The tragedy of the philtrum: Join me in elevating it to its proper status in the American lexicon.

The philtrum is the space on your face between your nose and your mouth. It’s that vertical groove that drops from the nose and to the lips. It’s the place where hipsters grow mustaches and noses drip in the winter. You probably didn’t know this. Or if you did, you recognized the word but probably couldn’t have retrieved it from your memory banks without prompting. Correct?

The software that I am using to write this post doesn’t even recognize philtrum as a real word.

Think about that:

We can identify every other spot on our face. Mouth, nose, chin, cheeks, nostrils, lips, forehead, temples, eyes, eyebrows, hairline, jowls. But the spot on our face that is arguably smack dab in its center is forgotten. Ignored. Unknown.

The philtrum is the He Who Should Not Be Named part of our body, and yet it’s out in the open every day, looked upon by every person to whom we speak.


The philtrum, people. It’s been left out of the American lexicon far too long.

Why is this? Have our teachers failed us? Have our parents left the philtrum out of the conversation for a reason? Is there an anti- philtrum conspiracy that seeks to keep this central part of the body hidden in the shadows?

Is this the result of secret philtrum shame?

The philtrum. You probably touch it one hundred times a day, yet most of us have never used the word in our lives. We have probably said the words vagina and penis ten thousand times for every one utterance of the word philtrum.

The philtrum. Let us ignore it no longer. If you are as passionate about the philtrum as I am – and I can’t imagine any reason why you might not be – go forth today and spread the news of its name like you might spread the news that your child has been born.

Let the philtrum be your baby. Shout its heretofore unknown name from the rooftops of the world.

Or at least just tell a few people what it’s called, so we can end the plague of philtrum ignorance.