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.
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.
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.
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 the ones you hear in the comments below!
Did you know that the word GERRYMANDER is an animalogy? It’s a combination of Gerry—named after the governor who 1st redrew districts in his favor— and Salamander because of the shape of the newly drawn district on the map.
WordHistory:In 1812, as governor of Massachusetts,Elbridge Gerrysigned a billauthorizingtherevision of votingdistricts in his state.Members of Gerry’spartyredrewthem in order to secure theirrepresentation in thestatesenate,andout of Gerry’shome county,EssexCounty,theycarved an unlikely-lookingdistrictwith theshape of a salamander.According to oneversion of thecoining of gerrymander,theshape of thedistrictattractedtheeye of the painterGilbertStuart,whonoticed it on a map in a newspaper editor’soffice.Stuartdecoratedtheoutline of thedistrictwith ahead,wings,andclawsandthensaid to theeditor,“Thatwill do fora salamander!”“Gerrymander!”camethereply.Theimagecreated by Stuartfirstappeared in theMarch26,1812,edition of theBostonGazette,where it wasaccompanied by thefollowingtitle: TheGerrymander. A NewSpecies of Monster,whichappeared in theEssexSouthDistrict in Jan.1812.Thenewwordgerrymander caught on instantly—withinthesameyeargerrymander is also recorded as a verb.(Gerry’sname,incidentally,waspronounced with a hard(g)sound,althoughthewordwhichhasimmortalized him is nowcommonlypronouncedwith a soft(j)sound.)Gerryran forreelection in 1812,andpopularoutragedirected at theflagrant use of thetechnique we nowcallgerrymanderingdoubtlessplayed a role in hisdefeat.
For more, listen toAnimalogy Podcast, which is all about the animal-related words and expressions we use every day.
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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 history and motives behind this agenda.
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.
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Tragedyn. “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.
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.
Supporters receive an additional conversation with Paul once the interview ended.