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We're all familiar with this strange feeling of casually gliding through a conversation when, suddenly, our minds go blank. "Oh, what’s the name of that thing," we might say. "I'm sure it starts with an A or something..." We're talking about this tormenting sense of being on the verge of remembering a word or a name but failing to retrieve it, no matter how hard we try.

As our minds desperately wander for the right way to express ourselves and fill the temporary void, there's only one thing left to do — come up with a new one. Ideally, you would immediately think of the perfect word that captures the essence of what you were about to say. But that’s rarely the case. So Redditor the_slippery_shoe decided to learn more about these hilarious blunders and reached out to Ask Reddit with a question: "What's the funniest name you've heard someone call an object when they couldn't remember its actual name?"

From "Carpet Banjo" to "moo beasts" and "disco chickens", the things people came up with might be officially absorbed into our vocabularies. We at Bored Panda gathered some of the funniest responses from the thread, so make sure to read them right below. Upvote the ones that made you chuckle and share your own mishaps with us in the comments!

#1

40 Times People Failed To Remember What A Simple Thing Is Called So They Came Up With The Most Hilarious New Name Boyfriend's mother once referred to a peacock as a disco chicken.

Mushylump , Ivan Botha Report

#2

Couldn't remember groomsmen, went with dudesmaids instead.

SuperBrentendo64 Report

We are certain we know the word we are looking for. The missing term is just within arm’s reach, but for some reason, we find it impossible to recall. We end up feeling frustrated, unsure of our abilities and surprised by how these failures can occur even with the most common words we use. Interestingly, this experience has a scientific term — the tip-of-the-tongue (TOT) phenomenon. As you can guess, it derives from the phrase "it's on the tip of my tongue" and psychologists define it as a feeling that accompanies the momentary inability to retrieve information from memory.

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William James was the first psychologist to describe the TOT phenomenon, though he did not label it as such. "The state of our consciousness is peculiar. There is a gap therein; but no mere gap. It is a gap that is intensely active. A sort of wraith of the name is in it, beckoning us in a given direction, making us at moments tingle with the sense of our closeness and then letting us sink back without the longed-for term," he explained in Principles of Psychology in 1890.

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#3

My ex called an animal shelter a 'cat refugee camp', I couldn't f*****g breathe

Drivenhydra Report

#4

40 Times People Failed To Remember What A Simple Thing Is Called So They Came Up With The Most Hilarious New Name I forgot the word for ‘exterminator’ so I used ‘ant exorcist’ instead.

anon , Tuomas Puikkonen Report

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#5

40 Times People Failed To Remember What A Simple Thing Is Called So They Came Up With The Most Hilarious New Name My friend couldn't remember the word "cow" for some reason, so she googled "moo beast" to remember.

HungryParr0t , olfgang Hasselmann Report

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censorshipsucks
Community Member
2 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I love funny animal names, like fart squirrel, trash panda, danger noodle, etc

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To learn more about this experience and how widespread it is, we reached out to John Richard Hanley, emeritus professor of neuropsychology in the Department of Psychology at the University of Essex, who studies the tip-of-the-tongue states. Studies have revealed that everyone experiences the inability to retrieve words and information from their memories, and it occurs frequently in everyday life. "As far as we know, the TOT phenomenon is universal," the professor told Bored Panda. "Most languages contain a specific term for a TOT. Moreover, TOTs have been shown to occur even in speakers of a language that does not have a dedicated expression for TOTs."

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#6

40 Times People Failed To Remember What A Simple Thing Is Called So They Came Up With The Most Hilarious New Name To this day most of my family refers to a strainer/colander as a "noodle stay, water go" because my older brother called it that once when he couldn't find it and needed to ask where it was.

starshock990 , James Yarema Report

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#7

40 Times People Failed To Remember What A Simple Thing Is Called So They Came Up With The Most Hilarious New Name Back in 90s I was 14 and begging my mom to let me go to a Guns n Roses concert..

I kept nagging until she got frustrated but couldnt remember the band name and said:

"I'M NOT LETTING YOU GO TO ANY DAMN DEATH AND FLOWERS CONCERT"

I couldnt stop laughing

MetalHead310 , Yvette de Wit Report

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Jann Houley
Community Member
2 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I once went to a conference (in Australia) with my elderly boss who was friends with the hotel manager, told me there was a practice ‘jig’ (gig) in the basement with a famous band called ‘Rifles and Petals, I think’. Nearly skipped it… first person I saw was Slash!!!

