32 Facts About the Witness Protection Program

YouTube via Mental Floss
YouTube via Mental Floss

If you have information that could help prosecutors put criminals behind bars, but you think it might cost you your life, you’re in luck: The Federal Witness Protection Program can give you a new one. Since the 1970s, the government has been relocating witnesses with new names, new homes, and sometimes even new faces.

While it’s notoriously secretive, we’ve managed to uncover 32 facts about the business of giving sources a new lease—or nose—on life. Check them out in this all-new edition of The List Show with Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy.

For more episodes like this one, be sure to subscribe here.

20 Weird Clubs That Actually Exist

Mental Floss via YouTube
Mental Floss via YouTube

Groucho Marx once famously quipped that he'd never "want to belong to any club that would accept me as one of its members." Most people would probably say the same about the Martin-Baker Ejection Tie Club—a very exclusive, 63-year-old organization created specifically for individuals who have had their lives saved by an ejection seat. Currently, the club boasts more than 6000 members.

That's just one of the weird and wonderful clubs you'll learn about in our latest edition of The List Show. Join Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy as she hunts down the world's most unusual clubs (Extreme Ironing Bureau anyone?). You can watch the full video below.

For more episodes like this one, be sure to subscribe here!

48 Things You Didn't Know Had Names

Traimak_Ivan/iStock via Getty Images
Traimak_Ivan/iStock via Getty Images

So that's what it's called! It turns out that thingy, that doohickey, that stuff, and that space between those two things probably all have names you didn't know.

1. Glabella

Close up of a woman's eyes and nose
utkamandarinka/iStock via Getty Images

The space between your eyebrows is a glabella. That's also the name of the bone underneath that space that connects your brow ridges.

2. petrichor

Plants in the sun after rain
enviromantic/iStock via Getty Images

Do you love the smell of rain? That clean, greenish aroma when rain drops hit dry ground? That's petrichor from the Greek Petra, meaning stone, and ichor, meaning the blood of the gods and goddesses. The term was coined by two Australian researchers in 1964 but became better known in 2011, when it popped up in an episode of Doctor Who.

3. paresthesia

Photo of a young woman sitting on the sofa massaging her ankle and foot
spukkato/iStock via Getty Images

Pins and needles. Crawling skin. The tingling sensation you get when your foot's asleep is known as paresthesia (you knew it had to have a -thesia in it) and there are dozens of causes.

4. Dysania

A woman wearing an eye mask sleeps on white sheets
byakkaya/iStock via Getty Images

Dysania means having difficulty getting out of bed in the morning‚ and not just in the way that makes you want to crawl back under the covers. Though it's not officially recognized as a medical condition, and can impact people's lives in a variety of negative ways.

5. Griffonage

Photo of a doctor taking notes while meeting with patient
BrianAJackson/iStock via Getty Images

Illegible handwriting is called griffonage. (Take note, doctors.)

6. Acnestis

Young, blonde woman massaging her naked shoulder with hand
FotoDuets/iStock via Getty Images

The unreachable spot between your shoulder blades is your acnestis. Next time you can't reach an itch, ask a loved one to scratch your acnestis and see what they say.

7. Palindromes

A red formula one racecar at the front of a pack of racecars
DigtialStorm iStock via Getty Images

You probably know that a palindrome is a word or phrase that reads the same way forward as it does backward. Like Mom or racecar or taco cat. There are whole books dedicated to these bad boys.

8. semordnilap

dessert
Halfpoint/iStock via Getty Images

You might be familiar with palindromes, but you're probably less familiar with semordnilaps: a word that means one thing forward and another backward. Like stressed and desserts. Other examples include diaper/repaid, parts/strap and, of course, semordnilap itself read backward spells palindrome!

9. Aphthongs

Two knights compete in a tournament
SergeyKlopotov/iStock via Getty Images

Silent letters, like in knight, fight, or Django, are aphthongs. This might be something that you already knew. (See what we did there?)

10. Lawn mullet

Someone mowing their lawn
inga/iStock via Getty Images

If you only clean up your front lawn you might have a lawn mullet. Picture it: A neatly manicured front lawn and an overgrown mess in the back.

11. Googleganger

Google open on smart phone.
Carsten Koall, Stringer/Getty Images

The person with your name who shows up in your Google search results is your Googleganger. Try not to be too annoyed that there's someone more internet famous than you. Instead, reach out politely to potentially gain a super surreal pen pal.

