Life WTF

Fascinating Words for Things That You Didn’t Know Had a Name

Fascinating Words for Things That You Didn’t Know Had a Name July 26, 2021Leave a comment

Doohickey or doohickies are words that some people use to refer to everyday items that they don’t know the real names of or can’t remember their names of at that moment. And it's easy to forget some of these interesting words that describe phenomenons that you've definitely witnessed in everyday life.

But with approximately one million English words, it’s safe to say that every object has a name. So, anyone wondering what the plastic end of a shoelace or the last loop on their belt is called, will benefit from this list of fascinating and unknown words.

Barm

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Barm is another word for beer foam or the froth from a fermenting malt liquor. Barm is formed as a result of the yeast interacting with the buffet in the beer. But it can also form in wine or feedstock, too.

Scroop

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The swoosh sound produced by the movement of silk or similar types of fabric on a dress like a ballgown is called a scroop. It’s often described as a creak, a scrape, a rustle or a rasping sound.

Agraffe

LOSTINBIDS/ISTOCK

An agraffe or a muselet is that wire cage that people often find annoying when they unwrap a bottle of champagne. But the agraffe ensures that the cork stays in the bottle until everyone’s ready to drink.

Zugzwang

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Ever played a game of chess, checkers or even Monopoly and felt as though no matter what move you make, you’re going to lose? Well, that situation is called Zugzwang. The word can also be used to describe a bad situation in everyday life where you feel like there’s no freaking solution.

Punt

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Grab a wine bottle and flip it over. What do you see? It’s a huge indent. Well that indent is known as a punt. It’s also known as a dimple or a kick-up and it was designed to help the bottle stand upright. It was also designed to strengthen the bottle so it can hold up under the high pressure of champagne.

Ferrule

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A ferrule is a type of bracelet that is used to reinforce a pole or a tube that might otherwise split or come apart. The word is also used to identify that metal fastener on pencils that keep the eraser from falling off.

Scandiknavery

CRISPYPICTURES/ISTOCK

Scandiknavery is a rare and informal uncountable word used to describe a Scandinavian who is duplicitous or deceitful. It was one of many words introduced in the 20th century by Irish author James Joyce. But it’s not a word that Scandinavians would find very pleasant.

Aglets

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Most people have seen those plastic tubes at the end of their shoelaces and have no idea what they’re called. Well, the official name of these sheaths is aglets. They’re often made out of plastic, but some are made out of metal.

Arachibutyrophobia

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Arachibutyrophobia is made up of three Greek words. One is arachi which translates to ground nut. The second word is butyr which means butter, and the third word is phobia which means fear. Essentially, this word is used to describe the fear of being choked by peanut butter or the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth.

Googleganger

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Googleganger is a play on the word doppelgänger, which refers to a perfect double of another person. But in this case, it refers to someone who has the same name as the person doing the Google search and they’re usually more internet famous.

Pentheraphobia

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Some husbands see their mother-in-law as one of the scariest creatures in the world. And with good reasons. Some mothers feel no one will ever be good enough for their child. (I know, yikes!) This is one of the reasons why some husbands have pentheraphobia, aka a fear of their mother-in-law.

Lawn Mullet

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A lawn mullet is a term used to refer to a front yard that is neatly cut but a backyard that is completely neglected. Essentially, the grass is short in the front but long in the back just like a regular hair mullet.

Peladophobia

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Peladophobia is used to describe the fear of going bald, particularly by people who start to see the initial signs of hair loss and balding. It is also used to describe the fear of bald people.

Aphthongs

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Aphthongs are silent letters in words such as the letter k in knight, the letter w in answer, the letter g in sign, or the letter t in castle. So even though these silent words are essential to spell a word, they have no sound.

Rhinotillexomania

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Believe it or not; nose picking is an actual psychiatric disorder that’s common in kids and a few young adults. The medical term for it is rhinotillexomania and isn’t physically harmful. It can, however, affect the person’s social life.

Semordnilap

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Semordnilap are words that mean one thing when pronounced or spelled forward, but mean something completely different when pronounced or spelled backwards. Some examples include: stressed and desserts, dog and god, or maps and spam.

Niddick

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The niddick is the nape or the back of the neck. This word is also used to describe the back of the head. The earliest use of the word was during the 16th century by physician Thomas Phaer.

Palindromes

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There are a ton of books dedicated to palindromes. But what are they exactly? They’re words or phrases the read the same way forward as they do backwards. Some examples of palindromes include words like racecar, dad, and level, or phrases like “a nut for a jar of tuna.”

Philtrum

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 The philtrum is that groove, junction or fold of skin between the nose and the upper lip. It may also be referred to as the medial cleft, which is derived from the ancient Greek term for love charm.

Acnestis

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Ever get that itch in the back of the shoulder blades that seems positively unreachable? Well, that trouble spot is called the acnestis. Most people often rub this spot against the wall or have a loved one or friend scratch their acnestis for them when they have an itch.

Caruncle

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The triangular-like pink region on the inside corner of the eye is called a caruncle. Essentially, it’s nothing more than fleshy pink skin, which can get very itchy sometimes because it is covering a series of sweat glands.

Griffonage

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Anyone who has ever had the misfortune of deciphering the mad scribblings of a doctor is familiar with griffonage. The very definition of the word is illegible handwriting, which is what most pharmacists would call a doctor’s prescription.

Crapulous

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The word crapulous is used to describe that bloated, nauseated sensation someone gets when they have overindulged in too much drinking. Someone who is crapulous may also be showing the symptoms of someone who has had a few too many.

