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10 More Whatchamacallits And Their Real Names

Nearly two years ago we published a list of ten things that we either don’t think have a name, or don’t use the correct name for. Today we are looking at another 10 English words that describe things we are all aware of, but don’t have a word for. Let’s see if anyone can use all ten in a sentence.




Use: “Nothing beats the petrichor in the morning as the dew fades.”

Petrichor is the name of the smell of rain on dry earth. The word comes from the Greek words “petros” which means rock, and “ichor” which means the fluid that runs through the veins of the gods. The smell derives from an oil exuded by certain plants during dry periods, whereupon it is adsorbed (another word you probably didn’t know – definition) by clay-based soils and rocks. During rain, the oil is released into the air along with another compound, geosmin, producing the distinctive scent.




Use: “After the bitch-fight, her head was full of elflocks.”

An elflock is a lock of hair which has become tangled. The word originates from the 16th century and is simply a combination of the word “elf” and the word “lock”. Elf either refers to the mythical creature or the number eleven, so its use in the word “elflock” doesn’t seem entirely obvious to me.




Use: “The kitchen is filled with the nidor of lamb.”

Nidor is the smell of burning animal fat. More broadly (going back to its Latin root) it can be used to refer to the steamy smell of anything cooking in a kitchen. The word seems to be derived through the Latin from the Greek “kniddia” which I cannot find a definition for – perhaps someone can fill in the blanks for us.




Use: “Tonight mom is making a salmagundi – it is my favorite stew!”

The word salmagundi originally meant a stew of mixed meats, fish, herbs, and vegetables cooked in vinegar or wine. It can also be used to refer to a mixture of ingredients in general. In a corrupted form, the Australians use the word “hashmagandy” to refer to an outback stew. The origins of the word appear to be from old French “salemine” which ultimately led to the modern French “salmigondis” which means seasoned salt meats.



Mt Outram  Scree.Jpg

Use: “We are going to climb that scree in the distance.”

Scree is the word for a pile of rubble found at the bottom of a cliff. It is also sometimes known as talus (French meaning slope), though talus generally refers to larger chunks of debris, while scree refers to small chunks such as loose gravel. It comes to English from Old Norse “skritha” which means “landslide”.


Don Juanism


Use: “The majority of teenaged males on the internet suffer from Don Juanism.”

Don Juanism is the term used to describe an obsessive preoccupation with sexual gratification or conquest which often leads to transient and sometimes exploitative relationships. The term comes, of course, from Don Juan, the legendary libertine who spends much of his time trying to seduce women.



Picture 1-135

Use: “Can I please use your bathroom? I have a serious case of tenesmus.”

Tenesmus is the uncomfortable feeling one has when needing to poop. It also refers to the feeling of having not emptied the bowel fully or the need to strain to do so. To put it more simply, tenesmus is a distressing but ineffectual urge to evacuate the rectum or bladder. The word, appropriately, comes to us from the Greek “teinesmos” which means “to stretch” or “to strain”.




Use: “Kanye West is a total podsnap – he thinks he is awesome when he is actually a douche.”

A podsnap is a person who is self-satisfied and can’t face up to unpleasant facts. The word is an eponym (the name of a person after whom something else is named) for the character Mr John Podsnap in Charles Dickens’ “Our Mutual Friend” – needless to say Mr Podsnap has the characteristics from which his name is taken.



Picture 2-83

Use: “As winter approaches, the bear goes in search of its hibernaculum.”

Hibernaculum is the name given to the cave or area in which an animal hibernates. The word is a Latin one which means “tent for winter quarters”. It is now also an English word but has moved its frame of reference from the human world to the animal world.




Use: “Rosie O’Donnell has all the muliebrity of a block of wood.”

The term muliebrity means “womanly attributes”. For example, it might be said that Michael Jackson had a touch of muliebrity while Rosie O’Donnell lacks it. The term can also be understood as the state of being an adult woman.

Listverse Staff

Listverse is a place for explorers. Together we seek out the most fascinating and rare gems of human knowledge. Three or more fact-packed lists daily.

