The Allusionist

By Helen Zaltzman for Radiotopia

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Subscribers: 6032
Reviews: 31


 Aug 21, 2020
So fascinating and so fun. I never miss an episode.


 Aug 17, 2020


 Aug 15, 2020

Nathan
 Jul 31, 2020

Mark Lenahan
 Jul 5, 2020
Fantastic show for people who love language and words. At the itersection of language, culture, history and society.

Description

Adventures in language with Helen Zaltzman: TheAllusionist.org.

A proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. Learn more at radiotopia.fm.


Episode Date
121. No Title
58:12

In 2014, a seemingly trivial and boring incident at the bank propelled me down a linguistic road via medieval werewolves, Ms Marvel and confusingly inscribed gravestones, to find out why the English language is riddled with all this gender. What’s it FOR? How did it GET there? Will it go AWAY now please? It is, at the very least, taking up brainspace and not paying any rent.

This is a recording of a live performance at the Blueberry Hill Duck Room in St Louis, Missouri on 23 November 2019, and there were visuals happening, so I’ll drop in sometimes to explain them, and I’ve also put a transcript and pictures at theallusionist.org/notitle.

There are swears in this. There are also arguments that will be very useful to you if you ever come up against a denier of singular they. You will definitely win.

The show features Martin Austwick and Richard Zaltzman. The original music is by Martin Austwick. Hear Martin’s songs at palebirdmusic.com or on Spotify, and he’s @martinaustwick on Twitter and Instagram. He also composed the music for the new kids’ science podcast Maddie’s Sound Explorers.

The Allusionist is a member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the finest independent podcasts. Listen to them all for free on your podding app or at radiotopia.fm.

I make two other podcasts, Veronica Mars Investigations and Answer Me This, which are also soothingly escapist.

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

This month, the Allusionist is sponsored by:

BetterHelp online licensed professional counselling. Get started today at betterhelp.com/allusionist and receive a 10% discount off your first month with the discount code ALLUSIONIST.

Bombas socks, thoughtfully engineered for comfort and durability - and for every pair of socks you buy, Bombas donates a pair to someone in need. Get twenty percent off your first purchase at Bombas.com/allusionist.

Molekule, air purification reinvented. For 10% off your first air purifier order, visit molekule.com and at checkout enter the code allusionist10.

Mejuri, ethically sourced fine jewelry for everyday wear, without the markups. Visit mejuri.com/allusionist for 10% off your first order.

Catan, the fun collaborative boardgame where you settle, build and trade on the island of Catan. Allusionist listeners get 10% off the original base game Catan at catanshop.com/allusionist by using the promo code ALLUSIONIST at checkout.

Squarespace, your one-stop shop for creating and running a good-looking and well-working website. Go to squarespace.com/allusion for a free trial, and use the code ALLUSION to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.

Progressive. See your insurance options and start a quote online at progressive.com.

Sep 14, 2020
Tranquillusionist: Home and Garden
20:14

This is the Tranquillusionist, in which I, Helen Zaltzman, quell anxiety and calm brain frenzies by replacing your interior monologue with words detached from significance. In this case: the list of HGTV original programming, and lawnmower adverts from before I was born.

Find this episode and a transcript at theallusionist.org/homeandgarden, and all the Allusionist episodes - other Tranquillusionists and also ones that are actually about something - at theallusionist.org.

The original music is by Martin Austwick. Hear Martin’s songs at palebirdmusic.com or on Spotify, and he’s @martinaustwick on Twitter and Instagram. He also composed the music for the new kids’ science podcast Maddie’s Sound Explorers.

The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the finest independent podcasts. Listen to them all for free on your podding app or at radiotopia.fm.

I make two other podcasts, Veronica Mars Investigations and Answer Me This, which are mercifully unconnected to current events, if you’re seeking some escape from those.

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

This month, the Allusionist is sponsored by:

BetterHelp online licensed professional counselling. Get started today at betterhelp.com/allusionist and receive a 10% discount off your first month with the discount code ALLUSIONIST.

Bombas socks, thoughtfully engineered for comfort and durability - and for every pair of socks you buy, Bombas donates a pair to someone in need. Get twenty percent off your first purchase at Bombas.com/allusionist.

Molekule, air purification reinvented. For 10% off your first air purifier order, visit molekule.com and at checkout enter the code allusionist10.

Mejuri, ethically sourced fine jewelry for everyday wear, without the markups. Visit mejuri.com/allusionist for 10% off your first order.

Catan, the fun collaborative boardgame where you settle, build and trade on the island of Catan. Allusionist listeners get 10% off the original base game Catan at catanshop.com/allusionist by using the promo code ALLUSIONIST at checkout.

Squarespace, your one-stop shop for creating and running a good-looking and well-working website. Go to squarespace.com/allusion for a free trial, and use the code ALLUSION to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.

Progressive. See your insurance options and start a quote online at progressive.com.

Aug 28, 2020
The Away Team redux
20:30

After yet another spell of the British press and politicians using very dehumanising and derogatory rhetoric about migrants, I felt it necessary to go back to the Away Team episode of the Allusionist, about the language of migration, with lecturer and researcher Emma Briant, and author and editor Nikesh Shukla. This episode originally went out in early 2017, but it is never not relevant.

And there’s a chunk of new material in the Minillusionist, so stick around right till the end to hear that.

Find out more about this episode at theallusionist.org/migration2020.

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

This month, the Allusionist is sponsored by:

BetterHelp online licensed professional counselling. Get started today at betterhelp.com/allusionist and receive a 10% discount off your first month with the discount code ALLUSIONIST.

