Word Nerd: 9 Weird Words for Body Parts

19 Dec

Caption: Do you know another word for cheekbones even if they aren’t as distinctive as Benedict’s?

Do you know another word for cheekbones even if they aren’t as distinctive as Benedict’s?

The human body fascinates all of us endlessly. It’s front and center – on magazine covers, in poetry and medical journals, in cultural debates and literary criticism, in rites and experiments. There are ways in which we talk about it, ways in which we should talk about it, and ways in which we never should.
But we can never not bring up the body – whether through scatological humour (Gulliver in the land of Yahoos), the bodyimage hashtag on Twitter, or the multiple conversations we have through the day.

So we found weird names for body parts. They come from slang or are part of medical terminology. We selected the ones that piqued our interest, and are perfect for peppering conversations. In short, they’re interesting, amusing and useful.

1. Clapper: This is slang for the tongue. And the word has been in use since the 17th .  It comes from the bell clapper. Ostensibly, that’s how the tongue works inside the mouth. The word also means stripper. So be careful of the context!

2. Oxter: Scottish slang for armpit. “Don’t let your oxter smell like a dumpster.”

3. Commandments: No one calls fingernails that anymore. Yes, fingernails. Why? Because, mostly, fingernails like commandments, are ten in number.

4. Keister or Keester: That’s slang for your backside. It can also be used as a verb and then is very rude indeed. So we don’t suggest you use the word except as a noun. Keister also means suitcase or trunk.

5. Hallux: It’s a very dignified, Roman-centurion, astronomical-configuration, kind of name for the big toe. That’s right. So, what’s the small toe called?

6. Minimus: A grand name for the smallest digit in our body. Is there a maximus on us too?

7. Gluteus Maximus: There is! And it’s the hip muscle. Also, the name of this character from Asterix.


8. Zygoma: For this one, we have to thank Benedict Cumberbatch, who used the word in a Reddit chat. When a fan asked, “Do you, Matt Smith, and Tom Hiddleston have cheekbone polishing parties together?” Benedict replied, “We like nothing better than buffing our Zygoma…” So that’s what it is – cheekbones.

9. Welsh comb: That would be your four fingers and thumb. Londoners coined the term because these digits are what some men would use to groom their hair. And still do. Whatever works, we say!

Are there any curious words for body parts that you use and would like to share? Read previous #WordNerd posts here. Feel free to leave a comment below or email us!

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