12. Aglets

Close up of gold shoes with laces
asadykov iStock via Getty Images

The bits at the ends of shoelaces are called aglets.

13. Ferrule

A pile of pencils with erasers
FabrikaCr/iStock via Getty Images

The bit at the end of the pencil that holds the eraser in place is a ferrule—though it's not just for pencils. Ferrules are any thin bracelet that fastens or reinforces a tube or pole that might split.

14. Zugzwang

Photo of a chessboard
whyframestudio/iStock via Getty Images

When every move you can make in chess hurts you, you're in zugzwang. Which by the way, sometimes also happens when you're playing Connect Four. And in real life.

15. Scroop

Photo of a young woman in a fancy silk dress
CarlosDavid.org/iStock via Getty Images

Scroop is the swooshy sound ballgowns make. More generally, it's the sound produced by the movement of silk.

16. Tittle

Hand writing in notebook.
Nattakorn Maneerat/iStock via Getty Images

That thing you use to dot a lower case i is called a tittle.

17. Pizza saver

Close up of pizza with a plastic pizza saver in box
Anze Furlan / psgtproductions iStock via Getty Images

The tiny plastic table protecting your pizza is a pizza saver. It was patented in 1983 by Carmela Vitale and has protected countless pizzas from being marred by sagging cardboard.

18. Kummerspeck

A woman's hand holding a pink frosted doughnut against a yellow background
jchizhe/iStock via Getty Images

Kummerspeck is the excess weight you gain from emotional eating. Its literal translation? Grief bacon.

19. Crapulous

Photo of a young man asleep after a night of overindulgence
g-stockstudio/iStock via Getty Images

The uncomfortable feeling you get from overindulging? Crapulous. Though it sounds like a word invented by a middle-schooler in the 1990s, crapulous dates back to the 1530s when it was used to describe that gross nauseated feeling that you get from drinking too much.

20. Caruncule

A close-up of an eye
Paffy69/iStock via Getty Images

The triangular bump on the inside corner of your eye is the caruncule. It's just skin covering sweat glands, which is why it, too, can get itchy.

21. Philtrum

Baby's face with spit bubbles
fotolinchen/iStock via Getty Images

The fold of skin between your nose and upper lip is the philtrum. It's also called the medial cleft, but it comes from the ancient Greek for love charm.

22. Niddick

Nape of a woman's neck, wearing a kimono
Promo_Link iStock via Getty Images

The technical term for the nape of your neck is the niddick. If you're keeping score, niddick has two tittles.

23. Rhinotillexomania

Photo of young boy in glasses picking his nose
dima_sidelnikov/iStock via Getty Images

Obsessive nose-picking is called rhinotillexomania. How much counts as obsessive? We'll leave that up to you to decide.

24. Peladophobia

Photo of a balding man looking in the mirror
ia_64/iStock via Getty Images

Peladophobia is the fear of bald people. It's also the fear of becoming bald, which means it's most frequently suffered by balding people who are turning into the thing they fear the most.

25. Pentheraphobia

 A domestic dinner scene from the film 'Molly O'.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Pentheraphobia is the fear of your mother-in-law. And soceraphobia is the fear of your father-in-law.

26. Arachibutyrophobia

A young girl spreads peanut butter on bread while smiling
EdrZambrano/iStock via Getty Images

Arachibutyrophobia is the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth. It's most likely related to pseudodysphagia, the fear of choking, so it's not as silly as it sounds. However, there's no known word for the fear of being forced to say arachibutyrophobia while peanut butter is stuck to the roof of your mouth.

27. Scandiknavery

Photo of the Scandinavian flags against a blue sky
crispypictures/iStock via Getty Images

Scandiknavery means deceit by Scandinavians. Like so many 20th century words, we have James Joyce to thank for that one. And of course, deceitful Scandinavians.

28. Punt

A collection of wine bottles in a wine shop
PORNCHAI SODA/iStock via Getty Images

The indent on the bottom of a wine bottle is called a punt. As in: When it's fourth down with 20 yards to go, you should get a big bottle of wine.

29. Agraffe

Champagne on ice
lostinbids/iStock via Getty Images

An agraffe is the wire cage that keeps a cork in a bottle of champagne. It's also called a muselet, which is apparently not a tiny muse.