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#8

40 Times People Failed To Remember What A Simple Thing Is Called So They Came Up With The Most Hilarious New Name I know a german who learned english in wales, its the most amazing cluster f**k of accents.
Anyway, a dog ran off with his gloves and he chased after it shouting, 'come back with my hand shoes!'

whatisfishbeef , Evan Kilgore Report

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Na Schi
Community Member
2 years ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Oh, that nasty little false friend... been there done that myself. (The German word for gloves is Handschuhe which literally translates to hand shoes).

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This phenomenon might be global, but there seems to be no universally accepted cause for using the wrong words or misspeaking from time to time. However, there are scientific theories that try to explain it. "Some researchers claim that the TOT experience exists in order to tell you that you know the elusive name and that you might be able to retrieve it if you spend more time attempting recall," Hanley said.

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"TOT states can occur for common names and for all types of proper names," the professor added. "However, they are particularly frequent for names of people. Long names are more prone to TOTs than short names."

#9

40 Times People Failed To Remember What A Simple Thing Is Called So They Came Up With The Most Hilarious New Name A polish exchange student was thirsty after a nightout and didn't know what to say. He pointed to his mouth and said Sahara.

Khoasama , Timothy Dykes Report

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AnnaBanananna
Community Member
2 years ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Where is the “battle unicorn” for rhino? It’s not on the list

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#10

40 Times People Failed To Remember What A Simple Thing Is Called So They Came Up With The Most Hilarious New Name Couple weeks ago I was getting a pack of darts, needed some change for parking meters. As the girl is getting my change out I was panicked, what is it called? My mind blank all I could get out of my dumb maw was "can I have my change in metal money?". In my 30s and the word coin apparently got replaced by some dumb s**t I likely read here

jhra , krahmee bretana Report

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We were curious to learn what happens to people when they experience these cognitive issues. Hanley explained that when in a TOT state, "we can recall detailed biographical information about the person; it is only the name that is elusive." Moreover, "we generally even know whether the elusive name contains 2 words (e.g. Gwyneth Paltrow) or 3 words (e.g. Jamie Lee Curtis)."

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It’s hard to deny that experiencing a TOT moment can be extremely annoying. After all, it’s not that you can’t remember the concept of that word but that you can’t find a way to express it. When something does trigger your memory and you finally find the language label you were looking for, you feel a wave of relief sweep over your frustration. "One researcher made the point that a TOT can be as intense as a feeling that you are about to sneeze, so I assume that this is true," the professor said.

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#12

My boyfriend thought it was clever when I asked what the right word was for "an angry parade".

....a protest.

BeastModePwn Report

#13

Once when my husband was on pain meds (after having surgery), he asked for a "cylindrical water storage device."

Cup. He wanted a cup.

Caitriona67 Report

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#14

I can't remember who said it, but ever since I heard a person call a cupcake a party muffin they are permanently renamed in my mind.

bad_idea_theater Report

Moreover, it seems that this phenomenon becomes more frequent with age. Word-finding problems are nearly a stereotypical element of the cognitive issues that trouble older adults. "We do indeed experience more TOTs in old age, and this is particularly true for the names of familiar people," the professor added. Diary studies have found that TOTs occur about once a week for younger adults and increase to about once a day for older adults. Also, researchers consider that this is caused by older adults showing retrieval failure of known words, and needing more "search" time to find the awol word.

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#15

At Target, I asked for "a can of bug-murder". I forgot "insecticide" or even "bug spray". The dude took it in stride, didn't flinch.

Pepsistopheles Report

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Brian Meyer
Community Member
2 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Hat's of to the Target guy. "Oh! What's it called again? A can of bug murder?" "Yup. You nailed it. That'll be $7.32."

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#16

40 Times People Failed To Remember What A Simple Thing Is Called So They Came Up With The Most Hilarious New Name I once had to listen to my mother tell a 10 minute story about all the honkers she saw at the park.

Geese. She meant geese.

Knerdian , Mario015 Medeiros Report

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#17

40 Times People Failed To Remember What A Simple Thing Is Called So They Came Up With The Most Hilarious New Name My mom referred to Guitar Hero as "Carpet Banjo" one time. Me and my friends still call it that.

Shell058 , Cassidy James Blaede Report

But it turns out that getting some exercise and leading a healthy life could protect us against language decline in old age. Katrien Segaert, lecturer in the School of Psychology at the University of Birmingham found in her latest study that fitter people are less likely to experience TOT moments than those who lack fitness. "We found that the higher the older person’s aerobic fitness level was, the lower their odds of experiencing a tip-of-the-tongue moment," she wrote. "A person’s age and the number of words a person knows also determine the frequency of experiencing tip-of-the-tongue moments. What is important is that the relationship between the frequency of tip-of-the-tongue moments and aerobic fitness levels exists over and above the influence of a person’s age and vocabulary size."

