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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Borboryg-what?! Little Known Words and More


Have you ever been embarrassed by borborygmus? Chances are you have at least once in your lifetime. But a borborygmus is nothing to be red-faced about. Everyone experiences a borborygmus. It is part of being human. Even animals can experience it. What is a borborygmus? It is the sound you hear coming from your abdomen caused by gas. Sometimes, a borborygmus can be so loud that it causes embarrassment. There's no need to use a stethoscope to hear these rumbling and gurgling sounds. Winnie the Pooh knows how to best describe borborygmi (plural of borborygmus). When he is hungry, he would often say, "There's a rumbly in my tumbly."

There are many little known words in the English language for things that people don't know the exact words for. For example, do you know what the plastic caps at the ends of your shoelaces are called? Or what is the word that refers to the white part at the bottom of your fingernails ? Maybe you do know these words or maybe you don't. But even if you do, it's possible that you don't know everything single word in the list below. Time to up your vocabulary with hardly known words as well as medical terms that you can use to either simplify communication or impress your family and friends.

Aglet
Your shoelaces have an aglet at both ends. This is the covering (usually plastic) of the end of your shoelaces. It is used to reinforce the ends from fraying.

Ampersand
The "&" symbol is often called the "and" sign. But is has a name. "&" is called ampersand.

Arms akimbo
When you have your arms bent on your elbows' crooks and your hands are on your hips, you call this position arms akimbo. Seems easier to say to people "put your hands on your hips." But it may be more fun to say arms akimbo. It is doubtful though that people will understand what you want them to do when you say "arms akimbo everyone."

Armscye
A good tailor or dressmaker will surely know what size armscye is best for you. What's an armscye? It is another way of saying armhole.

Bier
It is important that the bier is stable and can hold a good amount of weight. Why? Because it is the stand that supports the weight of the coffin or casket when a body lies in state. Most funeral parlors use metal biers. A decorated and sometimes raised bier is called a catafalque.

Brannock device
Want to know your exact shoe size? Use a Brannock device. It's like a ruler for feet. You can find this in most shoe stores making it easy for sales personnel to provide you with the right sized shoes.

Bunghole
If you never had a name for the hole found on a barrel or on other containers that fit a cork-like object, now you do. It's called a bunghole. This hole is where the cork or similarly shaped objects are placed to cover up the hole. You call the cork-like object a bung. Thus, you have a bunghole.

Coccyx
Tailbone = coccyx. It is the last fused vertebrae located at the base of your spine.

Cremains
Corpses and cadavers are dead bodies. These are often called remains. When the body is cremated, the ashes are aptly called cremains.

Crepuscular rays
You know what "God's rays" are? These are the rays of sunlight you see coming down from the sky. They often inspire spiritual feelings or leave one in awe of the supreme being above. These rays are called crepuscular rays.

Defenestrate
There is an actual word that specifically means to throw something out a window. And that word is defenestrate.

Diglot
Are you a diglot? If you are bilingual (ability to speak two languages), then you can be described as a diglot.

Ferrule
Know what that circular cap or ring at the end of an umbrella is called? It's a ferrule. Ferrules are not only found on umbrellas. The aglets on shoelaces are also ferrules. Another example of a ferrule is the crimped metal sleeve that holds the eraser to a wood pencil.

Fletchings
Robin Hood's arrows would definitely have fletchings. These used to be made of feathers. But today, most fletchings are made of plastic and sometimes metal. Where are the fletchings of an arrow? These are found at the opposite end of the arrowhead. Fletchings stabilize the trajectory of the arrow. It may also be useful to know that what the slot at the tip of the tail of the arrow is called. This slot is the nock. The string of the bow sits on the nock keeping the arrow in place just before it is released from the bow.

Fourchette
Do your gloves have fourchettes? If they do, then that means they have shaped pieces or strips on the finger side of the gloves.

Galilee
Some chapels and churches have porches right at the entrance. This area is called the galilee.

Genuflect

Many don't use the word genuflect anymore. Some have never even heard of the word even if they perform the action that the word describes. It simply means to bend one's knee towards the ground. This is usually done as a sign of respect or in worship. Lately, genuflecting has become popular because of Tim Tebow, the quarterback of the New York Jets.

Glabella
Those who have unibrows or monobrows, which are brows that are so thick that they almost meet creating one very long eyebrow, can't see much of their glabella. This is the smooth part of one's forehead that separates the eyebrows.

Gnathion
What's the tip of your chin called? It's the gnathion. Jay Leno has one of the most well pronounced gnathions in Hollywood today.

Gynecomastia
The enlarged breasts in men are referred to by many as man-boobs. The medical term is gynecomastia.

Lemniscate
This is the technical term for what is commonly called the infinity symbol. It looks like the number 8 turned 90 degrees. Still don't know what is looks like? Here it is:

Lunula
Have you ever wondered what that whitish crescent or half moon like mark is that you find at the base of your fingernails and toenails? It's called a lunula. Referring to more than one lunula? Then say lunulae.

Morton's Toe
Don't freak out if your second toe is longer than your big toe. It's not a life or death situation. But you do have a condition called Morton's Toe.

Nuncheon
If you love having a light snack or drink in the afternoons, then you enjoy having a nuncheon. Nuncheon can also refer to refreshments taken in between meals but mostly in the afternoons.

Opisthenar
Your palm is considered the front of your hand. The back is called opisthenar.

Peen
Carpenters know what the peen is. Or at least they should know. It's the other side of the hammer's striking edge that is sometimes shaped like a wedge. Depending on the shape of the peen, it can either be used for chipping or indenting.

Petrichor
Often times, the petrichor can smell weird, strong, or funny. Sometimes, it can even smell good. This is the after rain smell when the rain hits the ground.

Philtrum
When you place your index finger just above your upper lip to tell someone to be quiet or when you are in deep thought, you are putting your finger on your philtrum. This is the groove situated right above and in the middle of your upper lip.

Punt
Did you notice the indentation found at the bottom of glass bottles? You call this the punt. Some say the punt is there to strengthen the glass bottle. But the jury is still out on the punt's exact function.

Purlicue
Purlicue can mean several things. It can mean the curl or fancy twist at the very end of a word written by hand (also known as a curlicue) or the summary of a speech. But the most interesting meaning of purlicue is the space found in between your thumb and your index finger.

Tittle
Are you are one of those people who make sure that all the i's and j's are dotted? Then you should know what that dot is called. It's a tittle. Other marks that appear on top of letters in other language (examples: Ó and ä) are also referred to as the tittle.

Uvula
Seen your uvula lately? You may have if you opened up your mouth really wide. It is the pink fleshy tissue found hanging near your tonsils.

It is all too possible that you may not use even a fourth of the words in this list. But it is always nice to learn new words. You will never know when these words may come in handy.

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