Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, Author

Animalogy \ The Animals in Our Everyday Words & Phrases

Changing the Way We Talk — and Think — About Animals
Animalogy \ The Animals in Our Everyday Words & Phrases


ANIMALOGY is a podcast about language, the animal-related words and phrases we use every day, and how they reflect and affect our relationship with (and treatment of) animals. Hosted by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, bestselling author and seasoned podcaster, Animalogy will change the way you talk — and think — about animals. For show notes and more, visit


Don’t Get Fleeced or Pull the Wool Over Your Eyes: Expressions from the Hair of Sheep

Jan 19, 2018 21:34


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 expressions, all of which have to do with the hair of sheep. In other words, they're Animalogies!

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Berserk for Bears: Words from our Ursine Animals

Sep 24, 2017 36:15


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 bear," as in "to carry," such as in "bearing fruit, bearing a child, or bearing a burden or a grudge. Let's explore the origins of all of these.

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Drawing Listeners Like Flies (Hopefully): Words from our Winged Insects

Sep 14, 2017 31:48


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? 

Drawing Listeners Like Flies (Hopefully): Words from our Winged Insects

Sep 14, 2017


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? 

What's in a Name? The Soul of an Animal

Jul 8, 2017 37:25


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! man.” The crowd disperses. Ever since the first time I saw this movie, I’ve had the same reaction. As a sympathetic viewer, I’m relieved that Merrick decries his abusers, but in making a claim for the dignity he deserves as a man, the implication is that the abuse would be acceptable if he were “an animal.” And yet, human and non-human, we are all animals. We are all made of the same stuff, evident even in the word “animal,” whose root word means “soul.”

Supporters make this podcast possible, and they receive written transcripts of each and every episode.

Geographical Place Names with Animal Origins

Jun 26, 2017 33:09


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 Birmingham in the UK. But what about cities and countries around the world whose animal origins are much less apparent? Join me today as we explore our connection with animals through geographical locations inspired by animals.

Supporters make this podcast possible and receive written transcripts of each an every episode. Become a supporter today. 

Piggyback: Animal Words with No Animal Origins

May 29, 2017 32:12


"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, monkey wrench, round robin, and spelling bee. 

Thanks to listener supporters who receive transcripts of every episode.

Animals in Our Bones: Anatomy Terms from Animals

May 22, 2017 24:08


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 animals hiding within. These and many more reflect how deeply rooted animals are in our consciousness, in our history, in our lives — and deep in our animal bones. 

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Vegetarians Eat Meat: The History and Future of the Word

May 7, 2017 17:33


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 derogatory qualifiers: “fake,” “faux,” “alternative,” “imitation,” “mock,” “replacement,” “analog,” or “substitute." Words matter.

Animal Characteristics in Word Histories: Who They Are in What We Say

Apr 17, 2017 27:09


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, behavioral, or vocal characteristics of the living animals, reflecting a tendency to name animals based on typical attributes or activities. 

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Old English Pigs and Old French Pork: The Linguistic Cleaving of Animals

Apr 10, 2017 33:14


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 realm, where words used by the aristocracy have French origins and words used by the commoners have Germanic origins. This is evident even today in the way we talk about certain animals, particularly those typically eaten by Westerners, with words rooted in Anglo-Saxon / Old English to indicate the living animals and words rooted in Old French to indicate the slaughtered animal as flesh for consumption. 

No Critters Harmed: Colors Inspired by Living Animals

Apr 2, 2017 22:15


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 to create colors or pigments. Today, we talk about the names for colors whose histories are a lot easier on animals, because they're inspired by the colors of living animals. 

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How Animals Disappear in Our Language (with Carol Adams)

Mar 27, 2017 01:02:49


“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 etymology, linguistics, feminism, and animal advocacy. Our conversation today wends through those parallel and converging paths as we explore where the animals go when we eat meat, how the word meat has changed over the centuries, the effect of “zero plurals” (stay tuned for what the heck that means), and the power of words to objectify, diminish, and dismember an individual. The power of words.

Thank you for listening to and supporting Animalogy.

