48 Things You Didn't Know Had Names
So that's what it's called!
1. The space between your eyebrows is a glabella.
That name also refers to the bone underneath that space that connects your brow ridges.
2. The smell of rain is petrichor.
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 and really became a word in 2011 when it popped up in a Doctor Who episode.
3. The tingling sensation when your foot's asleep is paresthesia.
Pins and needles. Crawling skin. You knew it had to have a -thesia in it, and there are dozens of causes.
4. Dysania means having difficulty getting out of bed in the morning.
In my house, we call that Monday and also all other days.
5. Illegible handwriting is called Griffonage.
Take note, doctors.
6. 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. Words or phrases that read the same way forward and backward are palindromes.
Like "Mom" or "Racecar" or "Taco Cat" or the sentence "Marge lets Norah see Sharons telegram." There are whole books of these bad boys.
8. But a Word that means one thing forward and another backward is a semordnilap.
Like "stressed" and "desserts." Other examples include diaper/repair, parts/strap and, of course, semordnilap itself.
9. silent letters are aphthongs.
Like in "knight" or "fight" or "Django." This might be something that you already "knew."
10. 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. You've got yourself a "lawn mullet." That's not really a word, but we're into it.
11. 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. The bits at the ends of shoelaces are called aglets.
Fans of Phineas and Ferb (aka all human beings) already knew this.
13. the bit at the end of the pencil that holds the eraser is a ferrule.
It's not just for pencils. Ferrules are any thin bracelet that fastens or reinforces a tube or pole that might split.
14. 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 is the swooshy sound ballgowns make.
More generally, its the sound produced by the movement of silk.
16. That thing you use to dot a lower case "i" is called a tittle.
Please stop laughing. This is serious.
17. 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 is the excess weight you gain from emotional eating.
Its literal translation? Grief bacon.
19. 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. 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. 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. The technical term for the nape of your neck is the niddick.
If you're keeping score, niddick has two tittles.
23. Obsessive nose-picking is called rhinotillexomania.
How much counts as "obsessive"?
24. 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 is the fear of your mother-in-law.
And soceraphobia is the fear of your father-in-law.
26. 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 means deceit by scandinavians.
Like so many 20th century words, we have James Joyce to thank for that one. And of course, the deceitful Scandinavians.
28. The indent on the bottom of a wine bottle is called a punt.
As in, when it's fourth down with twenty yards to go, you should get a big bottle of wine.
29. 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. 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. Another name for a hangover is The Zings.
Encounter too many punts, agraffes, and barms in one night and you'll have the Zings or a peppy name for a hangover.
32. 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. The string of symbols comic strips use for profanity is called a grawlix.
*#%* yeah it is!
34. A word that can be its own antonym is called a contronym.
For example, cleave can mean to sever or to cling. What's that? You need four more examples? I will provide some. 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. And left can mean either remaining or departed. Here's even more!
35. 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. A Book thief is a biblioklept.
But saying "book thief" saves you some time and syllables.
37. The five dot pattern found on dice is a quincunx.
Thomas Edison had the five dots tattooed on his left forearm.
38. 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. A person known by one name is mononymous.
Like Adele or Moby or Voltaire or Madonna. By the way, just for the record, Adele Laurie Blue Adkins, Richard Melville Hall, Francois-Marie Arouet, and Madonna Louise Ciccone.
40. A group of ponies is called a string.
This from James Lipton's delightful book An Exaltation of Larks.
41. An assembly of ferrets is a business.
Do they mean busyness?
42. A group of jellyfish is a smack.
For some reason they aren't called a Zap.
43. It's a gam of whales.
A gam is also a pleasant conversation between whalers.
44. And a murder of crows.
They got the name in the 15th century because of their association with death. The term is also unfair, a bit outdated, and ornithologists use "flock" for any kind of bird grouping, including crows. Food for thought!
45. A group of ravens is an unkindness.
People five hundred years ago were really not nice to crows and ravens.
46. Three or more goats is a trip.
You can also call them a herd or a tribe.
47. Many owls form a parliament.
Another playful name from the 15th century that some birders want to get away from.
48. A group of donkeys is not an ass-load.
It's a pass. A pass of asses.