Bombas socks, thoughtfully engineered for comfort and durability - and for every pair of socks you buy, Bombas donates a pair to someone in need. Get twenty percent off your first purchase at Bombas.com/allusionist.

Molekule, air purification reinvented. For 10% off your first air purifier order, visit molekule.com and at checkout enter the code allusionist10.

Mejuri, ethically sourced fine jewelry for everyday wear, without the markups. Visit mejuri.com/allusionist for 10% off your first order.

Catan, the fun collaborative boardgame where you settle, build and trade on the island of Catan. Allusionist listeners get 10% off the original base game Catan at catanshop.com/allusionist by using the promo code ALLUSIONIST at checkout.

Squarespace, your one-stop shop for creating and running a good-looking and well-working website. Go to squarespace.com/allusion for a free trial, and use the code ALLUSION to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.

Progressive. See your insurance options and start a quote online at progressive.com.

Aug 18, 2020
120. Shine Theory
18:29

It’s great when you coin a phrase that really resonates with people, right? Until they start using it for businesses and ventures that are at odds with the meaning of it… Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman, hosts of the podcast Call Your Girlfriend and authors of the new book Big Friendship, talk about what their term Shine Theory really means and what they had to do to keep it that way.

Find out more about this episode at theallusionist.org/shinetheory.

The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the finest independent podcasts. Find them all at radiotopia.fm. And - it’s Radiotopia’s annual survey! If you’ve got a moment to tell us your feelings about podcasts in general and ours more specifically, head to survey.prx.org/ALLUSIONIST. Your responses are anonymous and none the information you tell us is given to Evilcorp, but it IS is hugely useful for figuring out how to make our shows to your liking. Thanks in advance!

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

This month, the Allusionist is sponsored by:

BetterHelp online licensed professional counselling. Get started today at betterhelp.com/allusionist and receive a 10% discount off your first month with the discount code ALLUSIONIST.

Bombas socks, thoughtfully engineered for comfort and durability - and for every pair of socks you buy, Bombas donates a pair to someone in need. Get twenty percent off your first purchase at Bombas.com/allusionist.

Mejuri, ethically sourced fine jewelry for everyday wear, without the markups. Visit mejuri.com/allusionist for 10% off your first order.

Catan, the fun collaborative boardgame where you settle, build and trade on the island of Catan. Allusionist listeners get 10% off the original base game Catan at catanshop.com/allusionist by using the promo code ALLUSIONIST at checkout.

Molekule, air purification reinvented. For 10% off your first air purifier order, visit molekule.com and at checkout enter the code allusionist10.

Squarespace, your one-stop shop for creating and running a good-looking and well-working website. Go to squarespace.com/allusion for a free trial, and use the code ALLUSION to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.

Progressive. See your insurance options and start a quote online at progressive.com.

Jul 30, 2020
119. Blood Is Not Water
25:59

The Yiddish word for ‘black’ is, in certain uses, a slur. So Anthony Mordechai Tzvi Russell, Arun Viswanath and Jonah Boyarin teamed up to translate Black Lives Matter without it.

Find out more about this episode, the subject matter and the interviewees, at theallusionist.org/yiddishblm.

The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the finest independent podcasts. Find them all at radiotopia.fm.

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

This month, the Allusionist is sponsored by:

BetterHelp online licensed professional counselling. Get started today at betterhelp.com/allusionist and receive a 10% discount off your first month with the discount code ALLUSIONIST.

Bombas socks, thoughtfully engineered for comfort and durability - and for every pair of socks you buy, Bombas donates a pair to someone in need. Get twenty percent off your first purchase at Bombas.com/allusionist.

Mejuri, ethically sourced fine jewelry for everyday wear, without the markups. Visit mejuri.com/allusionist for 10% off your first order.

Catan, the fun collaborative boardgame where you settle, build and trade on the island of Catan. Allusionist listeners get 10% off the original base game Catan at catanshop.com/allusionist by using the promo code ALLUSIONIST at checkout.

Molekule, air purification reinvented. For 10% off your first air purifier order, visit molekule.com and at checkout enter the code allusionist10.

Squarespace, your one-stop shop for creating and running a good-looking and well-working website. Go to squarespace.com/allusion for a free trial, and use the code ALLUSION to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.

Progressive. See your insurance options and start a quote online at progressive.com.

Jul 14, 2020
118. Survival: Bequest
28:33

When the Europeans arrived in Aotearoa New Zealand, as well as guns, stoats and Christianity, they brought ideas of cisgender monogamous heterosexuality that were imposed upon the Māori people as if there had never been anything else. But one word, takatāpui, proved otherwise.

Lecturer Hemi Kelly and activist Elizabeth Kerekere excavate the linguistic evidence that pre-colonisation, Māori culture had included myriad sexual orientations, gender fluidity and polyamory.

Find out more about this episode, the subject matter and the interviewees, at theallusionist.org/bequest.

Other episodes in the Survival series include Second Home, about the Welsh language seeking a haven in Argentina, Oot in the Open, about the suppression and revival of the Scots language, and The Key, about language demise and revival.

Allusionist episodes covering LGBTQIA+ terms and oppression include Queer, Two Or More, Polari, and Many Ways at Once.

The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the finest independent podcasts. Find them all at radiotopia.fm.

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

This month, the Allusionist is sponsored by:

Bombas socks, thoughtfully engineered for comfort and durability - and for every pair of socks you buy, Bombas donates a pair to someone in need. Get twenty percent off your first purchase at Bombas.com/allusionist.

