What’s in a Name? – Names of Common Items Revealed

By Yuri S.

Each and every day, we see and use all kinds of random little items. You can probably name the vast majority of them, as they’re so useful and essential to daily life, but there are probably plenty of items that you don’t actually know the official name. That little white thing you see in the middle of your takeout pizza, for example, has an official name, and so does the metal part on the end of a pencil.

There are many examples of random little items and essentials that we call by our own made-up names, without ever knowing their official titles. Well, this list is about to change all of that, as we introduce you to the true names of several simple, everyday items you’ve probably used countless times in the past! You might even discover that some of them are more useful than you ever imagined. Read on to find out more.

The Spiky Parts on a Fork

Here’s an item you use every day unless you’re a very messy eater: a fork. It’s an essential item of cutlery, used to hold things in place like steaks and veggies while you chop them up into smaller parts with a knife, as well as for transporting the food from the plate to your mouth, but have you ever wondered what the little spiky parts on the edge are actually called?

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Many people refer to them simply as ‘prongs’ or ‘spikes,’ but they’re actually called tines. Most forks usually have four tines, but you can find some with three. As you can guess, the tines were developed to pierce the food you’re trying to pick up or cut, and they form an integral part of most meals.

The Protective Sleeve on Coffee Cup

Most of us like to go to our favorite coffee shops and grab a warm drink on the way to work or while enjoying a day in the city with our friends and families, and you’ll usually be given a little protective sleeve for your coffee cup. Ever wondered what it’s called? It’s known as a zarf.

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That word sounds a little like it belongs in some kind of science fiction universe, maybe describing an alien race or distant planet, but zarfs are actually everyday items that many of us all the time. They’re so helpful for letting you hold and carry your cup of coffee without getting burned, protecting your skin, and keeping you safe, so be sure to remember their name next time!

Little White Tables on Pizza

When you just don’t want to cook, or you feel in need of something super tasty delivered right to your door, it’s so tempting to call up your local pizza place and order some hot, cheesy treats. Countless take-out pizzas are ordered and enjoyed every single day, and you probably noticed that little white piece of plastic inside every time you open the box. They look like little mini tables, and they’re actually called pizza savers.

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Why are they called pizza savers? Well, they actually serve a really interesting function. They help to prevent the top layer of the cardboard box, pushing down onto the pizza and getting stuck on the cheese and sauce, ruining your meal. They’re basically a barrier that helps to protect or ‘save’ the pizza from any damage.

The Metal Parts on Pencils

Here’s another item you might use every day, especially if you work in an office or school or a similar environment: a pencil. Pencils are essential, even in the digital age, for writing down notes and making sketches too, and they often come equipped with a little eraser on top, with a metal part between the eraser and the rest of the pencil.

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Well, that metal part actually has a name. It’s known as a ferrule. The ferrule works to keep the eraser in place, stuck on the end of the pencil, rather than falling off. It also adds a little bit of decoration and elegance to the pencil, too, as well as giving bored kids something to chew on while sitting around in class, listening to their teachers.

Cheerios Cereal

Cheerios is a beloved brand of cereal. Made by General Mills, Cheerios are made up of pulverized oats in circular, hoop-like shapes. They’re famed for being high in fiber and vitamins, regarded as one of the healthier breakfast cereal options out there, but did you know that they weren’t technically known as Cheerios, to begin with?

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Cheerios were first called CheeriOats, but the name had to be changed a few years later due to a trademark violation. They were called CheeriOats from 1941 through to 1945. Many people make the mistake of thinking that they were called Cheerios because of their O-like shape, but really it was just a way of shortening the original title.