In Celebration of the Koozie: Zarf, Punt, and Other Uncommon Product Terms
It’s official: as of 2015, the word “koozie” has made it into that grand old gatekeeper of the English language, the Oxford English Dictionary. It joins such other new entries as “crowdfund,” “forensics” (really, that wasn’t in there yet?), “Masshole” (really, that’s in there now?), and my personal favorite, crokinole.
Koozies are big sellers at Quality Logo Products®, so we throw the word around pretty often here. (We also sometimes throw koozies, because that’s just what we do.) Every now and then, though, one of us will use the word when talking to people who don’t work in the promo products industry. And that person will get the same response as all the others:
“What the heck is a koozie?”
Well, now we can point to the Oxford English Dictionary for the answer. So in celebration of the koozie‘s acceptance, we’re taking a look some of our favorite unusual product terms. Whether they describe parts of promo products, or parts of items related to promotional products, these are some of the words that we don’t hear every day but kinda wish we did.
So get your zarf in place, and let’s go!
The word that started this whole post. Yet even though “koozie” is a now a full-fledged member of the OED, it’s not the only word that’s used to refer to this fabulous foam insulator. Even the QLP website lists a few different names. Browse our koozie category, and you’ll find can holders, can coolers, and sleeves, just on the first page alone!
Beyond QLP, the terms only get more varied. In some regions, people refer to a “cozy” instead of a koozie. This makes sense; as one author has suggested, maybe the koozie was derived from the idea of a tea cozy or egg cozy, which were 19th-century inventions used to keep tea and eggs warm, respectively.
And then there’s the term “stubby holder.” Is that primarily an Australian phrase, as QLP research along with several heated discussion forum posts suggest? Possible, but all I know is that it makes me think that the product should be used to hold cigars instead.
Whatever you call it, thanks to the Oxford English Dictionary, the koozie is here to stay.
Speaking of sleeves, here’s an accessory that I bet a lot of you use every day.
The word “zarf” traces its origin to the Arabic language, where it refers to a metal holder (often silver) for coffee cups that lack handles. It reaches about halfway up the cup and is usually covered in ornate decorations.
You know what else serves the same purpose as a zarf? Those corrugated cardboard sleeves that you get around your venti Caramel Macchiatos. And so there are some people who call those sleeves zarfs, because darn it, zarf is a much more enjoyable and beautiful word to say, and the fashion world has already co-opted the word “sleeve” anyway.
(Please note: the above reasons might just be personal opinion with very little basis in fact beyond the articles linked.)
Quality Logo Products® embraces the zarf as well as the sleeve, as you can see on the Sip N Style Stackable Tumbler, which includes its very own insulator, whatever word you’d like to use for it.
You don’t really think about the humble aglet until you break one. But when you do break it, hoo, boy, then you’re scouring the Internet for hours, trying to find some retailer that sells aglets a la carte (which sounds like an egg dish but I promise has nothing to do with omelettes).
“Aglet” is the word for that little cylinder of plastic you see wrapped around the tip of your shoelaces. Yes, that thing! It has a name! According to Dictionary.com, that name is derived from the French word aiguillette, which is “an ornamental tag or cord or braid on the shoulder of a uniform.”
Busting an aglet on your shoelaces is frustrating; trying to fix one, even more so (seriously, Scotch tape sticks for only about twenty minutes). It’s one of the many reasons why Quality Logo Products® offers fully customizable shoelaces complete with aglets, such as the ones seen here.
We’ve talked about ferrules before on the blog, along with thrust tubes, barrels, and all the other fun parts of pencils and pens. When it comes to delightful terms for parts of products, writing instruments are just as good a source of them as anything!
It turns out, though, that the word “ferrule” refers to more than just a small metal ring that keeps wooden objects like pencils from splitting. According to Merriam-Webster, it’s also a metal sleeve that binds two objects like pipes or wires together. That’s why you can find ferrules available from companies that have nothing to do with making graphite-based writing utensils.
One more fact about ferrules before you head to our Pencils category to see them in action: the word is derived from the Latin word viriola, meaning “little bracelet.” And you thought pad printing was the only way to snazzy up your pencils!
This is one of the terms on this list that you’re more likely to read about and think, “Oh, that makes sense.”
You know that little loop that you slide the end of your belt through after you’ve buckled it? Well, it’s not just called “that little loop.” It’s officially called a keeper, which, when you think about the work it does in keeping your belt tip in place, is pretty logical.
For fashion belts, the keeper comes included and attached. For police duty belts, however, the keeper has a different function. It’s sold as a separate loop, usually made of leather, that snaps on over both the duty belt and the officer’s regular pants belt. That way, it helps keep the duty belt and all of the important equipment it holds from falling down.
But if you’d just like to keep it to fashion belts, you can see a belt keeper on customizable belts like this one here.
Admittedly, you won’t find a product with a punt on the Quality Logo Products® website. You will, however, find plenty of products designed to keep a punt safe.
A punt is the name for that dimple or indentation on the bottom of a bottle of champagne or wine. Yes, there really is a word for everything. Just think of it as an ideal place for your foot to fit if you were to punt a wine bottle (though, really, why would you do that to a perfectly good bottle of wine?).
While the Internet agrees on the name for that indentation, not everyone can agree on why the punt is there or what purpose it serves. Here are some of the thoughts:
- It came from the days when glass wine bottles were handmade, and the rod that a glass blower attached to the bottom of a bottle-in-progress while working on it was called a pontil rod. (Pontil rod? Punt? Hmm!)
- It provides structural integrity when many fragile bottles are packed together in a case and stability when a bottle is set on top of a table.
- It serves as a place where a sommelier can hold the bottle.
- It collects sediment, which makes for tastier wine (though there’s plenty of disagreement over the truth of this).
Wherever the punt came from or whatever the etymology of the word is, there are promotional products that exist specifically to transport wine bottles safely, punt and all, like this wine tote.
If you were a kid during the late ‘80s or early ‘90s, then you might be thinking of a very specific beauty tool right now. I promise you, the thing I’m about to describe is not that thing (though it works in a similar way)
The crimper (also called the crimp area) isn’t just a part of a stapler. It’s a very specific area on a part of the stapler. That raised part of the base, right below where the staple comes down, that helps to push the staple closed? That, my friends, is the crimper. It’s a metal surface that, when pressed against another metal surface, clamps down hard, not unlike what crimping irons did to sun-kissed and hair-sprayed hair everywhere more than twenty years ago.
Based on that, it’s entirely possible you’ll never look at staplers like the Mini Stapler again.
* * *
Those are some of our favorite terms that are related to items we use every day but that are anything but ordinary. If you enjoy learning new and uncommon words as much as we do, there are plenty of blogs and articles on the Internet to help you get your word nerd on. They’re best browsed while enjoying your favorite drink (which, of course, you’ll keep cool with a koozie).
What are some of your favorite weird words for everyday items? Got any terms related to promo products that we didn’t know about? For real, did you know what an aglet was before you read this? Because the author sure didn’t. Let us know in the comments below!