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18 Words for Things You Never Knew Had a Name

What is the name for ...

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Names you’ve never heard of

Whether you’ve always wondered what these things are called, or never realized there was a name for them to begin with, you’ll love learning about these uncommon names for common things. Just don’t confuse them with these words from early dictionaries that no longer exist.

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Aglet

The plastic covering on the end of a shoelace is an aglet. They make it easy for laces to wave through your shoes without unraveling. In ancient Rome, wealthy people made their aglets out of metal, not the plastic of today.

nasal-polypAsier-Romero/ShutterStock

Columella

Your columella is the bottom part of your nose that separates your nostrils. Some people have more of a hanging columella that you could change with plastic surgery. You’ll sound smarter if you drop columella or one of these fancy words that make you sound smarter in conversation.

Background of ripe red raspberries, close upS-F/Shutterstock

Drupelets

The bumps on raspberries or blackberries have their own name—drupelets. Raspberries and blueberries are technically “aggregate fruits” because their flowers form drupelets instead of whole fruit, per dictoinary.com.

A pencil eraser removing a written mistake on a piece of paper.Oleksiy Rezin/Shutterstock

Ferrule

A ferrule is a rig or cap of metal that strengthens or joins two things. One example of a ferrule is the metal band on the top of a pencil that holds an eraser in place. The word also refers to the cap at the end of a cane, the knob at the hub of an umbrella, and the tube or pipe that fits together with a handle to a paintbrush. It may sound fake, but it’s real! Just like these other words people mistakenly say aren’t words.

Woman nailsLeszek Czerwonka/Shutterstock

Purlicue

Purlicue refers to the space between the extended thumb and index finger. But it actually has more than one odd meaning. In Scottish, the word means a flourish at the end of a pen stroke, or the end of a discourse.

Two ping-pong rackets and a ball on a green table. Close-up, ping-pong net.Olga_Kuzmina/Shutterstock

Pips

Pips are the little bumps on the surface of a ping pong paddle. Paddles could have long or short pips, depending on the type of table tennis. Short pips are the more common style. If you didn’t know this word, you might now know these 20 words that are their own opposites.

Raw vegetable and fruit juices in glass bottlesYakov Oskanov/Shutterstock

Ullage

The empty space between the bottle top and the liquid is an ullage. This leaves enough space, so bottles don’t leak.

health, people and hearing concept - close up of young african american woman earSyda Productions/Shutterstock

Tragus

The tragus is the little lump of flesh in front of the ear canal. When you want to cover your ears from noise, it’s the little nub that you press down. Your tragus is one of the 17 body parts you didn’t realize have names.

portrait of a beautiful catfantom_rd/Shutterstock

Vibrissae

Vibrissae is another word for a cat’s whiskers. The word was originally meant to refer to human nostril hairs, according to Merriam-Webster.

violin, holes in violinsczybo/Shutterstock

F-hole

The opening in a violin is an F-hole. The violin previously had half-moon, flame, S-shape, and other designs before the standard F-hole.

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Eggcorn

An eggcorn is a word or a phrase that is often used by mistake for another. For example, a common eggcorn is for “all intensive purposes” instead of, the correct, “all intents and purposes.” It’s one of the words and phrases you’re probably using all wrong.

Rain on asphalt or tarmac road creating ripples, high contrast during autumn.Stefan Holm/Shutterstock

Petrichor

If you love the smell of fresh air after rain stops, you appreciate petrichor. This pleasant smell is thanks to a mix of bacteria, plants, and lightning, BBC reports.

A close up portrait of a beautiful brunetteAndrew Angelov/Shutterstock

Glabella

The glabella is the flat piece of skin between the eyebrows. This sure isn’t one of the overused words that have lost meaning.

Close up white bedding sheets and pillow, Messy bed conceptiMoved Studio/Shutterstock

Dysania

The feeling you have where you can’t get out of bed has a name: dysania. Although it’s not an official condition, the BBC reports that the behavior isn’t just feeling sleepier than usual. It’s often seen in people suffering from depression.

Pen and book, close upAfrica Studio/Shutterstock

Griffonage

One of the common running jokes about doctors is their awful handwriting. And their scrawl has a name, griffonage. The French word means careless or illegible handwriting. You can easily drop this word into a conversation along with these 25 new words added to the dictionary last year.

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Zugzwang

Zugzwang doesn’t roll off the tongue, but it does refer to something people have to do often: something that you don’t want to do. The word specifically refers to a chess game strategy where a player is forced to make a move that they don’t want to make.

Extreme Close-up Photo Of African Woman's EyeAndrey_Popov/Shutterstock

Caruncle

If you ever get sand in your eye, it likely forms in the caruncle—the small, pink inner corner of the eye. It’s one of the parts of the body that gets very little credit.

Raven (Corvus corax)Piotr Krzeslak/Shutterstock

An unkindness

Nope, an unkindness doesn’t just refer to something cruel. A group of ravens is actually called an unkindness. The phrase stems from the fact that ravens have higher stress levels when they travel in a pack. An unkindness is sort of one of the 25 words that don’t mean what you think they do.

Emily DiNuzzo
Emily DiNuzzo is an associate editor at The Healthy and a former assistant staff writer at Reader's Digest. Her work has appeared online at the Food Network and Well + Good and in print at Westchester Magazine, and more. When she's not writing about food and health with a cuppa by her side, you can find her lifting heavy things at the gym, listening to murder mystery podcasts, and liking one too many astrology memes.