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Say What?!

Say What?!

The words we say, why we say them and what they actually mean.

I’m Jo Vraca and each episode, I’m going to rub shoulders with the glitterati of the English language where we’ll learn that some of the more colourful, and even banal, words that we use every day have very un-English origins.

I will look into how these everyday words came to mean what they do today. So we’ll be rocking through dictionaries AND encyclopedias.

Recent Episodes

Was Lucifer Left-Handed? Is Left Sinister?

Nov. 22, 2021

Do you know where the word “left” comes from? Well, in Latin, it’s Sinister, in all of its evil definitions. So let’s break it down. How did sinister come to mean left and why is the left sinister? Why does my mum think that…

Stockholm Syndrome - Abba, Patty Hearst and Anna Freud

Nov. 8, 2021

Just in case you’re wondering, I have a real weak spot for curiosities and curious people – you know, people who behave irrationally, rule breakers and general riff raff. I’m quite fond of these people. Well… When I say “…

Catfishing: A Very Long History of a New Word

Oct. 25, 2021

We’ve heard the word, Catfishing, and doesn’t it feel like it’s been part of the zeitgeist forever? But Catfishing, as it’s used in popular culture, is a relatively new term, from 2010, actually. And it was coined by a docum…

Tomboy - Is it Time to Retire This Word? No way!

Oct. 11, 2021

What is up with the word Tomboy? Is it even politically correct to say it anymore? Without turning this into a gender studies episode, we’re going to learn where the word comes from, how it came to mean what it did, if it ev…

Gaslighting: Manipulation, Asylums & Old Hollywood

Sept. 27, 2021

Since the 2016 election that gave Donald Trump a platform, not to mention the presidency, the word has been everywhere. But what does it mean? Where does gaslight come from? We hear a lot about ghosting. You know, it’s when …

Quarantine - The Plague, Lepers, Covid and Goats

Sept. 13, 2021

When you think of quarantine, what comes to mind? Leper colonies of the past? Two weeks to flatten the curve? A hundred years ago, when leprosy was considered a public health risk, people were quarantined off for life. There…