Last Words: How the fuck do you pronounce The Ubyssey?

In September 2022, members of The Ubyssey took to the streets to ask people how to pronounce our name. And only a handful got it right.

We get it. We have 11 editors, over 200 contributors and 70 staff writers, and at one point or another, we’ve all asked ourselves “How do you pronounce The Ubyssey?”

Other student paper’s names are pretty self-explanatory. Many have the name of their school or mention a mascot — take The McGill Daily or The Varsity as examples. But, not us. Our paper’s name is a play on The Odyssey. And because of that, our paper is called The Ubyssey.

So we’re setting the record straight. The Ubyssey isn’t pronounced you-bee-see, you-bye-see or you-bussy. It’s YOU-bih-see. Ubyssey.

But why?

The Ubyssey was established in 1918, after two years of printing The Ubicee — which wasn’t a full newspaper, instead it was a single three-columned page of text.

The first editorial renamed Ubicee to Ubyssey, taking inspiration from The Odyssey. Why? We don’t know. We weren’t alive.

But the editors of volume five were. And they wrote that “the ‘Ubicee’ was destined to become the ‘Odyssey’ of the University,” hence the 1918 name change and the creation of the full newspaper we have today — The Ubyssey.

If The Ubyssey is supposed to be the Odyssey of UBC, what is The Odyssey? Are we actually the Odyssey of our school?

Let’s break this down.

According to Wikipedia (we love your work), The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epics written by Homer — no, not the guy from The Simpsons, it’s this random Greek guy considered one of the most influential authors in history.

It follows a warrior named Odysseus and his journey back home after the Trojan War. After the war, people thought Odysseus was dead, so his wife, Penelope, was going to get remarried.

We can’t speak on behalf of past editorials on if their wives had plans to get remarried, but no one on our board has experienced this. But, we have experienced being an epic student paper.

This past year alone, we were nominated for 16 national student journalism awards (and won 9 of them), we published university news, deep-dives into policy issues at UBC, covered arts and culture, sports and athletes and science and research, we published student opinions and jokes, all while taking photos and making videos and designs.

Sure, we’re a newspaper with a hard-to-pronounce name inspired by an ancient Greek poem about a guy who sucked at getting home, but the first Ubyssey editorial got it right. We’re just like The Odyssey. We’re pretty epic.

If Odyssey is pronounced

/ˈɒdəsi/ or odd-ih-see, Ubyssey is pronounced /jubɪsi/ or you-bih-see.

Not you-bee-see. Not you-bye-see. Not you-bussy (even though it’s kinda funny). It’s you-bih-see.

We’re The Ubyssey.

Last Words are written by the editorial board of The Ubyssey.