The Quick 10: 10 Things You Didn’t Know Had Names

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1. You know how it smells after it rains? That clean, greenish smell when rain lands on dry ground? That’s petrichor, from the Greek petra (stone) and ichor (the blood of Greek gods and goddesses). The term was coined by two Australian researchers in 1964.

2. Originally, a zarf was a metal chalice keep the heat from your coffee from burning your fingers. The name for the fancy cupholder has morphed into the modern-day cardboard sleeve that comes wrapped around your hot coffee.

3. Chanking: Chewed-up food that’s been spit out. (Try to avoid giving us reason to use this one, OK?)

4. Scroop is the rustling, swooshy sound ballgowns make. More specifically, it’s the sound produced by the movement of silk.

5. If you’ve put your shirt on backwards, you have your arms in the wrong armsayes, which are the armholes.

6. People with expressive faces often end up with wrinkles in their glabella—the space between the eyebrows.

7. Not only is the word “nef” rather esoteric, the ornamental, ship-shaped stand it describes is fairly uncommon as well.

8. You know the words “lock” and “tendril,” but did you know the similar feat? Aside from being an act requiring great strength, it describes a dangling curl of hair.

9. Playful, joking banter can be called badinage.

10. Libel is one thing, but a damaging lie made publicly known for political effect is a roorback.

11. Bonus! How about something that doesn’t have a name? There is no medical terminology for the back of the knee.

What are some of your favorite interesting, uncommon nouns, _flossers?

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April 19, 2011 - 7:22pm
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