20 Unique Words for Common Things

February 27, 2024
20 Unique Words for Common Things

Language is a wonderful thing and as a community of freelance translators, proofreaders and other linguists here at Tomedes we perhaps appreciate that fact more than most.

In celebration of the fascinating quirks and twists that language can take as it develops, here we look at 20 unique words for common things. 

1. Aglet

The small plastic (or sometimes metal) tip that is used to finish off the end of a shoelace or drawstring to prevent it from fraying and to enable it to pass swiftly and easily through an eyelet. 

2. Dactylion

The tip of the middle finger, a specific point that represents the utmost reach of one's hand span. This term pinpoints a common reference point in measurements and descriptive anatomy.

3. Agraffe

The twisted wire top that fits above the top of the cork on a bottle of champagne, just below the layer of foil. 

4. Ferrule

The metal part of a pencil that joins the main body of the pencil to the eraser on the top. 

5. Muntin

The wooden (or sometimes metal) strip that runs between the panes of glass in a window frame, separating the panes while helping to hold each in place. 

6. Kakorrhaphiophobia

A fear of failure. This term encapsulates a profound psychological condition that can influence personal and professional decisions and behaviors.

7. Peen

The part of a hammer head that you don’t use for hammering, which is usually curved or spherical in shape. 

8. Tittle

The dot that appears above the letters ‘i’ and ‘j’ when they are written in lowercase.

Read more: What Is the Hardest Language to Learn?

9. Dottle

The little pile of unburned tobacco and ash that is left in the bowl of a pipe, which is used to help light it the next time it is used. 

10. Psithurism

The sound of leaves rustling on trees or bushes as they are disturbed by the wind. 

11. Petrichor

The pleasant, earthy scent produced when rain falls on dry soil. This word captures the essence of that fresh and rejuvenating aroma after a rainfall.

12. Apricity

The warmth of the sun in winter. It's a word that beautifully describes the feeling of the sun's rays bringing comfort on a cold winter day.

13. Glabella

The space between the eyebrows on a human face. It's a specific term for a part of the body that people often reference but might not know there's an actual word for.

Read more: The 14 Best Languages to Learn in 2023

14. Philtrum

The vertical groove between the base of the nose and the border of the upper lip. It's a distinctive feature of the human face that has fascinated both scientists and artists.

15. Zarf

The holder for a hot coffee cup that keeps your hands from getting burned. Originally used to describe an ornate cup holder for hot coffee in the Middle East, it has been adopted in English to refer to the cardboard sleeve around disposable coffee cups.

16. Nurdle

A tiny pellet of plastic which serves as raw material in the manufacture of plastic products. These small pre-production plastic beads are a fundamental component in the plastics industry.

17. Purlicue

The space between the thumb and the forefingers. It's often referenced in discussions about hand gestures or when describing specific hand movements.

18. Lunule

The crescent-shaped white area at the base of a fingernail. It's a distinctive part of the nail, visible at the nail's origin, and its presence and size can vary from person to person.

19. Glabrous

This refers to skin that is completely free of hair. Often used in a medical or biological context, this term can describe areas of the body where hair typically does not grow, such as the palms of the hands or the soles of the feet.

20. Snood

The loose skin under a turkey's neck. In some contexts, it can also refer to a type of hair accessory used to encase long hair, but when it comes to common things in the natural world, it's known for being a distinctive feature of turkeys.

So those are our 20 favorite words for everyday objects that most people will be unfamiliar with. How many did you already know? Of course, for those everyday items for which the correct words are known by only a few, ‘thingamabob’ and ‘thingummy’ will have to suffice!

What other unique words do you enjoy using for common things? Let us know via the comment box.

By Ofer Tirosh

Ofer Tirosh is the founder and CEO of Tomedes, a language technology and translation company that supports business growth through a range of innovative localization strategies. He has been helping companies reach their global goals since 2007.



Subscribe to receive all the latest updates from Tomedes.

Post your Comment

I want to receive a notification of new postings under this topic


Need expert language assistance? Inquire now

Do It Yourself

I want a free quote now and I'm ready to order my translations.

Do It For Me

I'd like Tomedes to provide a customized quote based on my specific needs.

Want to be part of our team?