Vocabulary in English

Household Vocabulary: 48 Useful Objects You Don’t Know in English

Household Vocabulary: 44 Useful Objects You Don't Know in English
You’re about to learn 48 everyday words for things in the house. Also check out Kitchen Vocabulary: 48 Things in the Kitchen You Don’t Know in English.

Quick! What’s this called?

Measuring tape

Or these?

Clothes pegs

If you don’t know what these are, then you need a vocabulary boost for common household objects.

So let me introduce you to 48 useful things I found in my living room that you might not know in English.

We’re going to look at:

  1. Tools
  2. Stationery
  3. Technology objects
  4. Other household items

Free test - Gymglish with Clark and Miller

Household Vocabulary #1:
Tools in English

Scale

Luggage scale

Click to listen.

This is a luggage scale that we bought to weigh our luggage just before going on a cheap flight — we packed our bags to exactly 8 kg.

Yep — we travel like pros!

You can also use a kitchen scale to weigh the food you’re cooking, or a bathroom scale to weigh how much of that food is now stuck in your body.

Pliers

Pliers

Click to listen.

Yes. Manly pliers.

For forcing objects to do things they don’t want to do.

Screwdriver set

Screwdriver set

Click to listen.

Screwdrivers are so useful, aren’t they?

Here we a have a simple set of screwdrivers.

They come in different sizes, of course, but also with (at least) two different types of “tip.”

You have the one that looks a bit like a star, which I call the “star-tipped” screwdriver, but which the internet more boringly calls the “cross-slot” or “Phillips.”

You also have the one that’s more flat. I call it the “flat-tipped” screwdriver, but the internet prefers “slot drive” or “slotted.”

Allen key set

Allen key set

Click to listen.

other names: Allen wrench, hex key

While I was taking all these photographs for this post, I discovered that we actually have THREE Allen key sets. I guess I really like buying Allen keys.

They’re pretty useful, though — especially if you’re a cyclist.

Bike pump

Bike pump

Click to listen.

other names: bicycle pump

A pump.

For your bike!

Hook

Hooks

Click to listen.

You never know when you’re going to need a hook.

So that’s why we have one.

Padlock

Padlock

Click to listen.

There it is — looking strong and metally. (By the way, “metally” is not a real word.)

Household Vocabulary #2:
Stationery in English

Gaffer tape

Gaffer tape

Click to listen.

other names: gaffer’s tape, gaff tape

Gaffer tape is amazing. It appears to be stronger than metal.

There’s nothing you can’t fix without a bit of gaffer tape.

If you can’t fix it with gaffer tape, you haven’t used enough.

Packing tape

Packing tape

Click to listen.

other names: box-sealing tape, parcel tape

Gaffer tape’s uglier, less useful cousin.

Blu tack

Blu Tack

Click to listen.

Yeah, I know — this should be called “pink tack.”

But it isn’t. It’s still Blu Tack. Even though it’s pink.

It’s so surprising how difficult this stuff is to find in some countries.

When we were living in Russia, just before we went back to England for the holidays, our school used to ask us to bring back lots of Blu Tack. You just can’t find it in Russia.

So how do people put posters up on the wall? We never found out the answer to that.

Pens

Pens: marker, ballpoint, felt-tip

Click to listen.

OK. We all know what “pen” means.

But let’s look at these three common types.

On the top, you’ve got a marker. They’re usually not used for writing, but for “marking” things like CDs, things you’re building or making, or Kevin’s face while he was sleeping.

That was a fun night.

Markers have lots of different names, but most of them have the word “marker” in them (like “marker pen,” “marking pen,” etc.).

In the middle, you’ve got a biro, ballpoint pen or ball pen.

They’re probably the most commonly used pens around.

What I don’t understand is why the most common colour for them is blue. I mean, why blue? Surely black makes more sense? Same with tattoos.

The world is so mysterious sometimes.

Finally, at the bottom, you’ve got a felt-tip pen. Great for drawing awful, child-like pictures with.

If you want to get technical about it, this is actually a type of marker, too.

