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What In The Word

What In The Word

By Portia Nagano & Carolyn Lieberman

What In The Word Podcast is an etymology podcast hosted by Carolyn Lieberman & Portia Nagano. We explore the quirky, interesting, and surprising origins of words. We also dabble with portmanteaus and slang in our episode shorts. You can get in contact with us via email at and follow our Instagram @WhatInTheWordPod.
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2022 Announcement

What In The WordJan 04, 2022

2022 Announcement

2022 Announcement

Hi y'all! A quick announcement from Carol here at your favorite word podcast. Hope 2022 is starting off well and we can't wait to get back in the saddle with you all.

Stick around for the full 3 minutes to hear the shortest short ever on the pod as well as some delightful music to the ears at the very very end.

Thank you all for listening! We really appreciate and love you (for real)!

Jan 04, 202203:13
28 - Rainy Punks

28 - Rainy Punks

This week we talk about the accuracy of your local weather people and the possibility of sustainable futures. (Such a departure from last week, huh?) We hope you're enjoying spooky season and we'll see you next week!

Oct 26, 202128:43
WITW Short 27 - Why Is It Spicy?

WITW Short 27 - Why Is It Spicy?

**THIS EPISODE IS 18+** If you don't know the "Why is it spicy?" TikTok audio... we need to get you up to speed, my friend! This week we uncover the meanings of some of your favorite spoicy emojis and learn about the succinct and unknown origins of soda. 

Oct 19, 202116:30
1 - Quarantine Nightmare Re-Release

1 - Quarantine Nightmare Re-Release

Hi friends! Today we're releasing a re-recording of our very first episode. It's our most played episode and we wanted to provide you with something that's a little easier on the ears. 

Also, we're looking to hire an editor for our episodes! We're looking to hire urgently, and are looking for someone who is highly self-motivated and love tangents. Seriously, you need to love them to be able to sit through our un-cut episodes :) Please send your resume to We'd love to have you on our team!

Oct 12, 202136:30
WITW Short 26 - Silver Lotus
Oct 05, 202132:16
26 - Robo(p)op!
Sep 28, 202134:06
WITW Short 25 - 10 Pound Heffer
Sep 21, 202125:41
25 - Trivial Pursuit With Old Gr(o)g
Aug 31, 202136:14
WITW Short 24 - Gee Wilikers, O(h)nomatopoeia
Aug 24, 202120:59
24 - Coffee Devil Poop Disks
Aug 17, 202129:53
WITW Short 23 - Sneeze Lurking For Internet Friends
Jun 22, 202117:21
WITW Special With Carrie Hardin of You Talk Funny
Jun 08, 202156:25
23 - To Hell With Rummy Turtles!
Jun 02, 202129:35
WITW Short 22 - Iced Out Cheugs
May 25, 202115:54
22 - Signing Your Life Away
May 18, 202126:36
The Anniversary Episode

The Anniversary Episode

Listeners, friends, family, every single house pet... We've made it to one year! Thank you for supporting us along the way. We've learned a lot and hope you have too. In this episode, we discuss what worked (and what really didn't), our hopes and dreams for the future, and why we love our show.

May 11, 202133:26
WITW Short 21 - Unbelie-bubble Reali-teas
May 04, 202128:02
21 - Being Nice in Sin City
Apr 27, 202135:36
WITW Short 20 - Hurry! This One's Gr-r-reat!

WITW Short 20 - Hurry! This One's Gr-r-reat!

Due to technical difficulties, Portia was late on posting last week. But we are back, baby! With a true short. A true...Hurry, if you will. Eh? Eh? This week Carolyn covers Korean text slang with 8282 and Portia talks all things cereal mascots. Leave us a review, pour your heart out, pour some milk out, we love y'all lots. If you have children, Portia cusses, so cover their ears. 