30. Barm

Overhead shot of the foam in a glass of beer
Matthew de Lange iStock via Getty Images

Beer foam is called barm. It's a byproduct of the yeast hitting the buffet in your beer, and, yes, you can make really good bread from it.

31. The zings

A man sitting on a couch with a glass of water, making a pained face, touching his head with his hand.
fizkes/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Another name for a hangover is the zings. Encounter too many punts, agraffes, and barms in one night and you'll have the zings, which seems a rather peppy name for a hangover.

32. Zarf

Starbucks paper coffee cup with brand logo on sleeve
Kritchanut/iStock via Getty Images

The cardboard sleeve around your coffee is a zarf. Traditionally it's the decorative metal holder that comes around a lot of beverage-holders, but modern users have ported it over to the recyclable ring around your to-go coffee cup.

33. grawlix

Comic style girl angry at her phone message and swearing
littlepaw/iStock via Getty Images

The string of symbols comic strips use for profanity is called a grawlix. *#%* yeah it is!

34. Contronym

Person cutting a tomato in half with knife
anandaBGD/iStock via Getty Images

A word that can be its own antonym is called a contronym. For example, cleave can mean to sever or to cling. Off means deactivated, as in to turn off, but it also means activated as in "the alarm went off." Weather can mean to withstand or come safely through or it can mean to be worn away. If you seed your lawn, you add seeds but if you seed a tomato, you remove them.

35. Apricity

A woman in a light blue knit cap and blue knit scarf enjoys the sun on her face in the snow
Vitalij Sova/iStock via Getty Images

The warmth of the sun on a cold day is apricity. It's out of use, but the only thing it needs to come back into use is for people like us to use it.

36. biblioklept

Looking down on books.
ConstantinosZ/iStock via Getty Images

A book thief is a biblioklept. But saying "book thief" saves you some time and syllables.

37. quincunx

Photo of red casino dice
mofles/iStock via Getty Images

The five dot pattern found on dice is a quincunx. Thomas Edison had the five dots tattooed on his left forearm.

38. vorfreude

happy girl throwing confetti
CarlosDavid.org/iStock via Getty Images

Vorfreude is the joy you feel thinking about good things that will happen. You probably already know the meaning of schadenfreude. Vorfreude is its kinder, nicer cousin. Literally "pre-joy."

39. mononymous

Singer Madonna attends the 2016 Billboard Music Awards at T-Mobile Arena on May 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada
Madonna attends the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Todd Williamson/Getty Images for dcp

A person known by one name is mononymous. Like Adele or Voltaire or Madonna. By the way, just for the record: Adele Laurie Blue Adkins, Francois-Marie Arouet, and Madonna Louise Ciccone are their full names.

40. String

A herd of Shetland ponies grazing in a field
nigelb10 iStock via Getty Images

A group of ponies is called a string. This is from James Lipton's delightful book, An Exaltation of Larks.

41. business

A ferret goes for a walk on a leash
JuergenBosse/iStock via Getty Images

An assembly of ferrets is a business.

42. smack


Diana Robinson via Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

A group of jellyfish is a smack (though a zap somehow seems more appropriate).

43. gam

A blue whale navigates the waters
MR1805/iStock via Getty Images

A group of whale is a gam of whales. A gam is also a pleasant conversation between whalers.

44. murder

A crow sitting on a fence.
mirceax/iStock via Getty Images

A group of crows is known as a murder. They got the name in the 15th century because of their association with death. The term is also unfair and a bit outdated; ornithologists use flock for any kind of bird grouping, including crows. Food for thought!

45. unkindness

Close up of a handsome raven.
TheImaginaryDuck iStock via Getty Images

A group of ravens is an unkindness. People 500 years ago were really not nice to crows and ravens.

46. trip

Photo of a goat with its tongue sticking out
maximili/iStock via Getty Images

Three or more goats is a trip. You can also call them a herd or a tribe.

47. Parliament

A photo of an Eastern Screech Owl peeking out of hole in the tree
JillLang/iStock via Getty Images

Many owls form a parliament. Another playful name from the 15th century that some birders want to get away from.

48. Pass

A photo of three smiling donkeys on a farm
Sergi Nunez/iStock via Getty Images

A group of donkeys is a pass: A pass of asses.

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