Paper clips

Paper clips

Click to listen.

Ask any teacher what the most important piece of stationery is in their life.

They’ll probably say “paper clips.”

It’s a nice little word, too, isn’t it?

Bulldog clip

Bulldog clip

Click to listen.

This useful thing’s called a bulldog clip.

Because it looks just like a bulldog!

No?

Then I don’t know why. But it’s a fun name, though, right?

Folder

Folder

Click to listen.

It’s where you put all your important documents.

And maybe old letters you want to keep.

String

String

Click to listen.

There it is! It’s string!

Just one of those useful things in the house — and better for tying things together with than an ADSL cable, for example.

Wrapping paper

Wrapping paper

Click to listen.

It’s Christmas!

No, just joking. It’s totally not Christmas.

But you might still need this if you’re buying someone a birthday present.

Household Vocabulary #3:
Technology Objects

Remote control

Remote control

Click to listen.

Often known just as the remote and sometimes the zapper.

They’re usually for TVs, but you can have them for other stuff, too, like the air conditioning or the garage door.

Maybe soon they’ll produce remotes for screaming children.

Or maybe not.

Batteries

AA batteries

Click to listen.

Useful for all sorts of things!

The ones in this picture are AA batteries (pronounced “A – A” or “double-A”).

You also get AAA batteries, which we usually call triple-A batteries or triple-As.

You also get those square ones too, right? They’re called 9-volt batteries.

Or sometimes “those square ones.”

Speakers

Speakers

Click to listen.

In my house, these are commonly used for long YouTube sessions, sitting around with friends and showing each other music we like.

We can be doing this for hours.

USB hub

USB hub

Click to listen.

When you just don’t have enough USB ports for all your favourite devices.

Or when you’ve spilt beer on your laptop keyboard while playing Sonic the Hedgehog and have to use an external keyboard for two weeks. Which might or might not have happened to me.

Power board

Power board

Click to listen.

other names: power strip, plug board and many others

You know what this is for, of course.

You probably have at least one in your house.

Double adapter

Three-way plug

Click to listen.

Sometimes you can plug two things into them. Then we call it a two-plug or two-way plug.

Sometimes you can plug three things into them. Then we call it a three-plug or three-way plug.

Travel adapter

UK adapter

Click to listen.

other names: travel plug, [UK/US/European …] adapter

Have you ever been to the UK?

The plug sockets there are completely different from almost everywhere else, right?

So you’ll need to get an adapter.

This one’s for the UK specifically, so I’d call it a UK adapter, but they’re commonly known as travel adapters.

Headphones

Headphones

Click to listen.

We can see what these are, right?

Good. Good.

Moving on …

Household Vocabulary #4:
Other household items in English

Cushions

Cushions

Click to listen.

Not pillows — cushions.

Pillows are for the bed.

Cushions are for the sofa. Great for lazy days.

High-vis

High-vis

Click to listen.

other names: hi-vis, high-vis jacket (abbreviation of high-visibility)

I wasn’t happy about how any of the photos we took of me in a high-vis looked.

So I decided to replace my face with David Attenborough’s. Because why not?

Anyway — a high-vis or a high-vis vest is what I’m wearing here.

It’s particularly useful when you want to go cycling at night.

But my brother has also discovered that if you’re wearing a hi-vis, you can often just walk into events (like concerts and festivals) without paying. Everyone just assumes you’re working there.

Camping chair

Camping chair
I should really water my plants more often …
Click to listen.

It’s nice to have a camping chair.

It makes you feel like an active person — the sort of guy who goes out camping and survives by drinking river water and hunting tomatoes.

Even if you just have it on your balcony all the time and use it to drink tea in.

Backscratcher

Backscratcher

Click to listen.

OK. I know this looks like it belongs on a horror movie set.

Sorry about that — there’s just no way to take a photograph of this without it looking evil.

But it’s not evil at all. It’s so you can scratch your back and get that hard-to-reach spot.

Scratching post

Well-used scratching post

Click to listen.

For the cat, of course.

She’s completely destroyed it, hasn’t she?