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  • apepper

    This is a GREAT list! The only one I knew was scree.


    Very interesting list–many new words-I’ll have to try to use some of them

  • Josh P


  • omak

    LOL at the last one and 3rd

  • Norman

    I love the way you used a picture of Rosie O’Donnell for 1 and 2.

  • Josh P

    O and btw people, Kanye West and Taylor Swift have the same agent, David Wirtschafter. O how easily the masses are persuaded.

    • Broi

      The guy is still a gobshite

    • I…

      “the masses”
      I don’t think you’re superior to them

  • mr. plow

    #10 is my favorite smell in the world!

    • josiah


  • undaunted warrior

    Great list today thanks, only knew 3 of them.

  • saber25

    Thanks God there will be a new list for the day! I always had no. 10 during rain, the familiar smell of plants and grass soaring through the window. Btw, it is raining here by now so I again smell it too. No. 1 is extremely weird and Rosie O’ Donnel perfectly fits as a pig-demon. I think i;m having the urge of “tenesmus”. Argh!

  • loz

    sweet list. im a bit freaked out about #1 picture. lol

  • necro_penguin

    rosie’s never looked better than that early morning pic of her.

    after reading #4 it just makes the accompanying picture even more hilarious.

  • saber25

    Forgot to say… Today is my Birthday! So, Cheers! :D

  • Ny

    I knew two of these – scree (from geography at school) and hibernaculum from the books, The Silverwing Saga as the winter home of the silverwings.

  • Lynne

    love this list

  • @Norman (5): haha – I had to scroll up to check that I hadn’t made an error in the images :)

  • @mr. plow (7): Mine too – that is why I was so keen to include it :)

  • @JUNQUEMAN (2): Try using them all in one sentence!

  • anna

    We use “femininity” instead of “muliebrity”, so we do have another word for “womanly attributes”. But it’s a very cool list. Ha ha, the text editor’s spell-check doesn’t recognize “muliebrity”! Don Juanism I knew, but none of the others.

  • BooRadley

    When I lived in Colorado, there were a lot of scree slopes in the mountains. They were hard to climb, but it was worth it… man, are they fun to jump down! You can take giant leaps into the air, and you’ll always land on loose rocks that break your fall really well.You could practice all your fancy ski moves (minus the skis, of course.) My brother, the gymnast, used to do back flips and other scary maneuvers. Everytime you saw people “screeing,” you could also hear their loud whoops of excitement. I miss that!

  • BooRadley

    Oh, I almost forgot – nice picture of dangor for #2!

  • spidermonkey

    I knew scree from geography in school so at least I don’t feel like a total ‘tard. Just a small one. But at least I know the word for the lovely smell after it rains :)

  • jake ryder

    Honest belly laugh at Podsnap. Thank you for starting my day off so positive.

  • Katie

    Nice list, i loved it! I think everyone must love #10, i like it especially in car parks or somewhere with a gravely floor.

  • Skrillah

    About the entry #3 Podsnap;

    Ok.. we all know that Kanye is a Gay Fish, Jackass,an Asshole and anything that you hate. There are hundreds of better rappers than him and and if you think that Kanye West is the greatest rapper ever you are a Tenesmus to the society, a Podsnap who has Muliebrity and you should go into the nearest Hibernaculum and never come back to civilization.

    But my point is even if you hate the person, you got to have some respect for his Revolutionary music production skills (Any serious music producer will know what I’m talking about, Even though i agree that a lot of church choir boys wouldn’t know this) .This doesn’t mean that i place him in the same category of J.Dilla, Dj Premier, RZA, Marley Marl or Large Proffessor, But his talent cannot be ignored like that by just simply calling him a Douche.

    JFrater , You made fun of M.Jackson right after his death, and now you are calling someone ”Podsnap”, Thus taking a cheap shot at a Person who revolutionised the pop culture of the 21st century???( whether you like it or not). Who’s the real Podsnap???

    BTW Thanks for the knowledge.

  • Kibey

    Is it possible to actually use any of these words in real life without sounding like a wanker who’s trying to make themselves appear smart?