Ingrained: A Crush of Color

Mar 19, 2017 17:14


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 with the dried and pulverized insects used to make a color. In this episode, I share all the colors whose names come from the animals whose bodies we crushed or from whom we extracted secretions to make dyes, colors, and pigments.  

Toady: Lick My Boots and Curry My Favor

Mar 11, 2017 08:37


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 politicians are often accused of toadeating, and toadeating is exactly how we get the name of someone who kowtows. 

Pay close attention to this episode, as several animalogies are hiding within. Submit them here to curry my favor. 

Who Owns the Word "Milk"?

Mar 4, 2017 40:48


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, public health lawyer and director of the first trade group to represent plant-based foods companies, to talk about the legal definitions of milk, ice cream, cheese, butter, and yogurt as they pertain to food labeling and what the dairy industry is so afraid of that they are using Congress to pass a bill to squelch competition.

Thank you for sharing and supporting Animalogy. 

Animals in the Alphabet

Feb 25, 2017 34:23


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 fascinating history.

Thank you for listening to, sharing, and supporting Animalogy!


Tragedy: A Goat's Lament

Feb 19, 2017 16:27


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 also discover yet another bit of our anatomy named after an animal (in this case a goat) and another Greek word for goat, aig, which gives us even more English words. Without being under the aegis of this episode, you might otherwise be tempted to jump into the Aegean sea. 

The Semantics of Meat (with Paul Shapiro)

Feb 11, 2017 45:15


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 violence. In today’s episode, I talk to someone who knows this all too well: Paul Shapiro, Vice President of Policy at The Humane Society of the United States. Join us as we discuss euphemisms and doublespeak used by animal agriculture and the best terms for plant-based and cultured meat. 

Thank you for supporting, subscribing to, and sharing Animalogy.

Don't Get My Goat - I'm Not Kidding

Feb 5, 2017 30:57


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 it. I kid you not. (Get it?)  

Thank you to the listeners who subscribe, share, and support ANIMALOGY, changing the way we talk and think about animals. 

Falconry: Fed Up and Looking Haggard

Jan 29, 2017 31:42


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 hope I can lure you to join me today as I share all of the words and expressions that come from this blood sport and to hear about the time *I* was roused to try my hand at falconry and why I turned tail by the end of it. 

Thank you to listeners, subscribers and supporters of ANIMALOGY! 

Muscle: Flex Your Mouse

Jan 23, 2017 09:33


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 see an animal? Well, some anatomist did when the word muscle was coined.

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Eating Crow? Try Eating Humble Pie, Instead.

Jan 18, 2017 18:44


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 pastry dough in “to eat humble pie” but explain why you want to eat humble pie (or dirt) instead of crows. 

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Zodiac: A Circle of Animals — Literally

Jan 12, 2017 49:17


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 of which contain animals. After all, the word zodiac is Greek for “circle of little animals.”

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History of English in 10(ish) Minutes

Jan 9, 2017 21:13


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 that have occurred in English. In order to provide some context for what might be unfamiliar bits of history or linguistics, I'm offering this brief overview of this remarkable language called English.

Coccyx: Please Don't Sit on the Cuckoo

Dec 17, 2016 05:38


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 to this part of our anatomy by ancient Greek physician Galen because of its resemblance to an animal, making the word an "animalogy." Can you guess the etymology? All is revealed in this episode of Animalogy, a podcast about language and the animal-related words and expressions we use every day.

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Inauguration: On a Wing and a Prayer

Dec 15, 2016 22:15


This inaugural episode of Animalogy, a podcast about the animal-related words and expressions we use every day, takes us back to the politics of ancient Rome to reveal the birds behind the words inaugural, inauguration, auspicious, auspices, and more.

Subscribe, share, and support today at ANIMALOGYPODCAST.COM!

What is Animalogy?

Dec 13, 2016 15:39


Drawing upon etymology, history, linguistics, literature, anthropology, sociology, and psychology, Animalogy unpacks the idioms, euphemisms, metaphors, semantics, doublespeak, and other elements of our everyday language to reveal the meanings and implications of our animal-related words and expressions.

*Receive the podcast transcripts and read the episode notes at ANIMALOGYPODCAST.COM.