Clothes pegs

Clothes pegs

Click to listen.

other names: clothespins (US)

These are those things you put onto the washing line when you’re leaving clothes out to dry.

It stops them flying around and prevents the city being terrorized by flying shirts.

Doorstop

Doorstop

Click to listen.

other names: door stopper, door wedge

It’s a thing that stops doors.

So we decided to call it a stop. A doorstop.

Globe

Globe

Click to listen.

I love maps.

And it’s always good to have a map on the wall or even a globe on your coffee table.

Here’s a quick test: name 3 countries beginning with the letter “R.” You’ll be surprised how tricky that is. Leave your answers in the comments.

Tealights

Tealights

Click to listen.

When you want to make the living room look pretty.

And when you think that the combination of fire and having a curious cat isn’t such a bad idea.

When will we learn?

Incense

Incense

Click to listen.

OK. It’s more or less impossible to take a photo of this and make it clear what it is.

Basically, this is stuff that smells nice. You burn it, and it makes the house smell nice, too.

It’s traditionally used in churches. It also comes in stick form.

You know what I mean, yeah?

By the way, while doing the research for this, I discovered that this stuff can be really bad for your health. I think I might throw mine out, now.

Sewing kit

Sewing kit

Click to listen.

Everything you need to sew those name tags onto your kids’ school clothes or to repair the damage to your shirt after your weekly wrestling session!

Needle and thread

Needle and thread

Click to listen.

The most important part of the sewing kit:

The needle (the sharp, metal object) and the thread (the string stuff).

I’m a big fan of sewing.

I remember one Sunday several years ago, I was so bored that I decided to sew the front of one T-shirt onto another T-shirt.

It turned out well:

Gabriel's T-shirt

Measuring tape

Measuring tape

Click to listen.

other names: tape measure

We can see what this is, right?

Tape. For measuring.

Shaving brush

Shaving brush

Click to listen.

“Hey! This doesn’t belong here! Surely this a bathroom thing!” you may or may not be saying.

Well, good point.

But I actually keep a shaving brush in the living room for my laptop.

Dust gets everywhere, especially when you have a cat.

I’ve found that one of the best ways of getting dust off your laptop, without getting it wet and risking damage, is with this little guy.

Life hacks are fun!

Shoehorn

Shoehorn

Click to listen.

This is another item that’s almost impossible to take a photo of.

Basically, you use this so you can put on your shoes more easily and without causing damage to the back part of the shoe.

Shoelaces

Shoelaces

Click to listen.

other names: bootlaces (UK), shoestrings (US)

The string for your shoes. So in the US, they logically call them shoestrings.

But in the UK, we like to be difficult. So we call them shoelaces.

Plant pot / pot plant

Pot plant

Click to listen.

There are two things in this picture (not including the wall).

There’s a pot plant.

And there’s a plant pot.

The pot plant is the plant.

And the plant pot is the pot (containing the plant).

Got it?

Great!

Tray

Tray

Click to listen.

Something you put stuff on that you want to carry together.

Basically used when we’re feeling lazy and want to have dinner lying down.

We all do it, right?

Bookshelf

Bookshelf

Click to listen.

No, not all those books. We know what they are. (I love books.)

The place we put them — that’s called a bookshelf.

Cat

Cat

Click to listen.

She’s always here. Looking out of the window. Thinking about the meaning of life and planning retirement off her YouTube millions.


That’s it — all those little things in my living room that you might not have known the word for.

Everyone’s living room is different, so there are probably loads of things you have that I don’t have.

Let me know in the comments what’s missing from the list, and I’ll do my best to add it.

Did you find this useful? Do you know any people (or anacondas) that might also benefit from this? Then BE AWESOME AND SHARE! Spread the knowledge!

9 thoughts on “Household Vocabulary: 48 Useful Objects You Don’t Know in English

  1. Hi Clark,
    The three countries are Rwanda, Romania and Russia. Thank you so much for this great post. I really like it!!!

  2. Thanks for sharing your helpful and valuable informative post. Can you tell me? What do I need to do when moving into a new house?

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