Lexicology and general language experts state that the average English speaker knows around 25,000 to 35,000 words, which is a considerable amount for the brain to keep track of. It’s impressive to think that we can learn so many words and such a wide range of vocabulary daily, but there are so many more words we just don’t know, and so many little objects and items in daily life that we never even knew had a name at all. Read on to discover some new words that will definitely make you sound smart when you use them.
Language is complicated, and we can all make a few mistakes when speaking or writing. It’s easy to mishear certain phrases and repeat them incorrectly. Examples include “all over sudden” instead of “all of a sudden” or “intensive purposes” instead of “intents and purposes.”
These little mistaken words and expressions are known as eggcorns. Essentially, eggcorns are when we substitute certain words or phrases because they sound similar or precisely the same. The word was invented in 2003 by Geoffrey Pullum, a linguist.
We should all enjoy fresh fruit as part of a healthy daily diet, and many people favor sweet forest fruits like raspberries and blackberries. The next time you’re tucking into a sweet and juicy raspberry, take a closer look at it? Do you notice all those individual little bumps or pod-like structures?
Those bumps are called drupelets, and many drupelets grow together to form an individual berry. This means that certain fruits, like raspberries, are known scientifically as ‘aggregate fruits’ because they’re formed by a group of drupelets, rather than in one solid piece.
You probably know nose-related words like nostril and bridge, but what about columella? This is actually the name of the bottom part of the nose found between the two nostrils. There are many parts of the human body we all know, but the columella is definitely one of the tougher ones to identify.
Some people are born with a ‘hanging columella,’ which means that the columella descends a little lower than normal, and this can be rectified with surgery. Either way, the next time someone asks you to name the parts of the nose, you’ll be able to remember this one and surprise them.
Cats are among the world’s favorite animals, with the eternal battle between cats and dogs never seeming to come to an end and everyone has their favorite. Vibrissae is a word related to cats, and it’s actually just a fancy way of saying cat whiskers.
So the next time you see a cat or hear someone make a reference to its whiskers, you can stand out from the crowd and show off your intellect by using ‘vibrissae’ instead. Interestingly, the original meaning of this word was about human nose hairs.
Some odd words have quite a few different meanings, and purlicue is one of them, so this is a great word to learn because you might find several different situations to use it in. Its primary meaning is to refer to the space between the thumb and the index finger on the hand.
Just like columella, this is one of those body-related words we really don’t hear very often. Purlicue is also used in Scotland to refer to the little flourish at the end of a pen stroke.