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There’s a word for everything

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By John Pawlak

People adept at Scrabble use some pretty strange words.  My wife’s vocabulary is “slightly” better than mine and when we are Scrabbling, I might play a word like “rock” and then she’ll play one like “ozaena.”

I’ll challenge her play, claiming that such a word doesn’t exist. She shrugs and tells me that it means having a fetid discharge from the nostrils. That’s usually more than I want to know and so I won’t bother asking her what fetid means.

Most people know that the cartilage separating your nostrils is a septum (often deviated, much like many of my friends), but do you know the name of that groove between your nose and upper lip?  It’s a philtrum.

Instead of just piercing earlobes, many people pierce their tragus (that little triangular piece of cartilage in the front of your ear). The outer ear itself is called the pinna (or auricle).  People even pierce their umbilicus!  (Uh ... the bellybutton.)

In the morning, do you wake up with rheum? You know, eye gunk or eye sleepers? Ever get an itch on your popliteal fossa? That’s the indented back of your knee. 

When you ran track in high school, were you ever preantepenultimate?  That means fourth from last. Now there’s a word you can use every day!


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