Have you ever looked in the mirror and wondered what that dent in your top lip is called? Or for the life of you, tried to remember the name for the dangly bit in your throat? Well, Chatoffee is here to help – here are a list of my favourite mind-slipping words. Make sure to add your own in the comments.
You’ve queued up, given your name and now you’re waiting patiently for your steaming hot coffee. Just make sure you get a ‘zarf’ with that so you don’t burn your hand. Yes, a zarf is the name for the cardboard holder for your hot drink. A zarf is traditionally a holder made of ornamental metal, for a coffee cup without a handle – but you know, Starbucks can’t afford that each time!
Mum, Dad, Madam, level, racecar, rotator – these are all ‘palindromes’; words that can be spelt the same forwards and backwards. My own name (Hannah) is one and I frequently forget what the word for this is! The word palindrome is derived from the Greek word ‘palin’ meaning “back” and ‘dromos’ meaning “direction”. Palindromes are not reserved for single words either – the phrase ‘Eva, can I see bees in a cave?’ is also a palindrome.
You may have a beautiful cupids bow mouth, or perhaps you don’t have such defined lips, but what we all have is that vertical groove between our nose and top lip. I think pretty much everyone knows there’s a name for that dent, but I bet you can’t remember what it’s called? Well, it’s a ‘philtrum’. There’s no real purpose to the philtrum, it’s just there as a reminder that when we were growing in the womb, the two sides of our face developed independently and joined together in the middle.
I have to admit, I had no idea that this thing even had a name. A ‘tittle’ is the name given to the dot on top of an ‘i’ or ‘j’. Tittle is an archaic word and is rarely used nowadays – but you never know it might come up in a quiz!
I can remember typing my first dictation as a legal secretary many years ago and hearing the word ‘ampersand’ and having no idea what this even was, let alone how to spell it. Turns out I didn’t need to spell it; this is the name for the ‘&’ symbol, meaning ‘and’. Ampersand originated when the the letters of et, Latin for ‘and’, were joined together.
How often do you speak to people on the phone? If you’re anything like me, not very often. It has become such the norm these days to conduct conversations with friends and family via text or group message. And, if you’re anything like me you will quite regularly use exclamation marks to show excitement or incredulity. Ever used ‘?!’ when you’re really excited? Well, there’s a name for this – it’s ‘interrobang’ or ‘interabang’. The interrobang has been around since 1966 would you believe?!
Ever wondered what the dangly bit in the middle of your throat is called? Many people mistake this dangly bit for their tonsils, but this piece of tissue is actually the ‘uvula’ (or to give it its proper name, the palatine uvula). It is your uvula that causes you to gag if something touches it and it can also be one of the causes of snoring! However, the main purpose of your uvula is to prevent food from entering your nasal passage.
I’m sure you’ve all woken up with a bit of ‘sleep’ in the corner of your eye, but did you know that the little pink bit in corner has a name? It’s a ‘lacrimal Caruncle‘ (or more commonly just simple ‘Caruncle’). If you did know that was its name I bet you didn’t know the reason we have it is actually because it’s a remnant of reptilian eye!
Ever woken up but your arm or your leg has stayed asleep? You probably call this annoying prickling or numbness ‘pins and needles’ but it’s medical name is actually ‘Paresthesia‘. It is said that you can relieve the tingling from your arm or hand just by rocking your head from side to side – let me know if it works for you.
OK, so I’m guessing most of the British population must have heard of an agraffe given recent sales of prosecco. No? No me neither. An ‘Agraffe‘ is actually the wire that holds the cork in a bottle of champagne or other fizzy wine. I definitely should have known this one!
Now, don’t forget to share these words with your friends, and let us know if you’ve got any other words you think we won’t have heard of.