    • Tribol


  • Shagrat

    Hashmagandy? Ashmaganda I have encountered MANY times – but not your version – yes, I’m Australian

  • archangel

    LOL @ these words… I’ve never heard of any of them!

  • Dan The Man

    @ 24 Skrillah ; ..

    “and if you think that Kanye West is the greatest rapper ever you are a Tenesmus to the society, a Podsnap who has Muliebrity and you should go into the nearest Hibernaculum and never come back to civilization” ROFL! Fantastic.

    About Kanye,, I agree with you, Hes a very Talented Podsnap! hehe.

  • enoooo

    Wow, #3’s use is the best sentence I ever heard. Congrats.

  • Bex

    I don’t think I’m the only Australian that has NEVER EVER heard the term “hashmagandy”

  • lrigD

    Muliebrity comes (at least partly) from the Latin ‘mulier’ (not sure if that is nominative, but still) which means woman… just thought I’d add my two cents!

  • Professor

    Here’s one for you to find for your next list: What’s the word to describe the sensation when you eat (say) too much dry bread and your trachea seems to close up (for which a glass of water seems to be the best remedy)? It’s not “gasping” as this is the aftermath of the event; “choking” isn’t right either. I’m yet to find the correct terminology for this particular event, and I’m not exactly sure there IS a word in English for it!

  • Moloch1123

    Jamie – I do believe this is the sentence you challenged us to write:

    “Early one morning in my hibernaculum; as the scent of petrichor drifted in the open window over the nidor of last night’s salmagundi and I combed the elflocks out of my hair and glanced occasionally at the scree slope in the distance while fighting my tenesmus; I heard my son singing along to that podsnap Kanye West and thought, rather petulantly, that instead of suffering the typical Don Juanism of his friends, he had an awful lot of muliebrity.”

  • SlashBeast

    Most of these aren’t whatchamacallits.

  • klmmjs

    you learn something new everyday, or in this case ten things new. I knew none of the :(

  • NiMur90

    haha, great list! The only ones I knew were scree (from watching Bear Grylls) and Don Juanism from……

  • Frushka

    Oh, well. I knew scree.

    Podsnap will be a useful addition to my vocabulary.
    Thanks Jamie.

    Happy birthday Saber!

  • Samzilla

    Concerning the elflocks,I call them the “morning afters”(or for the more romantic,”love tangles”lol)but I usually name the hairstyle as “whorehair”. :D If you encounter girls doing their “walk of shame” on a sunday morning you know what I mean.
    But I like the word elflock, I just might keep that one in my vocabulary.

    Great informative list.

  • steve

    loving the picture of Rosie!! Ha ha she is in the same class as Kanye

  • steeveedee

    I like how tenesmus is followed by podsnap. Just like in real life.

  • Kevin Spencer

    Wow, I only knew one the #2, but I’m from Spain… so my English vocabulary is not so big.

  • oouchan

    I knew of 2 of these previously. Using West for #3 was perfect and the picture of Rosie O’Donnell scared the crap outta me. Need to put a warning up….hehe, just kidding. :)
    Great list as always!

    @BooRadley (20): You beat me to it! lol

    @Moloch1123 (33): Great job!

  • DarkPizza

    I’m pretty sure “elflock” refers to how people used to believe that things like tangles in the hair were created by elves or fairies. I don’t remember where I read it, but I do remember reading that at some point, along with other elf/fairy related superstitions.

    • MoonChild02

      This is true. Tangles were blamed on fae playing with hair while people were sleeping, and plaiting horses' manes during the night. Hence the term "elf-locks". That information can be found in the book "Faeries" by Brian Froud and Alan Lee. Fae and faeries, including elves, were thought to be the causes of many things people could not explain properly.

