Episode 14: Mapping Out The Sky

Bootes and the Canes Venatici

In this episode all about constellations there are etymologies to your heart’s desire. You’ll find stories involving manuscript errors, learn how celestial navigation works, encounter exotic and fantastical creatures, and learn what selenography is in this episode about English words written in the stars. Listen on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pippa, or Google Play, or follow us on Twitter @WordJourneysPod.

Word List: consider, desire, disaster, mazel, arctic, pole, cynosure, zodiac, tropical, zenith, nadir, Beetlejuice

If you would like to contribute to the podcast and or want to purchase etymological trivia questions, please visit our Patreon page!

Episode 13: Holy Oil

The Christ Child

In our first holiday episode, we discover the ultimate origin of the word“Christmas,” along with other words originating from religious holy oil. Then, we use the holiday as an excuse to explore many modern “oily” words. Listen on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pippa, or Google Play, or follow us on Twitter @WordJourneysPod.

Word List: Christmas, Christ, Christian, cream, Kris Kringle, anoint, ointment, unguent, unctuous, preen, oil, menthol, gasoline, linoleum, aioli, petroleum, vaseline, latke

If you would like to contribute to the podcast and or want to purchase etymological trivia questions, please visit our Patreon page!

Episode 12: Land of Black Earth

This episode contains two stories about Egypt. The first involves Egypt’s connection to alchemy, and we explore English words derived from that scientific tradition. The second concerns the Romani people, and words that have come about in attempts to pinpoint their geographical origin. Listen on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pippa, or Google Play, or follow us on Twitter @WordJourneysPod.

Word List: Egypt, Coptic, alchemy, chemistry, panacea, elixir, algorithm, algebra, gypsy, bohemian, flamenco

If you would like to contribute to the podcast and want to view the perks associated with that, please visit our Patreon page!

Episode 11: You Have Syphilis – Take a Pamphlet!

Portrait of Girolamo Fracastoro by Titian

In the first episode of season 2, we look into the unique history of the word “syphilis” and trace its origin to a character in a Renaissance poem (involving parrots and Atlantis!). Plus, a story about how a comic lover led to an important word in the history of printing. Listen on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pippa, or Google Play, or follow us on Twitter @WordJourneysPod.

Word List: syphilis, venereal, pamphlet

If you would like to contribute to the podcast and want to view the perks associated with that, please visit our Patreon page!

Episode 10: Jewish Onomastics

Map of Frankfurt in 1628

In the final episode of season one, Dallas is joined by Ruben Post to discuss Jewish names and naming practices in various times and places, ranging from the Hellenistic Period to the Holy Roman Empire and all the way up to Zionist movement. We discuss many etymologies, translations, and calques, and dive into the specific historical moments which generated many Jewish surnames that are prevalent today.

To contribute to the show or to order trivia questions, visit https://www.patreon.com/wordjourneyspodcast.

We’ll be back with new episodes in a few months. In the meantime, subscribe so you’ll catch them when they come out, and stay in touch by following us on Twitter @WordJourneysPod or leaving us a good review on iTunes!

Episode 9: Two Birds with One Brick

Photo by Artemy Voikhansky

We discuss how two bird calls became incorporated into Latin as bird names, which then led to many interesting English derivatives. Plus, we discuss onomatopoeia, talking birds, and a word derived from ancient Egyptian. Listen on SoundCloud, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or Google Play, or follow us on Twitter @WordJourneysPod.

Etymologies covered in this episode: jay, cajole, gazette, popinjay, parrot, parakeet, dupe, gullible, adobe

Here you can find links to jay calls, hoopoe calls, and the specific hoopoe recording that was used in the episode.

If you would like to contribute to the podcast and want to view the perks associated with that, please visit our Patreon page!

Episode 7: A Study in Scarlet

Taken from: http://naturenet.net/blogs/2009/01/15/crimson/

We dive into the etymology for certain shades of red and discuss the common element that unites them all. It turns out to be an important and long-standing element of global trade, appearing in many places and influencing many different languages. Listen on SoundCloud, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or Google Play.

Etymologies covered in this episode: cinnabar, kermes, crimson, cocoon, vermilion, scarlet, cochineal, ingrained, hopscotch

Episode 6: Horse Hodgepodge

We look at the legacy of Latin words for horses and cows, and how the evolving use of these animals over time led to new societal roles and new words. Plus, we discuss Vulgar Latin and a special kind of cowboy. Listen on SoundCloud, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or Google Play.

Etymologies covered in this episode: vulgar, chivalry, cavalry, cavalier, palfrey, zebra, hippopotamus, vaccine, hackamore, cowboy, buckaroo, bronco, mustang, chaps, paniolo