Thingamajig Thursday: Aglets

David K. Israel

To continue the lineage of our ever-developing themes, let me introduce a new one called Thingamajig Thursday. The idea here is that I'll be taking a close look at some interesting thingamajig - or thingamabob, if you prefer "“ and letting you know the real name for it so you can appear a tad smarter than the next guy, who's still foolishly calling the thingamajig a thingamajig.

Simple, right?

So then let's start with something equally simple: the aglet or aiglet, as it's sometimes spelled. An aglet is that funny plastic or metal cap thingamajig at the end of your shoelace, which is supposed to keep the lace from unraveling. (Though try telling that to my 4-year-old nephew, Theodore.) The word itself, which can be traced back to the Latin, acus, or needle, is pronounced AG-let, with the accent on the first syllable, not ag-LET. Were the accent on the second syllable, it might be fun to substitute the word into that Frank Sinatra song and sing, "Aglets, I've had a few...."

Now: if you've got a heck of a lot of free time on your hands, you might want to learn how to repair broken aglets here, at

And I'll leave you with Wiki, who has some additional interesting info on the little aglet, as well:

Before the invention of buttons, [aglets] were used on the ends of ribbons to fasten clothing together. Sometimes they would be formed into small figures. Shakespeare calls this type of figure an "aglet baby" in The Taming of the Shrew.

I'm sorry, I can't help myself, but shouldn't that read, The Taming of the Shrewlace?