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#18

40 Times People Failed To Remember What A Simple Thing Is Called So They Came Up With The Most Hilarious New Name Couldn't remember the word Athlete so I went with Sportician.

mowachoo , James Barr Report

#19

40 Times People Failed To Remember What A Simple Thing Is Called So They Came Up With The Most Hilarious New Name "Long sleeved shorts"
I forgot the word for pants.

southern_nightingale , Redd Report

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#20

My buddy once referred to an air horn as 'spray scream'.

Kitty-Zombie Report

#21

40 Times People Failed To Remember What A Simple Thing Is Called So They Came Up With The Most Hilarious New Name Growing up, we had a piece of furniture that we didn't know what to call. Was it a bureau? A dresser?

We agreed to call it "Uncle Fred." We forget that's weird until we have company.

RainyDayNinja , Clay Banks Report

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#22

When my sister was young, she didn't know the word "cemetary" so she just called it a "dead-people field".

Arie008 Report

#23

At one point I started googling "map of the year" because my brain short-circuited and I couldn't recall the word "calendar".

goatywizard Report

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#24

40 Times People Failed To Remember What A Simple Thing Is Called So They Came Up With The Most Hilarious New Name Sausage tweezers

My husband wanted me to pass him the cooking tongs.

NiteliteBunnyFrite , Marek Mucha Report

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Monday
Community Member
2 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Happened to a friend at a party once...though instead of inventing a new word she just clicked her hands together like crab claws until we got it.

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#25

40 Times People Failed To Remember What A Simple Thing Is Called So They Came Up With The Most Hilarious New Name At a house party when this trashed bro comes up to me:

Hey man, I'm about to score. You got one of those . . . uh . . . plastic penis . . . socks?

smokehidesstars , Renate Vanaga Report

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#26

I couldn't remember "oven mitt" so I called it "heat gauntlet." I really like the word gauntlet.

anon Report

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SheamusFan1987
Community Member
2 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Heat Gauntlet: Makes a killer casserole and deflects a longsword blow all in one XP

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#27

40 Times People Failed To Remember What A Simple Thing Is Called So They Came Up With The Most Hilarious New Name My buddy couldn't find the world for lungs, came up with breath sacks.

TheGiantCackRobot , CDC Report

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#28

40 Times People Failed To Remember What A Simple Thing Is Called So They Came Up With The Most Hilarious New Name Yesterday, I forgot what the shade is, and it was really hot outside so I told my friend "lets chill at the dark place"

anon , Nathan Dumlao Report

#29

Compressed Horse for pony. He was a foreign exchange student from Germany.

CrossBreedP Report

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#30

40 Times People Failed To Remember What A Simple Thing Is Called So They Came Up With The Most Hilarious New Name I once referred to a flyswatter as a "bug spatula" when the name escaped me .

fearlessnightlight , sugarfrizz Report

#31

40 Times People Failed To Remember What A Simple Thing Is Called So They Came Up With The Most Hilarious New Name Breakfast soup. (The word he was looking for was cereal.)

fatbabyotters_ , freestocks Report

#32

This came to my mind when I read a post on Reddit where a girl called a feather a "bird leaf".

the_slippery_shoe Report

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#33

I couldn’t think of the word “robe” so I asked a friend if they’d seen my “towel jacket.”

VictoriaNicole Report

#34

40 Times People Failed To Remember What A Simple Thing Is Called So They Came Up With The Most Hilarious New Name I can't remember the word "lid" half the time. So during work I sometimes run to the back in search of "drink hats". I get weird looks a lot...

Foxtrottings , Tom Crew Report

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#35

I once called toothpase "tooth soap" because it was 8 am and I was not ready for life.

zxcllvbyjuj Report

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Seán Baron
Community Member
2 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

No one is ready for life at that u godly hour. And those who say they are are either lying or psychopaths.

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#36

My girlfriend was frustrated because she couldn't find her shoehorn, and then said loudly "WHERE IS THE BOOT SPOON".

cthlpls Report

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#37

I was playing pictionary with some friends, and the prompt was skunk, so I did my best to draw a skunk. My friend yelled "STINKY CAT"

Majora26 Report

#38

40 Times People Failed To Remember What A Simple Thing Is Called So They Came Up With The Most Hilarious New Name I met this french girl on a recent trip, and she called it a "muscle hangover", when looking for the word sore.

f1del1us , Klara Kulikova Report

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#40

40 Times People Failed To Remember What A Simple Thing Is Called So They Came Up With The Most Hilarious New Name My mum always says wanky candles instead of Yankee candles. She's always horrified when she does it.

amityville Report

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