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Top 10 Everyday Things You Didn't Know Actually Had Names

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp

Yes, actually, there IS a name for that! For this list, we’ll be looking at common occurrences, items, or sights which are usually referred to in slang-like or descriptive terms, but which actually have official names, like aglet, nurdle, and girffonage! WatchMojo counts down the Top 10 Common Things You Didn’t Know Had Names.

Special thanks to our user Muppet_Face for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at https://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Common+Things+You+Didn%27t+Know+Had+Names.


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Script written by Nathan Sharp

Top 10 Common Things You Didn’t Know Had Names

Yes, actually, there IS a name for that! Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Common Things You Didn’t Know Had Names.

For this list, we’ll be looking at common occurrences, items, or sights which are usually referred to in slang-like or descriptive terms, but which actually have official names.

#10: Aglet

Picture your favorite pair of shoes. You know those little plastic tube things at the ends of the laces? Those are called aglets. They aren’t exclusive to shoes, either. They come with any form of lace that has a danger of unraveling, including hoodie drawstrings, which we’re sure youknow if you have a penchant for chewing them. The word comes the Old French “aiguillette,” which is translated to “needle.” Oh ho, but the aglet excitement doesn't stop there! They also pop up in Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew,” referring to the old method of fastening clothing together before the invention of buttons.

#9: Nurdle

You probably call it “a dab of toothpaste”, but now you can get technical. A gob of toothpaste, specifically the tri-colored wave-like design popularized by Aquafresh, is called a nurdle, and believe it or not, the concept actually went to court. In 2010, Colgate-Palmolive launched a toothpaste advertised with the words “triple action” and a blue, white, and green nurdle. In return, GlaxoSmithKline – team Aquafresh – “created a reasonable apprehension” that they would sue Colgate over the design, claiming that the nurdle was theirs, regardless of which colors are used. The two companies eventually came to a mutual result, thus preventing WWIII.

#8: Griffonage

We’re sure some of you have a serious case of griffonage. And no, it’s not characteristics of being a Gryffindor, despite how much you may want it to be. Griffonage is actually messy handwriting, or, as Merriam-Webster so eloquently puts it, “a crude or illegible scrawl.” The word, like aglet, comes from the French word of the same name, which stems from their verb “griffonner,” meaning “to scribble or scrawl.” So the next time someone accuses you of having messy handwriting, one-up them and sound like a smarty-pants by declaring that youactually have griffonage. Just don't do it in writing.

#7: Aphthong

A gallant knight is an example of an aphthong. So is the knight’s furious wrath and his wrinkled skin. No, an aphthong is not a fancy word for describing badass knights, it's actually a word for silent letters. These probably confused you a lot in school, but calling them aphthongs instead of silent letters would have probably confused you a whole lot more. It’s an incredibly rare word, and if you use it, you’ll probably just get a lot of bewildered stares, but there you have it. Now go use it and impress your wordy friends.

#6: Lemniscate

You probably call it a figure-eight, or the infinity symbol. You might have seen them in geometry class, or on the backs of cars in the form of bumper stickers. While you can continue to call them figure-eights or infinity symbols, they are actually lemniscates, and they are neat looking buggers. The word derives not from French, like others on this list, but the Latin “lemniscatus,” which means “decorated with ribbons.” So we took a Latin word for fun decorations and donated it to math. That’s not nearly as fun.

#5: Petrichor

No, petrichor is not the name of an obscure Pokemon or “Star Wars” monster. It’s actually the smell of the Earth after a rainfall, and it is glorious. The word is a combination of two Greek words, “petra,” meaning “stone,” and “ichor,” which was the fluid that flowed through the veins of the Gods of Olympus, and hot damn is that cool. The term wasn’t created until 1964, when two Australian scientists concluded that the scent is actually an oil emitted by plants. So next time you take a whiff, just remember that you’re essentially smelling the plant equivalent of hair grease.

#4: Armscye

If you’re a tailor or into sewing, then you definitely know what an armscye is. For everyone else, it’s an armhole. The scholarly consensus for the etymology of the word is that it is a combination of the words “arm” and “scye,” a Scots and Ulster word meaning “the opening of a gown into which the sleeve is inserted.” A more folksy interpretation of the word is that old sewing texts used the words “arm’s eye” to describe the hole, and the poor printing of the time made the word appear as “armscye.” I mean, sure, that's not true, but it’s still a fun little story!

#3: Glabella

It should come as no surprise that areas of the body we may take for granted actually have proper names. For example, the little bridge thing between your nostrils is called the “columella nasi”, and that space between your eyebrows threatening to turn unibrow on you is the “glabella”. The name comes from the Latin “glabellus,” which means “smooth”. More than just a plucking hot spot, the glabella can be used to test for dehydration. When you pinch your glabella and lift it above your skull, it should snap back into place. If the skin remains stretched, you’re dehydrated.

#2: Tittle

It's as fun to say as it is to look at, but the definition is actually incredibly boring. A tittle is the little dot above lower case i's and j's. Still with us? It is also called a superscript dot, but that’s not nearly as much fun to say as tittle. While the word is incredibly rare, it can actually be found in the Christian Bible, where Matthew writes, “One jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled,” which is basically old timey talk for “cross your t's and dot your i's.”

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

The Bottom of a Wine Bottle

The S-shaped Hole in a Violin

The Space Between Your Pointer Finger and Thumb

#1: Zarf

Think about that for a second: there is actually something out there in the world called a zarf. And chances are, you touch one every day. Zarf is a name for the cardboard sleeve that slips over a coffee cup. The word comes from 13th century Turkey, meaning “container” or “envelope,” where it served the same function as today – except theirs was usually ornamental metal instead of cardboard. So, next time you’re at McDonald’s, ask for a zarf and see if they actually give you one or stare at you like you asked for a Triple, Venti, Soy, No-Foam Latte.


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