Catan, the fun collaborative boardgame where you settle, build and trade on the island of Catan. Allusionist listeners get 10% off the original base game Catan at catanshop.com/allusionist by using the promo code ALLUSIONIST at checkout.

BetterHelp online licensed professional counselling. Get started today at betterhelp.com/allusionist and receive a 10% discount off your first month with the discount code ALLUSIONIST.

Mejuri, ethically sourced fine jewelry for everyday wear, without the markups. Visit mejuri.com/allusionist for 10% off your first order.

Molekule, air purification reinvented. For 10% off your first air purifier order, visit molekule.com and at checkout enter the code allusionist10.

Squarespace, your one-stop shop for creating and running a good-looking and well-working website. Go to squarespace.com/allusion for a free trial, and use the code ALLUSION to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.

Progressive. See your insurance options and start a quote online at progressive.com.

Jul 03, 2020
117. Many Ways At Once
17:06

The Scots language didn’t have much of a lexicon of LGBTQ+ terminology. So writer and performer Dr Harry Josephine Giles decided to create one.

Find out more about this episode, the subject matter and the interviewees, at theallusionist.org/manywaysatonce.

Previous Allusionist episodes that are useful for providing context for this episode include Oot in the Open, Queer and Two Or More. And Josie has written up a very interesting document about the LGBTQ+ lexicon in Scots which you can read at [bit.ly/lgbtscots](http:// bit.ly/lgbtscots).

Wishing you all an excellent and kind Pride month.

The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the finest independent podcasts. Find them all at radiotopia.fm.

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

I will be donating all ad revenue from this episode to organisations fighting systemic inequality and police brutality towards Black people. This month, the Allusionist is sponsored by:

  • Catan, the fun collaborative boardgame where you settle, build and trade on the island of Catan. Allusionist listeners get 10% off the original base game Catan at catanshop.com/allusionist by using the promo code ALLUSIONIST at checkout.

  • BetterHelp online licensed professional counselling. Get started today at betterhelp.com/allusionist and receive a 10% discount off your first month with the discount code allusionist.

  • Bombas socks, thoughtfully engineered for comfort and durability - and for every pair of socks you buy, Bombas donates a pair to someone in need. Bombas works year-round with the Ally Coalition, and has a new collection of socks for Pride month. Shop and get twenty percent off your first purchase at Bombas.com/allusionist.

  • Mejuri, ethically sourced fine jewelry for everyday wear, without the markups. Visit mejuri.com/allusionist for 10% off your first order.

  • Molekule, air purification reinvented. For 10% off your first air purifier order, visit molekule.com and at checkout enter the code allusionist10.

  • Squarespace, your one-stop shop for creating and running a good-looking and well-working website. Go to squarespace.com/allusion for a free trial, and use the code ALLUSION to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.

  • Progressive. See your insurance options and start a quote online at progressive.com.

Jun 15, 2020
116. My Dad Excavated A Porno
30:12

The word ‘pornography’ arrived in English in the 1840s so upper class male archaeologists could talk about the sexual art they found in Pompeii without anyone who wasn’t an upper class male archaeologist knowing about it. Even though, at the same time, Victorian England was awash with what we’d now term pornography.

Dr Kate Lister of Whores of Yore and pornography historian Brian Wilson of histsex.com explain the history of the word, and how the Victorian Brits dealt with material that gave them stirrings in their trousers. Sorry, ‘sit-down-upons’. ‘Inexpressibles’! If they couldn’t even express trousers, it’s little wonder they struggled to cope with pornography.

Content note: though the episode is educational and thoroughly untitillating - I know, I know, what a disappointment - the nature of the topic is such that the episode may not be suitable for all audiences or circumstances.

Find out more about this episode, the subject matter and the interviewees, at theallusionist.org/pornography.

The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the finest independent podcasts. Find them all at radiotopia.fm.

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

I will be donating all ad revenue from this episode to organisations fighting systemic inequality and police brutality towards Black people. This month, the Allusionist is sponsored by:

  • BetterHelp online licensed professional counselling. Get started today at http://betterhelp.com/allusionist and receive a 10% discount off your first month with the discount code allusionist.

  • Bombas socks, thoughtfully engineered for comfort and durability - and for every pair of socks you buy, Bombas donates a pair to someone in need. Bombas works year-round with the Ally Coalition, and has a new collection of socks for Pride month. Shop and get twenty percent off your first purchase at Bombas.com/allusionist.

  • Mejuri, ethically sourced fine jewelry for everyday wear, without the markups. Visit mejuri.com/allusionist for 10% off your first order.

  • Molekule, air purification reinvented. For 10% off your first air purifier order, visit molekule.com and at checkout enter the code allusionist10.

  • Squarespace, your one-stop shop for creating and running a good-looking and well-working website. Go to squarespace.com/allusion for a free trial, and use the code ALLUSION to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.

  • Progressive. See your insurance options and start a quote online at progressive.com.

Jun 03, 2020
115. Keep Calm and
20:20

Twenty years ago, a 1939 poster printed by the British government with the words ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ turned up in a second-hand bookshop in Northern England. And lo! A decor trend was born: teatowels, T-shirts, mugs, phone cases, condoms, and a zillion riffs on the phrase.

Bookshop owner Stuart Manley talks about unearthing the poster that spawned countless imitations; author Owen Hatherley explains why the poster was NOT, in fact, an exemplar of Blitz Spirit and British bulldog courage and whatnot; and psychologist and therapist **Jane Gregory **considers whether being told to keep calm can keep us calm.

Find out more about this episode, the subject matter and the interviewees, at theallusionist.org/keepcalm.