      The word "stroke" is actually a shortening of the phrase "Elf stroke".
      Unaccountable deaths of humans and other animals were said to be due to "Elf-shot", and the flint arrowheads found in Europe were attributed to those fae.
      Unexplainable bruises that a person would wake up having were called said to be "faery pinches", or "faery nips".
      Those who wander and get lost were said to be "pixie-led".
      When something went bad, it was said to be "elf-taken".
      When infants died SIDS or were plagued with other unexplainable infant illnesses and deformities, the infants were believed to be changelings, and not the real children. In Shakespeare's play "Richard III", the character Margaret calls Richard, "Thou elvish-mark'd, abortive, rooting hog!" She called him thus because Richard III was hunch-backed, born by cesarean section because he was breach (meaning, his feet were downwards instead of his head when he was born), he was born with natal teeth, and he was a horrid person.

      There know that there are MANY other examples, but that's all I can find for right now.

  • BethDEATH

    Great list.
    The last picture scared me so bad…

  • mom424

    Awesome list Jamie. Talking is my best thing and even so I was unfamiliar with a bunch of these.

    Petrichor where I live consists mainly of the aroma of squished worms. A consequence of living in an urban environment with a plethora of macadam.

    Also pickled Herring (a delicious treat when prepared properly) is called Solomon Gundy on the east coast of Canada (and probably the US?). A coincidence? I think not.

    Like someone else mentioned – Skree substitutes quite well for a foam pit – I signed one of my kids up for gymnastics after catching him doing flips off the side of a gorge – and landing on his feet 30 feet down in the loose pack.

    Again, Cool list.

  • Stamatis

    The ancient Greek word for nidor is knissa which, in modern Greek, has evolved into tsikna. It is very commonly used for this divine smell.

  • j

    “But his talent cannot be ignored like that by just simply calling him a Douche.”

    of course you can accept both statements that he is both a douche and talented. they’re not mutually exclusive. he probably is a complete langer (i mean he wears sunglasses indoors). just because you admire/respect/enjoy anyones work in any field doesn’t automatically mean they have a respectable character or even interesting personality.

  • j reb

    Kanye West got what he wanted…everyone was talking about this stupidity afterward. It was a complete publicity stunt, preplanned because of the old adage “there’s no such thing as bad publicity”. What a coincidence that he just happened to be scheduled to be on Leno the day after…Vince McMahon couldn’t have planned it out any better. I’ve come to realize that there are not accidents in the entertainment industry, just like being a wrestler, it’s fine if everyone loves you or everyone hates you, you just can’t have no one caring about you either way.

  • De

    that is cool! Come check out mine!

  • General Tits Von Chodehoffen

    Great list. Definitely makes up for yesterdays shit.

  • undaunted warrior

    Some more of the dogs hair that bit me ???

  • Nathan

    Americans wont get this one.

  • macph

    now i m getting a tenesmus… be right back…


  • Mary

    People say scree all the time where I’m from (CO). It’s usually used in conjunction with in…”one more scree field before we reach the summit.” I would guess we use it a lot because hikers, mountain climbers, and 4-wheelers/off-roaders have to traverse scree fields quite often in their hobbies. Be wary of rock slides when you’re in them :P
    Also the Don Juanism I would think is used a lot, since everyone knows what that refers to?

  • Meg

    Tenesmus would be very useful for me. lol

  • shaymm

    “Kanye West is a total podsnap – he thinks he is awesome when he is actually a douche.”–Awesome…I’m beginning to thin this list was wrote only for that quote. Hilarious. The only one I heard of before was the Don Juan one

  • totalstranger

    Petrichor!!! The name of my new Death Metal band!!

  • thanerosse

    I am quite pleased to say that I have already heard of one of these- #6 (scree). Although I am slightly ashamed that the only reason I know it is because of Primal (on the PS2)… Scree is the name of your gargoyle companion.

  • flamehorse

    Petrichor! I always wondered what that smell was called, if anything. Figures the Greeks came up with it. They did everything. The word “kniddia” is from Knidos, or Cnidus in Latin, which was an ancient Greek city in Turkey. The Greeks offered a lot of animal sacrifices, and wrapped the meat in the animal’s fat. There ya go.

  • @Moloch1123 (33): If there were a prize for that you would have won it :)

  • @Stamatis (46): Thank you for giving that info – I couldn’t find knissa or knidia (a derivative of knissa) in my Ancient Greek dictionaries.