Apr 20, 202114:20
20 - Big Feet, Luscious Locks
Apr 06, 202148:18
Special Guests: LMAYAQ Podcast

Special Guests: LMAYAQ Podcast

This week's episode is super special. We have our pals Anthony De Angelis and Greg Baldwin (aka THE Gregaman) from LMAYAQ on the show. We talk about some of our favorite and least favorite words and introduce our new guest segment: Love It Or Loathe It. Be sure to follow them @lmayaqpod on all social media and tune into their show (they just dropped a new episode today). If you want to listen, we were on their show as well, episode 218

You can find us on Instagram @WhatInTheWordPod, @portianagano, or @carolventures.

To listen to all our episodes you can head to our archives on, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, & Stitcher.

Theme music: I'm on a Roll by Grace Mesa

Anchor Ad music: Funkorama by Kevin MacLeod

Mar 30, 202101:13:39
WITW Short 19 - Hot Eggs
Mar 24, 202119:33
19 - School Subjects
Mar 16, 202148:05
WITW Short 18 - Bros On Ice
Mar 09, 202127:14
18 - Molten Muppets
Mar 02, 202149:07
WITW Short 17 - Riot In The Boonies
Feb 23, 202124:36
17 - Guscle!
Feb 16, 202134:55
WITW Short 16 - Simping For Botox
Feb 09, 202136:22
16 - A-Maze-Ing Knights

16 - A-Maze-Ing Knights

Hello, beautiful listeners! This week we are talking about chivalric code and the history of clues! Do you think chivalry is dead? Does the topic even have a place in the era of online dating and Love Island? Who's to say.

We need your help with those big bubba five-star reviews! They really help us boost our show and help others discover us. Please show us some love and leave us a review. Thank you, friends and fam. 

Have a wonderful week, we appreciate you.

Carolyn + Portia

Feb 02, 202140:37
WITW Short 15 - No Such Thing As Lazy Tetris

WITW Short 15 - No Such Thing As Lazy Tetris

Last week of January! How has your 2021 been? I know we've only been trucking along for a month, but we hope it's an improvement from the year about which we do not speak. This week Carolyn teaches us about the fun history of Tetris (and most importantly learns about Animal Crossing) and Portia reads you an anecdote from Reddit. 

Also, what do we call you, dear audience? What do you want your collective name to be? Send us some suggestions or requests. We love to read them. 

Have a great week and happy listening,

Carolyn + Portia

Jan 26, 202124:47
15 - Irish I Had Some Bananas

15 - Irish I Had Some Bananas

This is a late one! (Originally recorded in July) This week we learn the history of paddywagon and dive into some banana facts! Are you a banana bread bud? A banana pancake pal? WHAT ARE YOU? Let us know.

Also, we have a major ask: Friends. Will you please leave us a 5 star rating? On any platform? On every platform? It really helps us out!

Jan 19, 202134:04
Special Australian Episode

Special Australian Episode

This was our first guest interview, so we were still working out the kinks (sorry for the audio quality). But we were over the moon to chat with a couple of Carolyn's Australian pals, Bella and Dan! We learned all about marsupials, Captain Cook, and the importance of supporting indigenous individuals. We will link all of the books they listed on our website. 

Jan 12, 202101:02:02
WITW Short 14 - Omg, Sext!
Jan 05, 202130:28
Bonus Episode: Toasting To 2021!
Dec 29, 202030:33
14 - Happy Christmahannukah!

14 - Happy Christmahannukah!

Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, happy ambiguous corporate holiday! It's a What In The Word Holiday Extravaganza featuring some Hanukkah history and Santa evolutions. Excuse Portia's allergy attack mid-episode. We made it to December, y'all. Stay strong! 

Dec 22, 202039:35
WITW Short 13 - All Aboot Storms and Disease

WITW Short 13 - All Aboot Storms and Disease

Portia said December 1st, but she doesn't know what she's doing. Lockdown, am I right? This week we learn all aboot how tropical storms and diseases are named. We also discuss the origins of "aboot" and receive a quick reminder that AIRBUD IS A GOLDEN RETRIEVER AND WE WILL NEVER MAKE THAT ERROR AGAIN. Phew. Anyway, stay healthy, stay informed, let's get this bread (and vaccine). 

