The P word

where everyone can find World P's.

Peculiar Words

A few articles back, I made mention that I wanted this thing (whatever it is I’m writing) to be as interactive as possible. I had hoped that these words of mine would spark the curiosity, attention and interest of netfolk enough for them to actually talk and interact with … err … “it”. That’s why this “thing” has its own Twitter account, even if I don’t.

Well, so far, things have started to move in that direction, if you will. The faithful few, and curious some, have begun to send in some of their favorite (whether long-term or temporary) P-Words. Yes, for those who have just recently joined us, this blog is about words that begin with the letter P. Well, they’re actually Phrases, which are made up of words put together, so…yeah. Coincidentally, “Phrases” is a P-word, but I digress.

Going back to my point (ooh another P-word), some readers have sent in particularly peculiar (betcha can’t say that phrase 100 times quickly) words, such as Percolator and Philtrum and whatnot. I remember encountering some of those words a few years back, and, though they are nice to know, I remember thinking to myself “Do people actually use these words?”

I’ve found a few of them online and picked out a few of them that are P-words. I mean, this is a blog on P-words after all, so even if I’d like to put in a word or two about Tittles (no, not a typo) and Ferrules (see sources below for their definition), I decided to stick with just the P’s. Here they are arranged from mot practical to “Do we really need to give a name to this?”:


1. Philtrum (FIL-truhm)

Funny that I first encountered this word in Filipino Class in college. I guess even locally there is no exact word for “groove in between nose and upper lip” that they had to resort to reusing the English word instead. Closest I can think of at the time was Nguso which loosely translates to “snout”, which, of course, human beings don’t have.


2. Purlicue (PUHR-li-kyu)

Until today, I did not know this. At first, I thought to myself “Is this necessary?”, then I began to reflect on how more specific words regarding human anatomy help make textual imagery more vivid. That is, of course, if the reader also knows what the words mean. Imagine a poet reading the line “May our purlicues do in the day what our lips perform in the night, uninterrupted under starlight..” and one among his audience says “What? Curly Qs? What did he say?” Romantic mood ruined by miscommunication.


3. Punt (PUHNT)

Though this word itself is not uncommon, the meaning I present to you right now, is. Either that, or I’ve just been hiding under a rock the past 32 years. While digging for words to populate this blog, I chanced upon “Punt” which apparently is another word for the “indentation or groove on glass bottles’ bottoms”. Just like ol’ Purlicue, I thought of some lines I could use with this fancy term. For example, “As they Tangoed the night away, Alfonso dipped Josefa so gracefully, as if he was serving a fine vintage, delicately yet firmly holding the small of her back like the punt of the glass madame“. And then of course, some jocks entered the scene and asked among themselves “He kicked her?!”. Bubble popped. Dream Sequence over.


4. Peen (PEEHN)

This one I felt could be (if it wasn’t already) used by Edgar Allan Poe in one of his macabre murder mysteries. Though conventional murderers would deliver the final blow with the head of the hammer, the peen (reverse side of the head, not used to strike nails), when used to deliver traumatic force seems just that much more sinister, don’t you think? *Evil grin*

5. Paresthesia

Now here’s a word that I felt was too scientific to be used. What’s wrong with the figurative “Pins and Needles”? Doesn’t that give a clearer meaning to what the person is feeling? “Oh man, I’m feeling Paresthetic“. Doesn’t that just make you want to call the doctor to ask what’s wrong? Instead of just saying “Man! My foot fell asleep! Pins and Needles!” Sure, your friends will start nudging your foot to annoy you, but it’s much more fun that way. For them, at least.

6. Phosphenes (FOS-feens)

I can’t even begin to describe how useless this word is. It may have a musical feel to it, but I’m sure until someone has read this article (or the sources from which I got the meanings), he will not care about it being a word at all. According to my sources (see list below), this is the “lights you see when you close your eyes and press your hands to them”. Sure, it may sound similar to Paresthesia in that sense, but I don’t think anyone cares about it at all. We get pins and needles feelings when our feet/legs “fall asleep”, which happens pretty often (facts unquantified). But I doubt anyone ever reflected upon the question “Hey what are those lights called? The ones that “appear” when I shut my eyes and press my hands against them?” I wonder.

7. Petrichor (PET-ri-kuhr)

Have you ever smelled the air after it had just rained outside? I’m sure you know that scent/aroma/smell. Yeah, everyone does. But I don’t think it merits a name. The mystery behind the scent isn’t really marketable to air freshener companies (unlike Summer Breeze or Spring Mist, which aren’t really specific smells either). Plus the name doesn’t even bring to mind the smell. NEW! Tide with Petrichor Scent! I bet that product will flop. Closest I cant associate it with is Petrified, and that’s not such a positive thought either.


8. Percolator (PER-koh-ley-tohr)

The word itself is awesome-sounding, like something that Marvin the Martian or Heinz Dooferschmirtz invented. “Behold! The magnificent PERCOLATOR!” (I know you now have Marvin’s or Dr. Doofenschmirtz’s voice in your head right now. Admit it! Hahaha.). But then, I thought, “what’s wrong with COFFEE POT/MAKER?” It’s precise, simple and everyone understands it. Maybe that’s what’s wrong with it. We should make it sound futuristic, sophisticated and uncommon so that only a few of us understand. That way, it’ll be great!

So, I don’t know if this made your head go boom with too much info, or is it just throbbing out of annoyance. Good thing I only found 8. Up to you to find others. If you do, tell me about it.


Photo Credits:

Percolator :

Philtrum :

Peen :

Punt :

Purlicue : (FKA

Sources: and

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What P word would you wanna talk about? Let’s hear it :)


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This entry was posted on October 13, 2013 by and tagged , , , , , , , , , .
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