Helping women give birth is not solely done by midwives. There are male midwives, too. These mid-men are referred to as accouchers.
Suffering from this condition will not allow you to enjoy the smell of roses and many other things around you. Anosmia can be a temporary or permanent olfactory disorder where a person is unable to perceive odors.
Life can be bland for people who cannot taste anything at all (sour, bitter, sweet, salty and savory or umami). This inability of the tongue to detect taste is ageusia. But if only partial loss of taste is present, the right term to use is hypogeusia.
Do you know where your tear and sweat glands are in your eyes? They are in the caruncula. This is the pink flesh that you find in the inner corners of your eyes.
You probably thought a cobbler is a shoemaker. No, he is not. A cobbler repairs shoes. But what do you call someone who makes shoes (and leather harnesses)? That person is a cordwainer (from the French cordonnier).
A contrail is often seen when you look up high into a clear and blue sky. The contrail is the linear cloud that forms just behind planes. Why contrail? It’s the shortened form of condensation trail. The vapor coming out of the aircraft’s exhaust turns into ice crystals due to a process of condensation. Who knew men could create clouds?
Scientists involved in cryptozoology are those who chase after the Loch Ness monster, Bigfoot and other mysterious animals that may or may not exist.
The tiny bronze, silver or gold balls that cake makers use to decorate their cake masterpieces are called dragées. These are made of sugar and often resemble ball bearings. However, other sugar coated treats like sugared almonds as well as medicinal/therapeutic pills are also called dragées.
Canines have dewclaws. A declaw is a very small talon, a fifth claw that you can find way above and to the inner side of a dog’s toes. The jury is still out on whether the declaw is useful or not to dogs.
If you like to put a series of periods or other marks at the end of your written thoughts, then you should know that this is called an ellipsis. Ellipsis can indicate an unfinished thought or an omission of words.
When you think “frog” you think of the amphibian. But a frog is also a term that refers to the device found at the meeting of railroad tracks. This device allows the wheels from one track to branch towards the other track.
Want to know what your handwriting reveals about you? See a graphologist. He can tell you your characteristics by simply examining your handwriting.
If you love to fish, then you must be skilled at halieutics. This refers to the art, practice or activity of fishing. Who knows? You might even dabble in ichthyology, the study of fishes.
The chances that you know this will be low unless you love your punctuation marks. When you use a question mark and an exclamation mark side by side, in that order after a statement, then you are using an interrobang. “He found the snake where?!” is an example. ‘Interro’ is for the interrogative punctuation, which is the question mark. ‘Bang’ refers to the exclamation mark. Other words for exclamation mark are: exclamation point and dembanger.
Corks on champagne bottles normally have muselets on, an invention that has celebrated its sesquicentennial back in 1994. These are the wire enclosures that keep the corks from popping out. What's sesquicentennial? It refers to the 150th year anniversary.
To continue the subject on wine, if you are wondering if there is a term to mean the space inside the wine bottle what is not filled with wine, then wonder no more. That's the ullage.
Obdormition and paresthesia
Either terms refer to the pins and needles sensation you experience when your leg or another part of your body remains unmoving for a long period of time. When this happens to the leg, people say their leg fell asleep.
Do you know any pauciloquents? They are people who are not fond of using too many words when they speak. Sometimes, the situation dictates whether it is more prudent to a pauciloquent rather a blabbermouth, rambler or windbag.
Doors with hinges have pintles. These are the bolts or pins that hold the door hinges together allowing the door to open and close with ease.
Sometimes people can’t remember specific names for things or they totally don’t have a name for them. That’s when people refer to these things as thingummies (plural of thingummy). Other words synonymous to thingummy are: doodad, doohickey, doojigger, thingamabob and thingamajig.
Waxing and waning
Waxing is when the moon becomes brighter, moving towards the full moon stage. Waning is when the brightness of the moon decreases. You can use these two words together in one sentence if you want to say that something is growing bigger (or is increasing) and then getting smaller (or is decreasing).
Yarmulke and zucchetto
Both are skullcaps worn for religious reasons. The yarmulke is worn by mostly male Orthodox Jews and Conservative Jews in synagogues or even at home. On the other hand, the zucchetto is worn by the Roman Catholic priests. The Pope wears a white zucchetto. While other members of the clergy wear other colors. Muslims do not wear skullcaps. Just the same, it is important to know that Muslim men wear the keffiyeh on their heads while Muslim women wear the hijab.
Does your favorite coffee shop barista ever ask you if you need a zarf? Probably not. The zarf was originally a holder for drinking cups that do not have handles. These were made of metal and originated in the Middle East. Modern day zarfs are called coffee cup sleeves and are made of (or at least they should be) recyclable materials.
Learning new things, whether it be new words, new skills, or new facts about yourself or others is always a great thing. Make it a mission in life to keep on learning. Start with updating your vocabulary and learning more about your own language and how to make use of the many words to make your conversations and communications more alive and interesting.
If you missed the first installment of Little Known Words and More, click here.