Here’s a good word if you ever feel like confusing a barista at a coffee shop:
zarf (n.) – an insulating holder for a coffee cup that has no handle.
Most people don’t realize that the little cardboard jacket that comes with your coffee cup actually has a name!
We have been working to popularize this word for a long time. A few years ago, as a social experiment, we spent an evening driving around coffee shops. At each one we ordered a small cup of coffee, and asked for an extra zarf, just to see whether anyone would understand the word. Not a single one did. All we got for our trouble was a scorching caffeine high and a car full of zarfs.
But our zarfquest has not been entirely fruitless. Here in Austin, we finally found a barista who knows the word. Naturally, we take credit.
Usage: Asking for a zarf with your coffee may confuse the barista, but you should do it anyway.
So there you have it, a word you can use on many occasions. We want to know what happens! And as always, listen to xersradio.com each Thursday from 5 to 7 pm, Central time, and be the first to know your next Word of the Week! (I usually present the WOTW at about 6 pm.)