50 Times People Failed To Remember What A Simple Thing Is Called But Came Up With A Hilarious Alternative That’s Even Better
“What’s the word for when you– Ugh, do you know when you’re… What do you call it when there is a… Oh, it’s on the tip of my tongue! This is driving me crazy! Do you know what I’m talking about?”
We all know that feeling. The frustration, and sometimes embarrassment, associated with not being able to remember the exact word that you want can be debilitating. “Give me a minute! I’ll remember it!” But you might not, at least not within the next few minutes. So sometimes in these situations, we desperately reach for whatever our brain can come up with. And if there isn’t an appropriate synonym that comes to mind, we might need to get even more creative.
To celebrate (or mock, we’ll leave that up to you) all of those infuriating “tip of the tongue” moments we all can relate to where we end up creating new words or phrases altogether, the Wildbeef subreddit was born. (I believe the word they were looking for there was cow.) We’ve gone through and gathered all of the best, most creative and hilarious names people have subbed in for actual words and listed them down below for you all. So enjoy these pics, and be sure to upvote the ones you intend to add to your personal vocabulary.
Let us know in the comments what your favorite back-ups are for words you commonly forget, and then if you’re interested in checking out a Bored Panda, or should I say bored black and white furball, article featuring hilarious words kids have come up with, check out this conglomeration of text next.
As frustrating and annoying as it may be to not be able to find the perfect word as it’s right on the tip of your tongue, it can also lead to some great comedy. Most of us do not come up with creative and innovative synonyms for common words every day, but when we’re faced with the moment of forgetfulness, our imaginations run wild. Why can’t we call cauliflower “ghost broccoli” or sleep “eyelid time”? We still get our point across, and we might even get a laugh out of whoever we’re talking to.
Some of the examples on this list also feature non-native English speakers who had to get creative when they were lacking the vocabulary they needed, which is totally understandable. It takes a brave person to learn another language and practice it with native speakers, so if they have to come up with their own phrases and words to be understood, more power to them. I am a firm believer in the idea that the point, when speaking a foreign language, is to be understood, not perfect.
If you commonly experience that almost painful “on the tip of your tongue” feeling when trying to come up with a word, you might not know that there is actually a word for that very phenomenon: lethologica. And according to Kendra Cherry at Verywell Mind, this frustrating phenomenon is universal. Studies have found that around 90% of speakers around the world, regardless of their native language, are familiar with this experience. And unfortunately, yet not surprisingly, the frequency of these occurrences tends to increase as we age. Young people tend to have this feeling about once a week, while older adults might experience it as often as every day. It is common for us to remember small amounts of the information we want though, including the first letter of the word we are looking for or how many syllables the word has, for example.
Researchers are not entirely sure why lethologica occurs, but one interesting thing they have learned is that the more time we spend trying to remember a word, the more likely we are to struggle with the same exact word again in the future. "This can be incredibly frustrating—you know you know the word, but you just can't quite get it," says psychologist Karin Humphreys. "And once you have it, it is such a relief that you can't imagine ever forgetting it again. But then you do. So we began thinking about the mechanisms that might underlie this phenomenon."
In one study, researchers presented participants with questions that they knew, didn’t know, or had the answers right on the tip of their tongues. For the tip-of-the-tongue answers, participants were then put in groups and given either 10 or 30 seconds to come up with responses. This entire process was then repeated two days later. Researchers found that the longer people worked on coming up with an answer the first day, the more likely they were to repeat that same experience two days later.
“The extra time that people spend trying to dredge up the word is what the researchers describe as ‘incorrect practice’ time,” Karin Humphreys explains. “Instead of learning the correct word, people are learning the mistake itself.” So if your brain is working on overdrive to remember the exact word you want to use, understand that it will actually be better to give your mind some rest. The answer will come to you eventually, or if you really get desperate, you can always Google it.
