7 body parts you didn't know had a name

2 min read

The human body is amazingly complex, made up of 11 major organ systems, 206 bones, and over 640 skeletal muscles. And that's before you get to the molecular level — where we have approximately 37.2 trillion cells. For some reason, though, in anatomy class we skipped over a few details when learning about the human body.

For instance, what’s the space between our eyebrows called? What about the one between your upper lip and nose? How about the white coloring at the bottom of your nails?

The next time you’re at the doctor, impress them by throwing out a few of these technical terms for your body parts.


There’s an itch on your back that you just can’t quite manage to scratch. It’s right in the middle and always seems just a little out of reach — that spot is your acnestis, quite possibly the reason back scratchers were invented.

Anatomical snuffbox

Hold your hand up, palm facing away, and spread your fingers. Now pull your thumb towards you and you’ll notice a triangular depression appear beneath your thumb. This deepening is called the anatomical snuffbox because, back in the day, people would place ground smokeless tobacco (snuff) in the groove and ingest it through the nose.


The canthus is the inner point where your upper and lower eyelids meet. That's not all; the little red blob at the inner canthus is called the lacrimal caruncle, or caruncula lacrimalis. It’s the tear duct and helps keep your eyes moist.

Dimples of Venus

You might know them as back dimples, or even butt dimples. The dimples of Venus refer to where the sacroiliac joints lie in the tailbone area, connecting your sacrum to your ilium in your pelvis. Confused by those terms, too? They’re the little divots on your lower back, right above your buttocks. They’re named after Venus — Roman goddess of beauty, known as Aphrodite in Greek mythology — as they’re believed to be a mark of beauty.


The glabella is the flat area above your nose and between your eyebrows. It’s Latin for “without hair, smooth,” which isn’t exactly accurate as many people sport the occasional hair, or even a unibrow. Here’s a helpful tip: if you gently pinch and lift your glabella and it remains tented, that’s a sign of dehydration.


The semi-circle white area at the base of your fingernails is called the lunula. It gets its name from luna meaning moon because of its crescent shape. It’s most noticeable on the thumbs, and many people’s lunulae are covered by the cuticle (eponychium) so don’t worry if you can’t spot it.


The vertical groove extending from the bottom of your nose to the top of your upper lip is called a philtrum. The depth, length and width of a philtrum can be used in facial readings to derive certain characteristics; supposedly, a wide philtrum indicates luck.

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