Dec 15, 202019:50
13 - Getting Baked On The 5

13 - Getting Baked On The 5

Hey hey hey, it's the second week of December! We're trucking along this month and this week's episode is all the way back from August! That seems like a lifetime ago. Carolyn will teach you all about SIG alerts and Portia talks about baked goods. (Generally speaking. She had a rough week and didn't pick a singular word.) 

Have you seen our gorgeous updated website at No more .wordpress, baby! Check it out and shoot us some episode suggestions at

Dec 08, 202020:44
WITW Short 12 - EGOT These Sweet Kicks
Dec 01, 202022:53
12 - Thanksgiving Special

12 - Thanksgiving Special

Happy Gluttony Day, friends! Today we tell you the true story of Thanksgiving and delve into the origins of cranberries. Carolyn also serves up some interesting turkey day facts to kick off any socially distant celebrations.

We've switched hosting platforms! You'll still get weekly episodes and typical content, just through a different player. We're still available on Spotify, Stitcher, and Apple Podcasts, and through the player on our site. Thanks for sticking with us!

Nov 24, 202052:28
Special Asian Episode - Part 2
Nov 17, 202059:39
Special Asian Episode - Part 1

Special Asian Episode - Part 1

We're back, baby! And we're both Asian. It took us a long time to proudly own that though. This two-part series covers topics like Asian identity, our favorite foods, and childhood memories. Sources will be posted on our site. We hope you're all healthy, wealthy (earn that COVID money!), and thriving. It's great to be back.
Nov 10, 202043:22
WITW Short 11 - Portialyn Liberano
Oct 13, 202030:54
11 - The One With The Bad Audio
Oct 06, 202032:27
WITW Short 10 - Privileged PJ's

WITW Short 10 - Privileged PJ's

This week we talk about an absolute toe of a human who vacationed in Mexico with mommy to evade arrest and thinks he's a Muggletonian overlord (oof). Partially joking. We also discover the true meaning of cat's pyjamas - ahh the levity! Do you wear or enjoy pyjamas? Namely the PJ sets? Please let us know.

Follow us on Instagram @whatinthewordpod
Oct 01, 202023:59
10 - The Fruit And The Friar

10 - The Fruit And The Friar

Our original file was corrupted. But you know what isn't? Your soul. When you reach for... a tomato. We try to be religion-neutral here. In this week's episode, we talk about two beautiful things: ketchup and cathedrals!
Sep 23, 202043:10
WITW Short 9 - There's No (Bet)ter Place Than LA

WITW Short 9 - There's No (Bet)ter Place Than LA

Need a bento from Sugarfish or a family meal from Lalibella, bet! (I hope I used that correctly.) This week we desperately try to use some current slang and talk about our favorite neighborhoods in LA.
Sep 15, 202015:52
9 - Cappuccinos Are For Muggles
Sep 08, 202038:45
WITW Short 8 - Where Are All The Pokemon Stans?

WITW Short 8 - Where Are All The Pokemon Stans?

TW: Suicide. Who's STAN Pokemon?! This week we explore the world of stans, armies, and fandoms. We also chat about what makes people belieb (*cough cough*) Pokemon is the ultimate gaming franchise.

Peep our Instagram for fun photos @whatintheword
Sep 01, 202030:25
8 - We're Jalapeño Business, Japan!

8 - We're Jalapeño Business, Japan!

This week we NippON the information train and explore some history of Japan and learn about the versatility (and cultured history) of the peppercorn. Portia also really struggles to string together sentences in this one. Be warned.

(We also laugh about a name of a monkey... Like the proper 27-year-old women that we are.)
Aug 25, 202034:26
WITW Short 7 - Yelpin' Like Gangbusters
Aug 18, 202024:33