If you have noticed that you have experienced more lethologica than usual over the past year or so, you might not be alone. Brain fog is a common symptom for those of us who have had Covid, but it might be running rampant among everyone else as well. Kaitlyn Wylde addressed this phenomenon in a Bustle piece she wrote titled “One Weird Consequence Of The Pandemic? Forgetting Words”, where she shared the story of Kristin, a women’s health care worker in Denver who reported feeling “verbally rusty” since the onset of the pandemic. “I’ve been experiencing brain fog for the last year, but trying to keep up multiple conversations with different people at the same time over lunch highlighted a new level of fog — I keep forgetting words,” Kristin shared.
In fact, Google Trends data even shows an increase in people searching for words they are forgetting in the second half of 2021. There are several possible reasons for this. One explanation might be the lack of socialization we all experienced during the first year of the pandemic. As we suddenly began working from home and isolating ourselves, it’s likely we all began speaking less in general, and our speech in turn became rusty. Neuropsychologist Dr. Sanam Hafeez told Bustle that stress may also have something to do with this brain fog. “Before the pandemic, many people experienced acute stress, which can cause the body releases stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine,” she explained. “But the pandemic has led many people to become chronically stressed, which means that these stress hormones are being released into the body at much higher rates than usual.”
Magic Ed Sheeran
And if you have had Covid, you might be missing words way more than usual. Dr. Hafeez explained that research has found increased levels of cytokines, or molecules that cause inflammation, in the fluid around the brain in cancer patients who have also had Covid. These high levels of cytokines persist even weeks after the patients are free of Covid. This inflammation can cause brain fog, as well as impact our quality of sleep, cause stress or anxiety, cause dietary changes, and yes, increase lethologica. “I can say with confidence that in May, just after I was getting my strength back from Covid, that cognitively I could see the words in my head but found it delayed or hard to explain what I was thinking,” one real estate agent told Bustle.
If you have been feeling the effects of Covid brain fog and increased lethologica, have no fear. Dr. Michelle Braun at Psychology Today has provided some tips for how to keep our brains sharp. First, she recommends that we just keep talking. Allowing ourselves to get hung up on one word usually does more harm than good, so just push through! Even if you don’t come out as eloquent as you would have liked, cut yourself some slack. We can all empathize with the experience. You can always substitute in a synonym as well. Nobody else will know that it wasn’t your first choice, and thankfully, especially in English, there is almost always a synonym that will work perfectly.
Once you finally recall that word that was causing you pain and suffering when you tried to use it earlier, Dr. Braun recommends “repackaging it” so it’s more readily available the next time you want to throw it out. For example, you can think of an image that will help you remember the word or try to differentiate it from words that sound similar but mean something different. Once you have figured out your plan for remembering the word, keep repeating it in your head or try to use it several times that week, so it does not fade out of your memory again. It’s also important to remember that managing stress and making sure you get a good night’s sleep are two more ways to ensure your brain is functioning at full capacity.
Although it can be funny to hear what creative names people conjure up for items, we should not forget to exercise empathy when someone is struggling to think of a word. Because for some of us, being unable to remember a word can even be a medical condition: aphasia. WebMD defines aphasia as, “a communication disorder that makes it hard to use words” and explains that it can impact our “speech, writing, and ability to understand language”. It usually is the result of a brain injury or damage to the linguistic part of our brains and commonly affects people who have suffered strokes. It can be an incredibly frustrating disorder to live with, so if you know anyone experiencing aphasia, understand that they are doing their best to communicate.
Stories In My Eyes
We hope you are learning some new words and phrases to add to your own personal dictionary from this article. Whether you commonly experience lethologica or you are a walking thesaurus, I’m sure there is something on this list that you have never heard or used yourself. Be sure to keep upvoting the posts that make you question why you don’t use those phrases or terms, and then let us know in the comments what your favorite Wildbeef-worthy word is. And if you want to find even more funny phrases and terms kids have come up with, check out this Bored Panda story next.