The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the finest independent podcasts. Find them all at radiotopia.fm.

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

This month, the Allusionist is sponsored by:

  • BetterHelp online licensed professional counselling. Get started today at http://betterhelp.com/allusionist and receive a 10% discount off your first month with the discount code allusionist.

  • Mejuri, ethically sourced fine jewelry for everyday wear, without the markups. Visit mejuri.com/allusionist for 10% off your first order.

  • Molekule, air purification reinvented. For 10% off your first air purifier order, visit molekule.com and at checkout enter the code allusionist10.

  • Bombas socks, thoughtfully engineered for comfort and durability - and for every pair of socks you buy, Bombas donates a pair to someone in need. Get twenty percent off your first purchase at Bombas.com/allusionist.

  • Squarespace, your one-stop shop for creating and running a good-looking and well-working website. Go to squarespace.com/allusion for a free trial, and use the code ALLUSION to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.

  • Progressive. See your insurance options and start a quote online at progressive.com.

May 16, 2020
Tranquillusionist: Punchlines
05:25

This is the Tranquillusionist, in which I, Helen Zaltzman, in the interests of temporarily trying to stop that feeling where you think your brain is trying to claw its way out of your skull, read the punchlines to classic jokes.

This episode, including a transcript, resides at theallusionist.org/punchlines; see if you can figure out all the jokes they belong to.

Find all the Allusionist episodes - other Tranquillusionists and also ones that are actually about something - at theallusionist.org.

The original music is by Martin Austwick. Hear Martin’s songs at palebirdmusic.com or on Spotify, and he’s @martinaustwick on Twitter and Instagram.

The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the finest independent podcasts. Listen to them all for free on your podding app or at radiotopia.fm.

I make two other podcasts, Veronica Mars Investigations and Answer Me This, which are mercifully unconnected to current events, if you’re seeking some escape from those.

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

Apr 13, 2020
Tranquillusionist: Best In Show
11:37

This is the Tranquillusionist, in which I, Helen Zaltzman, for the purposes of calming a frazzled brain, read the winners of Best In Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

This episode resides at theallusionist.org/best-in-show; you can find all the Allusionist episodes, including other Tranquillusionists, at theallusionist.org.

The original music is by Martin Austwick. Hear Martin’s songs at palebirdmusic.com or on Spotify, and he’s @martinaustwick on Twitter and Instagram.

The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the finest independent podcasts. Listen to them all for free on your podding app or at radiotopia.fm.

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

Hope you are safe and well in body and mind.

Apr 04, 2020
Tranquillusionist: Nmiigea
03:37

This is the Tranquillusionist, in which I, Helen Zaltzman, for the purposes of quelling anxiety and stress and sleeplessness, read the lyrics to ‘Imagine’ by John Lennon, with the words arranged in reverse alphabetical order.

This episode resides at theallusionist.org/nmiigea; you can find all the Allusionist episodes, including other Tranquillusionists, at theallusionist.org.

The original music is by Martin Austwick, based on the chords of ‘Imagine’ in alphabetical order. Hear Martin’s songs at palebirdmusic.com or on Spotify, and he’s @martinaustwick on Twitter and Instagram.

The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the finest independent podcasts. Listen to them all for free on your podding app or at radiotopia.fm.

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

Hope you are safe and well in body and mind.

Mar 22, 2020
Tranquillusionist: Your Soothing Words
10:09

We interrupt the Allusionist break to bring an emergency dispatch. I asked you listeners which words you find soothing. Here they are. Put this episode on a loop to help you sleep; play it to quell your inner monologue; use it as an unreasonably long text tone; whatever you want.

View a list of the words at theallusionist.org/tranquillusionist, and find all the Allusionist episodes at theallusionist.org.

Martin Austwick composed the beautiful music. Find his songs at palebirdmusic.com, and he’s @martinaustwick on Twitter and Instagram.

The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the finest independent podcasts. Listen to them all for free on your podding app or at radiotopia.fm.

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

Hope you are safe and well in body and mind.

Mar 17, 2020
114. Alarm Bells
30:00

As the climate changes, so does the vocabulary around it - to amplify concern, to dampen concern, to serve corporate concerns… It is linguistically fraught! Journalist Amy Westervelt of the podcast Drilled, Alice Bell from the climate charity Possible, and Robin Webster from Climate Outreach explain some of the shifts in terminology, the squabbles and the industry interference - and how to communicate about climate in a way that does result in useful action.

Find out more about this episode, the subject matter and the interviewees, at theallusionist.org/alarm-bells.

The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the finest independent podcasts. Find them all at radiotopia.fm.

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

This month, the Allusionist is sponsored by:

• Babbel, the language-learning app that will help you speak a new language with confidence. Visit babbel.com to find out more, and text ALLUSIONIST to 484848 to try it for free.
• The RealReal, authenticated luxury consignment fashion, accessories, jewellery, art and homewares. Shop instore, on app or at therealreal.com and get 20% off select items with the promo code REAL.
• Progressive. See your insurance options and start a quote online at progressive.com.
• Sanditon on PBS, the adaptation of Jane Austen’s final novel. Hear interviews with the cast on the Masterpiece Studio podcast on your podblasters or at pbs.org/masterpiecestudio.
• Squarespace, your one-stop shop for creating and running a good-looking and well-working website. Go to squarespace.com/allusion for a free trial, and use the code ALLUSION to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.

Feb 24, 2020
113. Zaltzology
27:12

Today’s episode is something a bit different to usual. A few months ago, I was a guest on the podcast Ologies, a terrific show where the very funny and delightful and curious Alie Ward interviews an ologist of some kind - bisonologist (ologist of bisons), ludologist (video games), corvid thanatology (crow funerals!). 

