble pie,” both phrases of which involve animals — or do they? We’ll uncover the dirty little secret underneath the pastr…
Of the 88 constellations officially recognized by Western astronomy, 40 of them are named after animals — 43 if you count the mythical animals. We’re going to talk about 12 of them today — the 12 that make up the zodiac from Western astrology — ALL…
Throughout the episodes of Animalogy, I’ll be talking about the Proto-Indo-European reconstructed language, the related Indo-European languages, Old English (or Anglo-Saxon), the Norman invasion, Latin, Greek, and different types of sound changes t…
Coccyx is a small triangle-shaped bone at the base of the spinal column in humans and other apes, such as gibbons, orangutans, gorillas, and chimpanzees. Representing a vestigial tail and most commonly called the tailbone, coccyx was the name given…
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Podcast Details
Started
Dec 13th, 2016
Latest Episode
Jan 18th, 2018
Release Period
Weekly
No. of Episodes
27
Avg. Episode Length
28 minutes

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