Dysania

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Dysania is a feeling of not being able to get out of bed first thing in the morning. Although it’s not officially considered a medical condition, it may be a symptom of fatigue caused by an actual health ailment.

Kummerspeck

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Kummerspeck literally translates to grief bacon and it is used to describe emotional eating. For example, on those days when someone is feeling extremely lonely or sad, they may feel the need to order three pizzas and eat them all without any help.

Paresthesia

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When someone’s arm or foot falls asleep, they experience a sort of tingling sensation on their limb. This feeling is called paresthesia, and often results from someone laying against their arm or foot for too long, causing a decrease in blood flow.

Pizza Saver


US PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE

That tiny round plastic in the middle of a pizza that looks kind of like a tiny table for dolls is called a pizza saver. In 1983, Carmela Vitale patented the invention and it has since been used to prevent pizza boxes from collapsing and squishing the pizza inside.

Petrichor

ENVIROMANTIC/ISTOCK

In 1964, Australian researchers came up with the word Petrichor, which was derived from two Greek words. The first is Petra, which means stone, and the second is ichor, which means blood of the gods. The word refers to the clean aroma resulting from rain.

Tittle

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Ever wondered what the dot on a lower case “i” is called? Well wonder no more because it is called a tittle. The word is also used to describe a small amount or a part of something.

Glabella

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The glabella is the name of the bone under the area that connects the brow ridges. So, naturally, the word is used to describe the smooth area of the forehead between the eyebrows, too.

Souffle Cups

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The small white cups that hold condiments like mayo, ketchup, or mustard at fast food restaurants are called souffle cups. That’s pretty ironic given that they aren’t actually used to hold tiny pieces of souffle.

Keeper

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The last loop on a person’s belt is called a keeper, and it wasn’t just designed for aesthetic purposes. The keeper guarantees that the end of the belt will remain nice and snug instead of flapping around.

Pass

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A group of donkeys is called a pass. But most people are more familiar with the word being used to describe when someone makes a pass at someone at a singles bar or when allowing someone to pass them in traffic.

Parliament

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A group of rooks or owls is known as a parliament. For example, “it’s pretty common to see a parliament of owls in the forest.” The word is also used to describe the highest legislature in the United Kingdom.

Trip

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A group of three or more goats are known as a tribe or herd. But another word for this group is called a trip. This is probably because these goats can often get in the way and cause a human to trip.

Unkindness

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A flock of ravens flying overhead is called an unkindness. It’s not common, but the word can be used in this fashion. Of course, most people associate the word with someone who is harsh and inconsiderate.

Murder

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In modern times, a group of crows is known as a flock. But in the 15th century, groups of crows were named murder when seen in groups because they were often associated with plague or death. Essentially, they were a death omen.

Gam

MR1805/ISTOCK

A gam is a school of whales or dolphins. The term is also used to describe an informal conversation among whalers at sea. But both of these are rarely used in this fashion. In fact, the word gam is often used to refer to a woman’s leg.

Smack

DIANA ROBINSON VIA FLICKR // CC BY-ND 2.0

One jellyfish is scary enough because despite being very beautiful, their stings can be very painful. But they don’t always travel alone. So, whenever there’s a group of jellyfish, that group is called a smack.

Business

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It’s true that business is used to refer to someone’s occupation, profession, or the actual place of business itself. It is also used to describe a group of ferrets, too, but it is extremely rare to hear the word being used this way.

String

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Everyone knows that a string is a thread made out of a material like cotton. But in this case, it means a group of ponies. The term was used in the James Lipton book “An Exaltation of Larks.”

Mononymous

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A person who goes by one name is called mononymous. For example Cherilyn Sarkisian goes by the mononymous stage name Cher. Of course, she’s not the only singer who is mononymous. Madonna’s full name is Madonna Louise Ciccone.

Vorfreude

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Vorfreude describes feelings of joy someone feels thinking about the good things that are going to happen. For example, someone might feel vorfreude thinking about how good it’s going to feel once they receive their diploma at graduation.

Quincunx

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A quincunx is a geometric pattern that contains five points arranged in a cross with four of them forming a square or rectangle shape and a fifth in the middle. This might be familiar to those who play games with dice where one side has five dots.

Biblioklept

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Recognize the word klept in biblioklept? A kleptomaniac is someone who shoplifts obsessively. Although this condition is common in teens, it can occur at any age. And in this case, a biblioklept is someone who is obsessed with stealing books.

Apricity

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Apricity describes the feeling someone gets when they feel the warmth of the sun’s rays on their skin on a cold winter day. It is, however, an outdated word that hasn’t really been used in a very long time.

Contronym

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A contronym is a word that can mean one thing while meaning the exact opposite. In essence, it is its own antonym. For example, the word cleave can mean to cling or to sever. Also, the term first degree can be very bad as in the saying murder in the first degree. But it can also be used to say that something is not so bad like a first degree burn, which is less severe.

Grawlix

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A grawlix is a word that describes that series of symbols used in a comic book or graphic novel that represents the use of profane language. These typographical symbols get the message across without actually writing the obscene words in question.

Zarf

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Most people who have ordered a cup of hot coffee at Starbucks should be familiar with a zarf, which is that cardboard sleeve that goes around the coffee cup. But it can also come in the form of an ornamental metal or rubber holder.

The Zings

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Having the zings is another way of describing being hungover. But it should not be confused with the word zing, which also refers to someone or something being interesting or lively. The Zings are also a 5-piece Philadelphia pop group.