The Scots have some great words in their vocabulary. Take “tartle,” for example. Have you ever heard of it?
What is a “tartle”?
Tartle is a Scottish word. It refers to the feeling of hesitation or panic that one experiences when one can’t remember someone’s name. Scots also use it to describe the act of hesitating to introduce someone because you can’t remember their name.
When someone experiences tartle forgetfulness, it can be caused by a number of factors. These include age-related memory loss, lack of attention when the person was first introduced, or normal forgetting. It can also be related to a condition known as anomic aphasia. This is a type of language disorder that affects the ability to recall words, including names.
The word tartle is not widely known outside of Scotland, but it is a useful word to describe a common experience of social awkwardness. You can also use the word tartle to describe the general feeling of hesitation when you are trying to remember something (not just a name) or when you are in a situation where your memory failed.
According to The Scotsman (cited below): “What makes the word so special is that it doesn’t apply when you forget the person’s name entirely. Oh no. It exists only to encapsulate the brief awkwardness while you rummage around your brain for the answer.”
Describing social awkwardness
There are many words and phrases in the English language that describe social awkwardness, here are a few examples:
- Inept: This word is used to describe a lack of social skills or ability.
- Bumbling: This word is used to describe someone who is awkward, clumsy or inarticulate in social situations.
- Tongue-tied: This phrase is used to describe the feeling of being unable to speak coherently or express oneself effectively in a social situation.