7 Body Parts You Didn't Know Had a Name

Friday, October 112 min read

The human body is amazingly complex, made up of 11 major organ systems, 206 bones, and more than 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, we skipped over a few details in anatomy class 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? And is there a name for the white coloring at the bottom of your nails?

The next time you’re at the doctor's office, impress her by throwing out a few of these bodily names.


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. Look in between your thumb and index finger, and you’ll notice a triangular depression at the base of your thumb. This deepening is called the "anatomical snuffbox." 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? The dimples of Venus are 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 "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 white semicircle at the base of your fingernails is called the "lunula." It gets its name from luna, Latin for "moon," because of its crescent shape. It’s most noticeable on the thumbs, but 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 down to the top of your upper lip is called the "philtrum." The depth, length, and width of the philtrum can be used in facial readings to derive certain characteristics; supposedly, a wide philtrum indicates luck.

Photo credit: isco/ Unsplash

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