40 Things You Didn’t Know Have Names

Did you know that the “sleeping 8” symbol you know as the infinity symbol is a lemniscate? It isn’t an important piece of information, but to me it is interesting to know that mathematicians bother to give a name to these symbols.

And why wouldn’t they? Names are important – they save us a lot of time.

In this post you will find a list of things which we use dozens of words to describe because we don’t know what to call them. The pins and needles feeling in your leg that is falling asleep; the high-pitched ringing in your ears that you can’t get rid of; the go-to solution that fixes every known device malfunction out there: turn it off and turn it on again.

All these things have one-word names that are just not commonly used; you will find the names below alongside many other less-known names. Maybe after reading this post, you might want to put some of the words to good use, in place of whatchamacallit, that-that-that thing, and other extended fillers. Let us know of more of these names in the comments.


The division sign, the one with the dots above and below a dash. In ancient times, the sign is used to mark passages that have issues and require a second look. It was not used to signify division until the 1600s.


The glabella is the space between the eyebrows. A glabellar reflex is a primitive reflex found in patients with Parkinson’s disease. When repeatedly tapped on the forehead, they blink continuously. Normal people do not.


It is the thing dangling at the back of the throat. Its purpose is to block off the pathway to your nose so that when you swallow something, you don’t choke. It also helps with your speech.

Rascette lines

The young people wrinkles across your wrist, rascette lines, are also known as bracelet lines, and are believed in palmistry to signify health and longevity.


The area between your forefinger and your thumb you see when you flash the letter L; unofficial symbol of the Glee club.

Hamburger button

The button to click or tap on to get access to the menu options. The three line navigational icon is named hamburger button because it looks like a hamburger: ☰ .


Sometimes known as curly braces { }


Also named hard brackets or square brackets [ ]


Also known as round brackets ( ). Parentheses is the plural form of parenthesis.


Also called diamond brackets <>


The symbols used in comics, used in place of actual profanity. It was created by Mort Walker, creator of the Beetle Bailey comics.


The three dots that indicate a voice or statement trailing off…


Used by proofreaders to insert punctuation or missing letters, the caret, ^, is also used in mathematics to indicate exponentiation (or superscripts)


The dots over i and j are knowned as tittles. The phrase, “to dot your i’s and cross your t’s” means to be thorough. The phrase “to a T” is thought to be derived from the phrase “to a tittle”.


The interrobang, ?! < these two symbols combined into one, like so: ‽, was a popular punctuation mark in the 1960s. It was found in newspaper articles and magazines, and even on Remington typewriters. It later on faded into obscurity due to lack of use.


The piece of cardboard that keeps your Starbucks coffee cup from burning your hand. Zarfs used to be made from metal, usually silver, copper, brass, and sometimes gold, and heavily decorated by motifs, engravings or even stones. It was used to carry coffee cups that have no handles.


The metal tip at the end of your shoelaces that keeps the laces from fraying. The aglet is also the poster boy for lists like this, and is popularized in pop culture by the animated series Phineas and Ferb.


Smell of rain after a dry spell. The petrichor aroma comes from a combination of plant oils and chemical compounds in soil, which is released when there is moisture in the air.


A Scottish word to describe the hesitation caused from forgetting a person’s name


A lack of self-control or when you lack the willpower to follow through with something you’re supposed to do. It’s also used to describe a condition when you against your better judgment.


The top of a person’s head; the crown.


The sometimes intricately sculpted structure that serves as the structural support for hand rails on a staircase, doubling as architecture.


The ringing sound you hear in your ears. Yes, the one you have no control over. An interesting note about it, people believe the sound is in E flat.


The crying or wailing of a newborn baby. It is a terrifying term, derived from an even scarier term vagitus uterinus, which is the crying of a fetus from inside the uterus.


The armhole that hasn’t had the sleeve sewn on. The only reason you might know the meaning of this word is if you are a tailor or a seamstress.


The song you cannot get out of your head. Unless you listen to another catchy song.

Oyster pail

The cheap, durable, easy to carry paperboard container your Chinese takeout comes in. The smart packaging design can actually be unfolded to form a plate, but with the use of chopsticks, it is easy to eat out of the pail, as is.


The pins and needles feeling you get when your leg falls asleep. There is a numbness and a wave of tingling (or ants crawling) sensation that lasts for under a minute.


The area between the bottom of your nose and the top of your lip


A combo of the word colic and wobble, it’s that feeling you get in your stomach when you feel anxious or queasy.


That piece of cartilage on the outer part of the ear that blocks the ear passage.


Misheard lyrics which change the meaning of the song. Check out this video for some examples.


The hasty, last-minute, cleaning up of the house when guests are on their way over.


Like how siblings refer to sister or brother, niblings refer to nephew or niece. It’s the gender neutral way to refer to children of your siblings.


The white crescent near the base of your fingernail, the lunule is touted by some to be a health indicator for a range of health problems, from mineral deficiency to kidney problems.

Phloem bundles

The strings on a banana that come off when you peel a banana. Phloems in plants deliver nutrients to various parts of the plant.


The IT guy’s ultimate solution; turning it off then turning it on again.


The part of a cowboy’s spur, which has sharp points and rotates.


Handwriting so aesthetically challenged, it’s almost impossible to read. A symptom found in people with medical degrees.


A person who is self-taught. Among some of the biggest names who are autodidacts are Leonardo da Vinci, The Wright Brothers, Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, film-makers Steven Spielberg, David Fincher, Woody Allen and Stanley Kubrick.