Did you know that the English language contains more than a million words? Considering this daunting fact, it's natural that there will be words you haven't heard of, even if you've spoken the language your whole life. This vast vocabulary also suggests that it's probably possible to describe nearly anything with a single word. Well, it turns out that the two often coincide. It is true that almost anything has its own term in the English language, but it's also probable that you don't know many of them. In this article, we rounded up 12 such oddly specific and rare terms, some more funny than useful, but all worth knowing.
1. The clean aroma of rain
Did you ever stop to enjoy the clean, fresh aroma which spreads after it rains? This unique and beloved smell is called petrichor. It’s a combination of the Greek words petra, meaning stone and -ichor, meaning the blood of gods and goddesses. The term was coined by the two Australian researchers Isabel Bear and Dick Thomas when they included it in a paper they published in 1964.
2. The space between your eyebrows
Surprisingly, the space between your eyebrows has a specific name, too, glabella. When you scowl, you engage the muscle of the glabella, which causes the change in your expression.
3. Difficulty getting out of bed in the morning
Dysania is the feeling of waking up in the morning and feeling like getting out of bed is the greatest challenge in the world. Though we all experience this from time to time, if the feeling persists and impacts your day to day life, it may be a symptom of various medical conditions.
4. The plastic bits at the end of shoelaces
'Aglets' is the official word for those little plastic bits at the end of your shoelaces. As trivial as they may seem aglets are there to serve an important purpose - they keep your laces from unraveling and even make it easier to lace your shoes up.
5. The cardboard slip on to-go coffee cups
Though devices called zarfs have been around for centuries in the form of ornamental metal holders, the modern zarfs we all know were patented by Jay Sorensen in 1991. After burning his fingertips on a hot cup of coffee, causing him to spill the drink on his lap, Sorensen decided he must come up with a solution. So, the next time you’re in the coffee shop and in need of a zarf, you’ll know what to ask for.
6. The swooshy sound ballgowns make
To be more precise, scroop is the name of the sound made by the movement of silk. However, it is most commonly used to describe the sound you hear when walking in a ball gown (or alongside someone who is wearing one).
7. The dot in a lowercase "i"
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the "tittle" is that dot above a letter "I" or "J" in lowercase. It is thought that the phrase "to a T" has its origins in the word tittle because long before "to a T" became popular, the phrase "to a tittle" was used.
8. The excess weight from emotional eating
While there’s no direct German-to-English translation, the word Kummerspeck roughly translates to “grief bacon”. It refers to the weight gain that follows emotional eating due to a pain-inducing event, like a break-up, for example.
9. The nape of your neck
If you want to refer to the nape of your neck, you may use the official technical term for it: niddick. You could also mention that niddick has two tittles in it, and it is officially a valid Scrabble word.
10. Beer foam
A poorly poured glass of beer is overwhelmed in foam, or if you want to get specific, contain too much barm. This is the official name for beer foam, which is a byproduct of the yeast hitting the buffet in your beer. You may not want it in your beer, but you could make a really good bread out of it.
11. The warmth of the sun on a cold day
That nice feeling of the sun hitting your face on a very cold day is called apricity. It comes from the Latin word apricus, which means "having lots of sunshine" or "warmed by the sun." While the word is not in use these days, it was a popular term in the 19th century.
12. A group of ponies
If you ever spot a group of ponies you may say “I see a string!” Interestingly, a string of ponies is also British slang for 250 pounds.
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