Alie interviewed me as an etymologist (I’m not a qualified etymologist, mind; just an enthusiast), and we cover etymologies of words including ‘buxom’, ‘mediocre’, ‘coccyx’, ‘lacuna’, bust some etymological myths, discuss some broader attitudes towards language, and wonder why so many people hate the word ‘moist’. Here’s some of our conversation; you can hear the full-length version on Ologies.

There are a couple of swears in it, including what Alie calls ‘the Swiss Army Knife of cussing’.

Visit theallusionist.org/zaltzology for more about this episode, and hear the full-length version of the conversation with Alie on Ologies alieward.com/ologies/etymology.

The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the finest independent podcasts. Find them all at radiotopia.fm.

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

This month, the Allusionist is sponsored by:
BetterHelp online counselling. Get started at betterhelp.com/allusionist, and use the code ALLUSIONIST for 10% off your first month.
• Bombas, socks that won’t let you - or themselves - down. Buy your expertly engineered socks at bombas.com/allusionist and get 20% off your first purchase.
• Squarespace, your one-stop shop for creating and running a good-looking and well-working website. Go to squarespace.com/allusion for a free trial, and use the code ALLUSION to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.
• Babbel, the language-learning app that will help you speak a new language with confidence. Visit babbel.com to find out more, and text ALLUSIONIST to 484848 to try it for free.

Jan 24, 2020
112. Quiz 2019
15:08

For your last Allusionist of 2019, here is a quiz all about words for you to play along with as you listen. Get a pen and paper to jot down your answers, or there’s an interactive answer form all ready for you at theallusionist.org/2019quiz.

Let me know how you score in the quiz a at http://twitter.com/allusionistshow and http://facebook.com/allusionistshow.

The show will be back in January 2020. For all Allusionist episodes, extra material, transcripts, merch etc, visit http://theallusionist.org.

If you enjoyed this quiz, you can also play the 2018 quiz at theallusionist.org/2018quiz.

The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the finest independent podcasts. Support our work by making a donation at radiotopia.fm, and along with the warm glow of satisfaction at helping us make more of the podcasts you like, you can get such rewards as challenge coins, stickers, AND an audio recording of the Allusionist 2019 live show No Title! Yours for a one-off donation of $4.35. I wanted a numerical amount that looked like a word, and 435 is pretty much YES in calculator font, plus 80085 seemed too expensive. Anyway, go and pledge for it at radiotopia.fm!

This month, the Allusionist is sponsored by:
BetterHelp online counselling. Get started at betterhelp.com/allusionist, and use the code ALLUSIONIST for 10% off your first month.
• Bombas, socks that won’t let you - or themselves - down. Buy your expertly engineered socks at bombas.com/allusionist and get 20% off your first purchase.
• Squarespace, your one-stop shop for creating and running a good-looking and well-working website. Go to squarespace.com/allusion for a free trial, and use the code ALLUSION to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.

Dec 24, 2019
Allusionist special: Podcast Podcast
12:54

To celebrate Radiotopia’s fundraiser, here’s a special episode about the word that brought us all together… aaand a lot of you hate it.

This piece was recorded in front of a live audience at PodCon in Seattle.

If you love podcasts, or more specifically this podcast, or slightly less specifically but still quite specifically the podcasts in the Radiotopia collective, get involved by making a donation at Radiotopia.fm! You can get swag that’s exclusive to this fundraiser, or just purchase the glow of satisfaction at funding the audiotainment we make.

Get your regular dose of the Allusionist at theallusionist.org.

Dec 16, 2019
111. Engraving part 2: Precious
35:10

Words engraved into metal are intended to last, though you don’t know who in the future is going to be reading them - your grandchildren wearing your wedding ring, the stranger who found your long-lost multitool, yourself at a time of need.

Steven Yardley of Milne & Yardley talks about the disappearing craft of hand engraving. Max Ullmann of the antique jewellery shop A.R. Ullmann Ltd shows the objects engraved in centuries past. Wearing their grandmothers’ rings, Lisa Hack connects to family she doesn’t know, and Freddy McConnell *to the family he does. When *Eeva Sarlin’s ex-boyfriend lost her Leatherman multitool, she thought she’d never see it again - and were it not for an engraving, she wouldn’t have. And Arlie Adlington, who reports this episode, had words engraved into his ring to remind him of his reality when others threaten to ruin it.

Go to theallusionist.org/precious to read more about this episode and find a transcript. Hear the first part of the pair of episodes about engraving at theallusionist.org/epitaph.

The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the finest independent podcasts. Support our work by making a donation at radiotopia.fm, and get such rewards as challenge coins, stickers, and the glow of satisfaction of helping us make more of the podcasts you like.

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

This month, the Allusionist is sponsored by:
BetterHelp online counselling. Get started at betterhelp.com/allusionist, and use the code ALLUSIONIST for 10% off your first month.
• Bombas, socks that won’t let you - or themselves - down. Buy your expertly engineered socks at bombas.com/allusionist and get 20% off your first purchase.
• Squarespace, your one-stop shop for creating and running a good-looking and well-working website. Go to squarespace.com/allusion for a free trial, and use the code ALLUSION to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.

Dec 16, 2019
110. Engraving part 1: Epitaph
27:53

When Dave Nadelberg of Mortified used to visit his mother’s grave, he would look around at the nearby gravestones and see similar - or even the exact same - epitaphs for lots of different people. And it made him curious: who were these people, really? What were their personalities, what happened in their lives? And didn’t they deserve something more meaningful, more personal, than these bland and repetitive epitaphs? So when Dave’s father died a few years later, Dave was determined to choose better words to represent him in perpetuity.

