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Episode 80: Cannibal

Words for Granted - An etymology and linguistics podcast

Release Date: 12/31/2019

**Introducing Lyceum** show art **Introducing Lyceum**

Words for Granted - An etymology and linguistics podcast

Lyceum is a new educational audio platform that curates, creates, and builds community around educational audio. You can find Words for Granted there as part of the curated "Words with Friends" collection and join the discussion room to chat with me and other listeners. 

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Episode 84: Break a Leg show art Episode 84: Break a Leg

Words for Granted - An etymology and linguistics podcast

The etymology of "break a leg" is disputed, but some theories hold up better than others. In today's episode, we look at a handful of plausible explanations for how "break a leg" became theater slang for "good luck" and also bust a few etymological myths surrounding the idiom.  Today's episode is brought to you by Yabla. Click for your risk-free 15-day trial. 

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Episode 83: Apple of the Eye show art Episode 83: Apple of the Eye

Words for Granted - An etymology and linguistics podcast

As we all know, the idiomatic meaning of "apple of the eye" has nothing to do with apples. As it turns out, the origins of the idiom also have nothing to do with apples. In this episode, we look at how the English translation of an old Hebrew expression found in the Old Testament unintentionally defined our modern sense of the idiom "apple of the eye." 

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Episode 82: In a Pickle show art Episode 82: In a Pickle

Words for Granted - An etymology and linguistics podcast

"In a pickle" is one of the oddest sounding idioms in English. It means "in a predicament or bad situation," but it's not clear what pickles have to do with anything. In this episode, we look at the origins of both the phrase and the word "pickle" itself. 

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Episode 81: Idioms (General Overview) show art Episode 81: Idioms (General Overview)

Words for Granted - An etymology and linguistics podcast

This episode begins a new series on the etymology of English idioms. In this general overview of idioms, we discuss why idioms are syntactically and semantically peculiar, how idioms emerge, how idioms fossilize archaic grammar, and more.  Today's episode is brought to you by Yabla. To try Yabla 15-day free trial of Yabla, click .

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Episode 80: Cannibal show art Episode 80: Cannibal

Words for Granted - An etymology and linguistics podcast

This episode is brought to you by Yabla. Language immersion with authentic video. For your risk-free 15-day trial, sign up . The word "cannibal" comes to us by way of a familiar historical figure: Christopher Columbus. The word is ultimately a Hispanicization of the name of an indigenous American group today known as the Caribs. Through Columbus' unreliable portrayal of the Caribs in his travel log, "cannibal" came to refer to "a person who eats human flesh." In this episode, we explore the evolution of the meaning of "cannibal" in Columbus' own journal and how that single word impacted the...

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Episode 79: Philistine show art Episode 79: Philistine

Words for Granted - An etymology and linguistics podcast

In common usage, a "philistine" is a derogatory term for an anti-intellectual materialist. The word derives from the ancient Middle Eastern Philistines, a people best known as an early geopolitical enemy of the Israelites in the Hebrew Bible. The historical Philistines were far from "philistines" (note the lowercase P). The circumstance by which the latter derives from the former can be traced back to a murder in the 17th century German city of Jena. (Yes, actually.) For a free 10-day trial of Simple Contacts, click .

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Episode 78: Bohemian  show art Episode 78: Bohemian

Words for Granted - An etymology and linguistics podcast

As a common noun, "bohemian" describes an artistic, carefree lifestyle usually marked by poverty and unorthodoxy. The word is borrowed from "Bohemia," a region in the modern Czech Republic, but its semantic connection to actual Czechs is nearly nonexistent. In this episode, we trace the long history of "Bohemian" from its origins as an ancient Celtic homeland to the present.

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Episode 77: Gothic show art Episode 77: Gothic

Words for Granted - An etymology and linguistics podcast

As someone who came of age during the late 90’s, my first encounter with the word “gothic” was through alternative music and fashion. However, the word was originally the name of a Germanic tribe most famous for sacking the Roman Empire. The journey of the word “goth” through the last two millennia is a classic story of linguistic appropriation and misunderstanding.

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Interview with Steve Kaufmann, Polyglot & Co-founder of LingQ show art Interview with Steve Kaufmann, Polyglot & Co-founder of LingQ

Words for Granted - An etymology and linguistics podcast

In today's episode, I interview Steve Kaufmann. Steve is a polyglot and co-founder of  He also hosts a popular language learning  under the name LingoSteve. Our conversation covers a range of language-related topics such as language learning myths, how language learning has changed with new technology, the relationship between language and culture, and more. 

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This episode is brought to you by Yabla. Language immersion with authentic video. For your risk-free 15-day trial, sign up here.

The word "cannibal" comes to us by way of a familiar historical figure: Christopher Columbus. The word is ultimately a Hispanicization of the name of an indigenous American group today known as the Caribs. Through Columbus' unreliable portrayal of the Caribs in his travel log, "cannibal" came to refer to "a person who eats human flesh." In this episode, we explore the evolution of the meaning of "cannibal" in Columbus' own journal and how that single word impacted the colonial history of the Americas.