10 Weird Scientific Terms

(Last Updated On: January 25, 2022)

Science is hard sometimes, but do you know what’s even harder sometimes? Naming things. Ever tried writing some story about some person and then hit an absolute brick wall when you realized you had to name a character? Yeah, imagine being in the profession of discovering new things and then having to name those things. Oh also, those names are going to have to be part of the accepted lexicon for probably forever. It does mean that sometimes we come up with funny things. Let’s look at some of those weird scientific terms, especially because most of them sound like they don’t make sense and you can flex on your friends with your new favorite words.

1. Mastication

You’ve probably heard this one a million times, because your friend likely learned it in like 3rd grade by reading an encyclopedia in the library and asked you “how often do you masticate” in middle school. Anyway mastication just means “to chew.” It’s boring, easy, and that’s why it’s first on the list.

2. Snap, crackle, and pop

Are you a physicist? No? Then this is a cereal slogan to you and you’re probably thinking cynically about the science of marketing and manipulating consumers into buying more products.

If you are a physicist, then this does actually bear some kind of scientific meaning to you. Snap, crackle, and pop refer to the derivatives of a position vector. Which, for us dumb people, just means “a thing going in a direction.” Vectors show us what direction something is going in, and how hard in that direction it’s going. That could be velocity, which you get by taking the derivative of a vector. Taking the derivative of that again gives you acceleration. Take another derivative and you get jerk. 

The next three derivatives give you snap, crackle, and pop respectively. 

3. Fartulum

A fartulum is a little sea gastropod. It looks kind of like a little bean, which is accurate to what happens when you eat a lot of them. 

Beans. Not little sea snails. 

4. Arsole

Arsoles are any arsenic-based organic compound in chemistry.

It’s also something we call rude people.

5. Galactic Bulge 

A galactic bulge is a bunch of stars packed together, normally in the center of a galaxy. If the stars are just in a larger star formation and clumped together (but not as part of a galaxy), it’s just a normal, less impressive bulge. 

6. Gorilla gorilla gorilla

The scientific name for gorilla is gorilla, but you probably knew that. The scientific name for the Western gorilla is gorilla gorilla. You probably knew that too.

But did you know that the western lowland gorilla’s scientific name is gorilla gorilla gorilla?

Now you do, and the word “gorilla” probably looks weird to you now.

7. Turdus Maximus

Maximus is a Latin word meaning “the largest” or “greatest.” Put two and two together, and have fun realizing that poop jokes are still funny, even though you’re probably trying to be a functional adult right now.

Ignore that turdus refers to a bird.

8. Sonic Hedgehog

Definitely feels weird to not see “Sonic the Hedgehog,” but sometimes science just misses things. This is actually a protein, governed by the SHH gene. The Sonic Hedgehog is pretty important for anything that starts as an embryo, playing a role in cell growth, specialization, and even the shaping of what the final body will look like–including your brain and spinal cord.

Wondering where this name came from. Well it’s literally just because someone thought it would be funny. Try that next time your high school teacher says your memes can’t be dreams. 

So uh… Maybe don’t make too much fun of the little blue guy. Might just mess up your nervous system next go-around. 

9. Blanet

Hey, remember when we said your memes can be dreams? Also, remember that time just replacing the first letter in every word with “B” was a meme? 

Anyway a blanet is a planet that orbits a black hole.

10. Moronic Acid

Moronic acid is extracted from Macassar kernels and mistletoe with medicinal properties.

It’s also what we pour on our brains when we’re feeling a little bit stupid.


Now that you know random science words, see if you can do some science true/false trivia here.

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About Kyler 728 Articles
Kyler is a content writer at Sporcle living in Seattle, and is currently studying at the University of Washington School of Law. He's been writing for Sporcle since 2019; sometimes the blog is an excellent platform to answer random personal questions he has about the world. Most of his free time is spent drinking black coffee like water.