Go to theallusionist.org/epitaph to read more about this episode and find a transcript.

Dave Nadelberg is the founder of Mortified: find the podcast, live events, books, TV series and documentary at getmortified.com.

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

The Allusionist live show No Title is on tour in North America - for all event listings, visit theallusionist.org/events.

The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the finest podcasts on the interwaves. Find them at radiotopia.fm.

This month, the Allusionist is sponsored by:
Molekule air purification. For 10% off your first air purifier order, visit molekule.com and enter the code ALLUSIONIST10 at checkout.
BetterHelp online counselling. Get started at betterhelp.com/allusionist, and use the code ALLUSIONIST for 10% off your first month.
• Bombas, socks that won’t let you - or themselves - down. Buy your expertly engineered socks at bombas.com/allusionist and get 20% off your first purchase.
• Babbel, the language-learning app that will help you speak a new language with confidence. Visit babbel.com to find out more, and text ALLUSIONIST to 484848 to try it for free.
• Squarespace, your one-stop shop for creating and running a good-looking and well-working website. Go to squarespace.com/allusion for a free trial, and use the code ALLUSION to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.

Nov 26, 2019
109. East West
28:42

On 9 November 1989, the demolition of the Berlin Wall began. Within a year, Germany was unified. East Germany dissolved and was incorporated into the Federal Republic of Germany, took on its currency and its rules - and its lexicon. Both West and East Germany had already been speaking German, of course; but there were differences, from the years of very concerted separation, the attempts at isolating East Germany from what was considered Western culture and capitalism, and the specifically East German concepts that had their own vocabulary. What was that vocabulary, and where did it go?

Go to theallusionist.org/eastwest to find out more about this episode and the people who appear on it.

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

The Allusionist live show No Title is on tour in North America - for all event listings, visit theallusionist.org/events.

The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the finest podcasts on the interwaves. Find them at radiotopia.fm.

This month, the Allusionist is sponsored by:
Molekule air purification. For 10% off your first air purifier order, visit molekule.com and enter the code ALLUSIONIST10 at checkout.
BetterHelp online counselling. Get started at betterhelp.com/allusionist, and use the code ALLUSIONIST for 10% off your first month.
• Bombas, socks that won’t let you - or themselves - down. Buy your expertly engineered socks at bombas.com/allusionist and get 20% off your first purchase.
• Babbel, the language-learning app that will help you speak a new language with confidence. Visit babbel.com to find out more, and text ALLUSIONIST to 484848 to try it for free.
• Squarespace, your one-stop shop for creating and running a good-looking and well-working website. Go to squarespace.com/allusion for a free trial, and use the code ALLUSION to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.

Nov 14, 2019
108. Enjoy!
23:39

In the last Food Season episode of the current batch, we get into the language of restaurant service - specifically those terms that give some of us fiery indigestion, like “Enjoy!” or “Are you still working on that?” Restaurant psychologist Stephani Robson and former server Sara Brooke Curtis explain how what servers say is affected by such things as restaurant furniture, tipping, the need to turn a table around quickly for the next diners, and customer moods and caprices.

Find out more about this episode at theallusionist.org/enjoy.

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

The Allusionist live show No Title is on tour in North America - come to see us! For all event listings, visit theallusionist.org/events.

The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the finest podcasts on the interwaves. Find them at radiotopia.fm.

Also! I’m making a NEW PODCAST! Veronica Mars Investigations, wherein Jenny Owen Youngs (of Buffering the Vampire Slayer podcast) and I investigate every episode of Veronica Mars from the beginning. Find Veronica Mars Investigations in your podcast-getting app of choice, and at VMIpod on the social medias and VMIpod.com.

In October 2019, the Allusionist is sponsored by:
BetterHelp online counselling. Get started at betterhelp.com/allusionist, and use the code ALLUSIONIST for 10% off your first month.
Freshbooks accounting software for small businesses. Get 60% off a Lite, Plus or Premium plan for 6 months when you buy before 23rd October 2019. Get started at FreshBooks.com/BUYNOW.
• Bombas, socks that won’t let you - or themselves - down. Buy your expertly engineered socks at bombas.com/allusionist and get 20% off your first purchase.
• Babbel, the language-learning app that will help you speak a new language with confidence. Visit babbel.com to find out more, and text ALLUSIONIST to 484848 to try it for free.
• Squarespace, your one-stop shop for creating and running a good-looking and well-working website. Go to squarespace.com/allusion for a free trial, and use the code ALLUSION to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.

Oct 30, 2019
107. Apples
27:04

Late 2019 will see the biggest apple launch of our lifetimes. 22 years in the making, ripening on millions of trees into picture-perfect redness, here comes the WA38, more snazzily known as the Cosmic Crisp. The name was the result of a year of focus groups, taste tests and word associations - a far cry from when apples were named after whichever end of a cat they resembled.

This episode is a collaboration with The Sporkful podcast, where we have released companion episodes about apples: hear us talking about the naming of apples on this episode of the Allusionist, and on their episode ‘A New Apple Is Born’ we get into the particulars of how new apples are begotten. Find The Sporkful on your podcatchers and at thesporkful.com.

Find out more about this episode at theallusionist.org/apples.

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

The Allusionist live show No Title is on tour in North America - come to see us! For all event listings, visit theallusionist.org/events.

The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the finest podcasts on the interwaves. Find them at radiotopia.fm.