  • spritedust

    kanye=douche, period

  • My hair is full of elflocks. :lol:

  • saber25

    Thanks for the greetings I had today. It was a really great day for me. Thanks! :D

  • flamehorse

    @46: My mistake. You’re right.

  • aster

    they are called elflocks because if an elf was in love with you he or she would come during the night and entangle your hair. this is because most elflocks are caused by the movement your head makes at night.

  • Lowdog

    everyone knows wat scree is ! wer i live there a tonnes of mountains with huge scree slopes made out of slate…u climb up the mountains and scree surf down them its mint! theres a mountain called Skiddaw thats 960m high that you can scree surf from the sumit to the base in 3 minutes !

  • nepratini

    I’m Australian and I have never heard of Hashmagandy so I googled it and found its now an obsolete word for an outback stew.

    How can any of these things be whatchamacallits. All you have done is given us the correct names for things we had other names for. I may not use the word Hibernaculum because I call it a cave, I also don’t use the word Salmugundi because its just a stew. Its a good list it just needs to be renamed.

  • Moloch1123

    Well, Jaimie, it’s the thought that counts….

  • Carole

    I thought a watchamacallit was what you called and object when you don’t know it’s name or forget what it’s called.

  • DenzeLL

    I agree that Kanye West was a podsnap and a douche when he did that to Taylor Swift.

  • DenzeLL

    oh and is there a female counterpart to Don Juanism?

  • DenzeLL

    Let’s see, about the all words in a sentence…

    Kanye West is a podsnap whose immense lack of talent reeks of petrichor, that I want to scrape his repulsive face on scree while he has that painful feeling of tenesmus, and then after that beat him to a bloody pulp of salmagundi while enjoying the fragrance of his lifeless nidor, for I would rather have sex with a hideous woman with permanent elflocks and lacking the muliebrity I seek in a pretty woman I would desire for, in a dark hibernaculum even though the experience with her would never satisfy my Don Juanism

  • DenzeLL

    @Moloch1123 (33): awww… you beat me to the challenge!

  • DenzeLL

    it’s not my fault though that I’ve only seen this list now.

  • Elliethebee

    @saber25 (12): metoo!

  • Lynn (formerly) in Oregon

    I’d heard of one… my friend has the following quote on her myspace page under the heading “who I’d like to meet”

    “A salmagundi of bonhomied coevals.”

    she’s awesome :)

  • saber25

    Happy Birthday to you too! :D Cheers!

  • timefillmyeyes

    Well, I knew scree at least. :D

    I really liked this list; it’s always nice to learn something new.

  • Iakhovas

    Got to agree with the other Aussies, never heard of Hashmagandy in my life. I love Podsnap. Finally a word to replace FIGJAM with.

  • freefever

    thanks for your list

  • Derek

    No.1 … wins, — yes

  • Karamanlis or chaos

    Knisa or tsikna is the smelly smoke of co?ked meat in barbeque grill.
    There is a celebration before the lent of Easter. It’s called Tsiknopempti (Tsikna Thrusday) one of the last days is allowed to consume meat.
    COmmon expression
    – Yesterday I grilled (tsiknisa) tones of meat.

  • Rufus

    the other 10 machamacallits were more daily-lifed

  • BrotherMan

    #1 is friggin’ awesome. Nice list there, Mr. Frater!

  • deadangst

    Brilliant list JF. Very informative. :-) I hope Petrichor is available in the form of a perfume or an air freshener. Is it? I love that smell.

    @DenzeLL (73): & @Moloch1123 (33): Awesome. :-)

    @Lynn (formerly) in Oregon (77): That’s such a super line.

  • You’reWearingMeOut

    @Samzilla (38): We used to call that messed-up hair look, “JFL” for “just f***ed look”! (I always aspired to have it)

  • GTT

    @Moloch1123 (33):

    I vote in favor of you receiving a prize for that sentence. It was hilarious! All in favor, say AYE!

  • Jason

    Thanks GTT.

