1. This is my glabella - the area between my eyebrows. And
that is just the first of many things that you may not have known had
names, until today.
2. 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. When I get that itching and tingling sensation, that means my foot's asleep - paresthesia.
4. Dysania means having difficulty getting out of bed in the morning but in my house, we call that Monday and also other days.
5. Doctors are notorious for "griffonage" or illegible handwriting.
6. The area between your shoulder blades that you can never scratch is called the acnestis.
7. Palindromes are words or phrases that read the
same way forward or backward. Like "Mom" or "Taco Cat" or the sentence
"Marge lets Norah see Sharons telegram."
8. But a Semordnilap reads one way forward,
"stressed" and another way backward, "desserts." Other examples include
diaper, parts and of course, semordnilap itself.
9. Aphthongs are silent letters in words like
"knight" or "fight" or "Django." This might be something that you
already "knew." By the way, never forget 6 miles of canoeing, one
10. If your house has 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. Your "Googleganger" is the person with your name
who shows up in Google search results when you Google yourself. Like,
for me, there is a John Green who's known as one of the "Four Horsemen
of Sasquatchery." Then there's John Green the realtor who has
JohnGreen.com - my mortal enemy - and of course John Green with the
12. Fans of the television program Phineas and Ferb—which is to say humans—all know that those plastic or metal things at the end of shoelaces are called aglets.
13. But you might not know that the metal thing that
holds your eraser to the end of your pencil is called a "ferrule" - not
the wild cat kind, obviously.
14. When you're playing chess and every possible
move is to your disadvantage, the situation is called a zugzwang. Which
by the way, sometimes also happens when you're playing Connect Four.
Zombie Fairy is in a bit of a zugzwang right now because if she goes
over here, she's going to get attacked by Troll Face, over here by a
pirate and up here, a bunch of dogs.
15. Scroop is the rustling swooshy sound that 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.
17. The plastic table-like item found in the middle
of a pizza box is called a box tent and was patented in 1983. Pro Tip:
Many people in the biz now call it a pizza saver. How do I know so much
about pizza? You gotta have a forte in this world.
18. Kummerspeck is a German word that refers to
excess weight gained from emotional over-eating. Its literal
translation? Grief bacon. That's another 25 cents towards the staff pork
19. If you're packing on the Kummerspeck, you might
be feeling crapulous. Though it sounds like a word invented by a
middle-schooler in the 1990's, crapulous dates back to the 1530's when
it was used to describe that gross nauseated feeling that you get from
eating or drinking too much.
20. The small triangular bump on the inside corner of each eye is called the caruncula.
21. The depressed area of skin under your nose and above your upper lip is called the philtrum
22. And niddick is the technical term for the nape of your neck.
23. Obsessive nose picking is called rhinotillexomania.
24. Peladophobia is the fear of bald people. It is
most frequently suffered by balding people. Don't worry James Madison,
you die before you go bald.
25. Pentheraphobia is the fear of your mother-in-law
which I don't have. I would tell you if I did. I don't. I promise, I
don't. No, what are you talking about, I do not. No. No. She's awesome.
She really is awesome actually.
26. Arachibutyrophobia is a real mouthful of a word that means the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth.
27. Scandiknavery means deceit or trickery 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 wine bottle is called a punt.
29. An agraffe is the wire cage that keeps the cork in a bottle of champagne.
30. Barm is the foam on a beer.
31. Encounter too many punts, agraffes, and barns in one night and you'll have the Zings or a peppy name for a hangover.
32. Some people have started calling the cardboard
sleeve that comes wrapped around your coffee a zarf. I'm now going to be
one of those people.
33. The string of typographical symbols that comic
strips use to indicate profanity is called a grawlix. *#%* yeah it is!
What are you going to do about that Mark? Oh, just bleep it?
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 is 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.
35. When you're outside on a cold day and you can feel the warmth of the sun, you're experiencing a moment of apricity.
36. A compulsive book thief or hoarder is a biblioklept.
37. Thomas Edison had five dots, like the ones you
see on dice, tattooed on his left forearm. This pattern is properly,
although almost never, referred to as a quincunx. It is now gang
affiliated making Tommy Edison an OG.
38. You probably already know the meaning of
schadenfreude but another super-specific German word 'vorfreude'
describes a kinder, less terrible feeling. The joy you feel when
thinking about good things that will happen.
39. A person known by one name like Adele or Moby or
Voltaire or Madonna, is mononymous. By the way, just for the record,
Adele Laurie Blue Adkins, Richard Melville Hall, Francois-Marie Arouet
and Madonna, its just Madonna.
40. And let's run out the clock today with some old-timey collective nouns from James Lipton's wonderful book An Exaltation of Larks. A group of ponies is called a string.
41. An assembly of ferrets is a business, and it is very serious business indeed.
42. A group of jellyfish is a smack.
43. Its a gam of whales.
44. Murder of crows.
45. Unkindness of ravens.
46. Three or more goats and you've got yourself a
trip. Three or more goats yelling like humans and you've got yourself a
short-lived internet meme.
47. Many owls form a parliament.
48. And you might think that a group of donkeys is an ass-load but you'd be wrong. It's a pass of asses.