Also! I’m making a NEW PODCAST! Veronica Mars Investigations, wherein Jenny Owen Youngs (of Buffering the Vampire Slayer podcast) and I investigate every episode of Veronica Mars from the beginning. Find Veronica Mars Investigations in your podcast-getting app of choice, and at VMIpod on the social medias and VMIpod.com.

In October 2019, the Allusionist is sponsored by:
BetterHelp online counselling. Get started at betterhelp.com/allusionist, and use the code ALLUSIONIST for 10% off your first month.
Freshbooks accounting software for small businesses. Get 60% off a Lite, Plus or Premium plan for 6 months when you buy before 23rd October 2019. Get started at FreshBooks.com/BUYNOW.
• Bombas, socks that won’t let you - or themselves - down. Buy your expertly engineered socks at bombas.com/allusionist and get 20% off your first purchase.
• Babbel, the language-learning app that will help you speak a new language with confidence. Visit babbel.com to find out more, and text ALLUSIONIST to 484848 to try it for free.
• Squarespace, your one-stop shop for creating and running a good-looking and well-working website. Go to squarespace.com/allusion for a free trial, and use the code ALLUSION to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.

Oct 09, 2019
106. Typo Demom
20:39

Ever misspelled a word or committed a typo? It wasn’t your fault; you were demonically possessed. Ian Chillag from Everything is Alive podcast introduces us to Titivillus, the typo demon.

Find out more about this episode at theallusionist.org/typo-demon.

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

The Allusionist live show No Title is heading off on a tour of North America from October. For all event listings, visit theallusionist.org/events.

The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the finest podcasts on the interwaves. Find them at radiotopia.fm.

Also! I’m making a NEW PODCAST! Veronica Mars Investigations, wherein Jenny Owen Youngs (of Buffering the Vampire Slayer podcast) and I investigate every episode of Veronica Mars from the beginning. Find Veronica Mars Investigations in your podcast-getting app of choice, and at VMIpod on the social medias and VMIpod.com.

In September 2019, the Allusionist is sponsored by:
• Squarespace, your one-stop shop for creating and running a good-looking and well-working website. Go to squarespace.com/allusion for a free trial, and use the code ALLUSION to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.
• Bombas, socks that won’t let you - or themselves - down. Buy your expertly engineered socks at bombas.com/allusionist and get 20% off your first purchase.
• Babbel, the language-learning app that will help you speak a new language with confidence. Visit babbel.com to find out more, and text **ALLUSIONIST **to 484848 to try it for free.
Progressive. Get your car insurance quote online at progressive.com and see how much you could be saving. Discounts not available in all states and situations.

Sep 15, 2019
105. F'ood
31:42

When is cheese not cheese, or crab not crab? When it’s spelled cheez or krab or even ch’eese or cra’b… Novelty spellings for foods-that-aren’t-made-out-of-the-thing-they-sound-like-they’re-made-out-of go back a pretty long way - ‘cheez’ was THE cheese-like substance of the 1920s - but right now, with plant-based foods on the rise, we’re seeing more of them. Branding consultant and name developer Nancy Friedman casts her expert glance over the apostrophes and deliberate misspellings on foodstuffs; and vegan restaurant owner Melanie Boudens recounts how, this summer, the words ‘cheddar cheese’ on her menu landed her in trouble.

Find out more about this episode at theallusionist.org/foood.

The Allusionist's online home is theallusionist.org. Stay in touch at twitter.com/allusionistshow, facebook.com/allusionistshow and instagram.com/allusionistshow.

The Allusionist live show No Title is playing in London in September and in the US from October. For all event listings, visit theallusionist.org/events.

The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a collective of the finest podcasts on the interwaves. Find them at radiotopia.fm.

Also! I’m making a NEW PODCAST! Veronica Mars Investigations, wherein Jenny Owen Youngs (of Buffering the Vampire Slayer podcast) and I investigate every episode of Veronica Mars from the beginning. Find Veronica Mars Investigations in your podcast-getting app of choice, and at VMIpod on the social medias and .com.

In September 2019, the Allusionist is sponsored by:
• Squarespace, your one-stop shop for creating and running a good-looking and well-working website. Go to squarespace.com/allusion for a free trial, and use the code ALLUSION to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.
• Bombas, socks that won’t let you - or themselves - down. Buy your expertly engineered socks at bombas.com/allusionist and get 20% off your first purchase.
• Babbel, the language-learning app that will help you speak a new language with confidence. Visit babbel.com to find out more, and text **ALLUSIONIST **to 484848 to try it for free.
Progressive. Get your car insurance quote online at progressive.com and see how much you could be saving. Discounts not available in all states and situations.