  • photographymc

    That salmagundi looks great!

  • Mabel

    I knew what scree was and Don Juanism, but the others were unfamiliar. It’s always fun to learn new words.

    @j reb (48): Maybe that’s why Megan Fox can’t keep her idiot mouth shut!

    @Zaeriuraschi 11098 (pronounced zay-ree-ooh-ras-chee) (63): My hair gets them too. Until this list I didn’t know what to call it!

  • stodgy

    Lousi L’amour books are full of the use of “scree” and “talus”. Haven’t come across it much otherwise.

  • dbrownl

    the picture of number 1 looks like my mom…what? shit i didn’t mean that

  • Sars

    Scree? Average 7-year olds know scree. C. S. Lewis uses it all the time.

  • nuriko

    LOLz! :D

  • DenzeLL

    @Lynn (formerly) in Oregon (77): say what?

  • DenzeLL

    A mixture of friendly people of the same age? (in simpler words)

  • Trapper439

    Another good term for tenesmus is “Turtle’s head”.

  • Caitlin Reynolds

    WOW – I knew like NONE of these!

    LOL at the Rosie O’Donnell Pic…haha

  • tinkabel

    hello listers… salmagundi born on monday, christened on tues…..number 7 looks like scouse 2 me,lol

  • I’m going to print this list for my next cocktail party to really impress everybody.
    Good stuff, should be Q’s on Who wants to be a millionaire

  • Moloch1123

    @DenzeLL (74): Don’t feel bad, man. I’m just gifted…

    @GTT (88): Thank you for the compliment!

  • Adam29

    Great List, I’d only heard of scree, though “hashmagandy” is so NOT an Australian word!

  • Squee

    Elflock – It was believed that elves would come in your bed at night and tangle up your hair to annoy you…

  • RogueCalif

    Shouldn’t #4 actually be #2?

  • Nemiga

    Awesome list!

  • Adeildo

    não entendi nada, traduz em português brasileiro.

  • Lord Nick

    Hahaha…i like it…here’s anutha one…
    the little dot on top of the letter “i” is called a tittle.

  • DenzeLL

    @Moloch1123 (102): well really. I just saw the list a little later than you did.

  • Hannah

    ‘Elf lock’ came around because elves used to not be the happy little fairies that we see today. They were wicked, and would do anything to torment their humans targets–even going so far as to tangle their hair, so they would have to brush it out again.

  • jazz

    as an aussie I have never heard the word Hasmagandy, it actually sound like something my scottish mother might say.

  • primordial_ooze

    I thought everyone know most of these… Guess not then!

  • primordial_ooze

    Knew… *slaps wrist*

  • cascading spirit

    # 7 looks like menudo to me

  • katerinaelaena

    Podsnaps are so common these days…

    Then again, so are those suffering from “Don Juanism” =)

  • wordcat

    Yearning for the crisp petrichor of a spring morning but waking late to the nidor of lamb seared for her mother’s famous salmagundi, Natasha emerged from her hibernaculum with the distinct feeling that her muliebrity was compromised by ferocious elflocks and a rumbling tenesmus, both of which she had been gloriously lacking in a freshly abandoned dream, in which Arthur McDonegal, a moronic but prodigiously beautiful podsnap of a boy who suffered from a serious case of Don Juanism, had chased her across the scree at the foot of a nearby hill.

  • tui

    I am also australian and have never heard of a stew like that being called a hochmagandy. When I googled it I found that the word is Scottish in origin and is currently being used to define pre-marital, recreational sex.

  • I'm gonna seem like a total podsnap when I start using these words :-)

  • Secret Name

    That photo you used for Don Juanism is a friend of mine. Yehuda Duenyas. And you stole the photo off of Gothamist. ???

  • Marianne

    These words are so useful! I might have to try and work them into my vocab xD

  • I would presume that the term “elflocks” would come from the ancient belief that magical beings (elves, sprites, pixies, brownies, etc.) can be mischievous at times and that the elves might find it a good joke to tangle ones hair while they slept, hence, “elflocks.”