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What the Heck Is an Aglet?
Oh, so that's what that's called!

"The plastic tips at the end of shoelaces are called 'aglets'. Their true purpose is sinister."
The Question, Justice League Unlimited, "Question Authority"

When a writer needs a particularly obscure fact, it seems the go-to subject is the aglet, the plastic or metal tip on a shoelace that prevents fraying.

It's close friends with Antidisestablishmentarianism.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

     Advertising 
  • One bank commercial on the radio used a hypothetical mom-and-pop aglet factory - and in turn heavy use of this trope - to explain how said bank wasn't too big for ANY small business!... Yeah, the housing market crash was making everyone pretty desperate (not that it was a bad ad in the end).

     Comicbooks  

  • Archie Comics:
    • One comic had Jughead carry a bag of aglets and telling Archie about them. Veronica overhears and thinks he said 'eaglet' i.e. baby eagles. Cue her stealing the bag in the name of animal rights, only to discover what they really contain.
    • Another comic contained a scene where a former prison inmate revealed he had to spend his imprisonment making "those plastic brittle things on the ends of shoelaces" instead of license plates. His sentence was actually extended because he "couldn't come up with a name for them."
  • In one issue of Super Mario Bros., Toad dreams that he dreams that Mario dreams that he dreams that he dreams (and that's revealed after four more layers, folks!) that the Princess was being forced to listen to two Fryguys debate about the name for these things. (He tries a few guesses himself, none correct.)
  • A segment in an Avengers Annual showing Andy Rooney's fictitious commentary on the Terminus saga and other recent major Marvel Universe events showed him playing the footage of a segment he was going to do about aglets when the power went out all over the world.

     Film  

  • In the 1990 Leslie Nielsen comedy Repossessed, one character (played by Linda Blair) is named Nancy Aglet.
    Frieda: What does the name 'Aglet' mean anyway?
    Braydon: Well a long time ago 'Aglet' meant 'He who puts those tiny little plastic things on shoelaces'
  • According to the 1988 Tom Cruise film Cocktail, Aglets are actually known as "fluglebinders."

     Literature  

  • The eponymous cat from The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents knows that the rat catchers in town aren't catching rats because the "rat tails" they show to people have aglets on them, revealing them to be shoelaces.

     Live Action TV  

  • In the Saturday Night Live sketch "Stand-Up & Win" (a game show hosted by Jerry Seinfeld where all the contestants are stand-up comedians competing in who can give the snarkiest answers to quiz questions), the grand prize of the night is revealed to be aglets:
    Announcer: Get a year's supply of those things that are at the end of your shoelaces! What are those things? They don't have a name!
  • In one episode of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Maddie helps London fight her shopping addiction by holding on to all her credit cards. At one point, London asks for the cards back, saying that she's just going to buy something small, like a pair of shoes, or only one shoe, or one of "Those things at the end of the shoe lace that nobody knows what it's called." To which Maddie instantly replies, "An aglet?"
  • In Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., at the end of the episode "Repairs" most of Coulson's team is shown playing Up Words. Simmons makes the word "aglet", which leads to an argument about whether it's a real word, settled when Skye looks it up online.

     Video Games  

  • Sam and Max use them as one of Sammunmak's myriad "most despised/cherished items" in They Stole Max's Brain!
  • An Aglet is one of the available equippable items in Terraria, providing a small speed boost when equipped.

     Webcomics  

  • According to Achewood, Aglets are a key ingredient in the cocktail drug "fool's meth."

     Web Original  

  • One sushi-etiquette site points out that the small piece of plastic that looks like fake grass that comes with sushi is called "haran," or "baran." Then it adds: "Of course, knowing the name for it is like knowing that the plastic tips on the end of your shoelaces are called aglets."
  • Merriam Webster has a top ten list for "Words For Things You Didn't Know Have Names". Yep.

     Western Animation  

  • The subject of one episode of Phineas and Ferb. Of course, since the titular boys do everything Up to Eleven, they even went so far as to hold an awareness concert (with an Ear Worm song) just for people to remember its real name.
  • Justice League Unlimited: During an Electric Torture sequence, The Question resisted interrogation by only revealing random useless facts, such as the name for those little plastic caps at the end of a shoelace. He then added on "Their true purpose is sinister."
  • On an episode of Pinky and the Brain, The Brain attempts to use a television broadcast as a means of mass Mind Control; he chooses a particularly slow television night on which to enact this scheme, secure in the knowledge that people will watch his program (since the only other things on TV are a Homeboys In Outer Space rerun, an arena football game, and a boring documentary about shoelaces). After much suffering, he manages in the nick of time to broadcast his mind-control signal... only to have Pinky remark that he just learned what "aglets" are, meaning that Pinky (and by implication, the rest of the viewing public) was watching the documentary about shoelaces.
  • In Dave the Barbarian, the eponymous character and his friends and family are being held against the wall by magic. "Dave, do something!" "I am... I'm trying to remember what the thing on the end of a shoelace is called, an argle?" When they are let go, but still against the wall, he suddenly remembers something. "That the the on the end of a shoelace is called an aglet?" "No, that gravity makes things fall."
  • Shows up as a question in a quiz show that Maya And Miguel are watching.
  • In The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Beautiful Gorgeous' life long dream is to make these.
  • In The Simpsons episode "Bart vs. Lisa vs. The Third Grade", after Bart and Lisa get lost in the outskirts of Capital City, Marge manages to find a clue: an aglet from one of Bart's shoelaces. Homer visibly dismisses this, to which Marge replies "A mother knows!"


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