Sep 03, 2019
104. Words into Food
16:05
Aug 17, 2019
103. Food Into Words
24:11
Aug 05, 2019
102. New Rules
18:11
Jul 14, 2019
101. Two Or More
26:32
Jun 26, 2019
56+12. Joins & Pride
27:40
Jun 07, 2019
100. The Hundredth
29:51
May 27, 2019
99. Polari
31:29
May 12, 2019
98. Alter Ego
28:56
Apr 27, 2019
97. The Future is Now?
15:45
Apr 11, 2019
96. Trust
18:49
Mar 26, 2019
95. Verisimilitude
28:17
Mar 11, 2019
94. Harsh Realm
27:23
Feb 22, 2019
93. Gossip
18:17
Feb 09, 2019
92. To Err Is Human
18:07
Jan 24, 2019
Extra special QUIZ!
13:59
Dec 18, 2018
91. Bonus 2018
16:06
Dec 16, 2018
90. Dear Santa
17:54
Nov 30, 2018
89. WPM
16:01
Nov 17, 2018
88. Name Changers
27:23
Nov 04, 2018
87. Name v. Law
29:07
Oct 22, 2018
86. Name Therapy
26:42
Oct 08, 2018
85. Skin Story
17:32
Sep 23, 2018
84. Trammels
19:49
Sep 08, 2018
83. Yes, As In
26:26
Aug 26, 2018
82. A Novel Remedy
20:57
Aug 13, 2018
81. Shark Week
23:37
Jul 28, 2018
Imaginary Advice: S.E.I.N.F.E.L.D.
26:59
Jun 29, 2018
80. Warm Front
15:25
Jun 17, 2018
79. Queer
25:50
Jun 03, 2018
78. Oot in the Open
23:26
May 21, 2018
42+43. Survival: The Key rerun
24:40
May 05, 2018
77. Survival part 1: Second Home
25:17
Apr 21, 2018
76. Across the Pond
23:01
Apr 07, 2018
75. Ear Hustling
15:15
Mar 23, 2018
74. Take A Swear Pill
25:28
Mar 09, 2018
73. Supername!
18:52
Feb 24, 2018
72. Hey
20:18
Feb 09, 2018
71. Triumph/Trumpet/Top/Fart
18:03
Jan 26, 2018
70. Bonus 2017
20:22
Dec 23, 2017
69. How the Dickens stole Christmas
27:19
Dec 09, 2017
68. Curse Soup
15:15
Nov 25, 2017
67. Open Me part II
25:43
Nov 10, 2017
66. Open Me part I
19:31
Oct 27, 2017
65. Eponyms III: Who’s That Guy?
20:11
Oct 14, 2017
64. Technobabble
22:26
Sep 30, 2017
63. Evolution of Accents
24:02
Sep 15, 2017
62. In Crypt, Decrypt
27:44
Sep 02, 2017
61. In Your Hand
13:10
Aug 19, 2017
60. Zillions
18:30
Aug 05, 2017
59. One To Another
18:27
Jun 30, 2017
58. Eclipse
23:03
Jun 16, 2017
57. AD/BC
16:03
Jun 02, 2017
56. Joins
17:06
May 19, 2017
55. Namaste
17:52
May 05, 2017
54. The Authority
13:57
Apr 14, 2017
53. The Away Team
16:18
Apr 01, 2017
14 rerun: Behave
14:06
Mar 17, 2017
52. Sanctuary
16:32
Mar 07, 2017
51. Under the Covers – part II
15:34
Feb 21, 2017
50. Under the Covers – part I
17:14
Feb 08, 2017
49. Bonus 2016
17:18
Dec 30, 2016
48. Winterval
12:42
Dec 06, 2016
47. The Year Without a Summer
20:56
Nov 21, 2016
46. The State Of It
19:21
Nov 04, 2016
45. Eponyms II: Name That Disease
18:03
Oct 16, 2016
44: This Is Your Brain On Language
12:53
Oct 03, 2016
43. The Key part II: Vestiges
12:33
Sep 20, 2016
42. The Key part I: Rosetta
14:25
Sep 07, 2016
41. Getting Toasty
16:59
Aug 21, 2016
40. Olympics
08:52
Aug 05, 2016
39. Generation What?
15:00
Jul 13, 2016
38. Small Talk
12:52
Jun 25, 2016
12 rerun: Pride
13:27
Jun 14, 2016
37. Brand It
19:24
May 29, 2016
36. Big Lit
14:33
May 17, 2016
35. Word of the Day
13:08
May 01, 2016
34. Continental
13:32
Apr 17, 2016
33. Please
14:50
Apr 01, 2016
32. Soho
12:17
Mar 18, 2016
31. Post-Love
16:51
Mar 05, 2016
30. US Election Lexicon
17:12
Feb 17, 2016
29. WLTM part II
19:55
Feb 06, 2016
28. WLTM part I
19:33
Jan 28, 2016
27. Bonus 2015
15:00
Dec 23, 2015
26. Xmas Man
13:26
Dec 02, 2015
25. Toki Pona
17:44
Nov 19, 2015
24. Spill Your Guts
17:20
Nov 04, 2015
23. Criminallusionist
21:32
Oct 29, 2015
22. Vocables
10:47
Oct 21, 2015
21. Eponyms I: The Ballad of Bic and Biro
17:34
Oct 14, 2015
20. Baby Talk
09:52
Oct 07, 2015
19. Architecting About Dance
12:56
Sep 24, 2015
18. Fix part II
13:05
Sep 09, 2015
17. Fix part I
17:29
Aug 28, 2015
16. Word Play
13:15
Aug 12, 2015
15. Step Away
18:01
Jul 29, 2015
14. Behave
13:33
Jul 01, 2015
13. Mixed Emojions
15:38
Jun 17, 2015
12. Pride
13:14
Jun 03, 2015
11. Brunchtime
11:29
May 20, 2015
10. Election Lexicon
07:59
May 06, 2015
9. The Space Between
09:28
Apr 22, 2015
8. Crosswords
15:35
Apr 08, 2015
7. Mountweazel
14:29
Mar 25, 2015
6. The Writing On The Wall
14:18
Mar 11, 2015
5. Latin Lives!
11:19
Feb 25, 2015
4. Detonating the C-Bomb
16:16
Feb 11, 2015
3. Going Viral
14:28
Jan 28, 2015
2. Bosom Holder
13:00
Jan 14, 2015
1. Ban The Pun.
15:23
Jan 14, 2015