Alan Rickman once said "I do not play villains... I play very interesting people."
The use of the word "American" can be a complicated prospect for some. Latinos are taught in school that there is only one continent called "America," and that the people who live there are "Americans." Therefore they take it as arrogance (and a slight against themselves) that people in the United States call themselves "Americans," as if they alone represent the continent (not helped by the fact that the USA tends to overshadow the other countries of the continent). Meanwhile schoolchildren in the United States are taught that there are two continents, North America and South America. In Spanish, speakers actually call the inhabitants of the US "estadounidense," which means "United Statesian." This doesn't really work in English, hence in English the use of the word "American" simply as a shortening of the name of the country. It should also be pointed out this is only a problem among the inhabitants of Latin America and the Spanish language since the RAE (Royal Spanish Academy) recognizes the use of the term "American" for everyone born in the continent and calls out against its use as a synonym for a citizen of the United States - the rest of the world just calls citizens of the United States "Americans" without any issues. That being said, some languages other than Spanish do observe the distinction between the country and the continent(s) if the context isn't sufficiently clear; German, for example, has US-Amerikaner and US-Amerikanisch for citizens and as an adjective respectively (the logical English equivalent would be "US-American"), although they're regarded as "politically correct" terms rather than normal parlance.
American Indians would prefer you not call them "Native Americans". Call them by their tribal identities (Seminole, Arapaho, Comanche, etc.). Or if that's too much, call them "First Nations", or "Native people", or even "American Indians". But don't call them "Native Americans". Many, however don't care as long as you do not call them by a wrong tribal name or the name of a professional sports team from Maryland.
Inuit people don't like to be called Eskimo, but non-Inuit northern tribes (such as the Yup'ik of Alaska) don't like having their name subsumed.note The use of "Inuit" became accepted in Canada partly because all of that country's Arctic peoples are indeed Inuit. The same holds true in Greenland. This is not the case in Alaska.
The Iñupiat of Alaska are a unique casealthough they technically are Inuit by ethnicity, culture and language, they reject the term "Inuit", whether as a collective term for Arctic peoples or as a synonym for "˜˜Iñupiat".
For a reason. All Inuit are Eskimo, but not all Eskimo are Inuit. Same with Sami and Lapps.
American football announcers — presumably fearful lest those of us watching/listening to the games get confused as to exactly which sport is being played — take great pains to insert the word football (as both noun and adjective) into as much of their commentary as possible. So instead of saying, "These players need to move the ball down the field if they're going to win this game", they'll go with something like, "These football players need to move the football down the football field if they're going to win this football game," and so forth.
Here's a supercut video an intrepid fan made of every time CBS analyst Phil Simms said "football" during a single telecast of an NFL game.note The game, for the curious, was a 2012 Thanksgiving Day matchup between the Detroit Lions and Houston Texans. It was not an especially unusual or important game, although it did go into overtime. (Total count: 58.)
Baseball announcers, by contrast, will often call entire games without mentioning the name of the sport. Instead, it's "the ballgame", "the ballpark", "the ballplayers", etc.
The difference is probably because professional football grew up so much in baseball's shadow that most of the teams played in baseball stadiums and many of them were even named after those baseball teams: The New York Giants were at first the New York Football Giants, for instance, until the San Francisco Giants moved to San Francisco. Even that professional sports team from Maryland mentioned above was originally the Boston Football Braves. Hence explicitly saying what sport is going on to avoid being mistaken for the other, better-known sport.
An inversion occurs in real life with the Super Bowl. "Super Bowl" is a trademarked phrase, hence the alternate term "The Big Game."
People from outside of the United States, Canada, and Australia hate it when people from those countries refer to Association Football as "soccer" for short rather than "football". People in those countries use "football" to describe various other sports. All sides seem to hate the term "football" being used for the "wrong" sport. Although hatred over the term "soccer" is often a part of anti-American sentiment, the nickname originated in Britain, not America. It was coined by Oxford fans of rugby as a pejorative term for a sport they considered inferior, which is why it's not used or particularly liked by its followers.
You may hear the argument that soccer is "real" football and American Football is a joke (they use their hands more than their feet, so how is it football?)
Football is also used by Aussie rules and Gaelic football players to refer to their own sports with Association Football also referred to as soccer. You'll often hear "soccer" used in Ireland because of the presence of Gaelic football; even association football fans will use "soccer" if they feel it's necessary to avoid confusion.
In South Africa, all cultural groups use "soccer" for association football, even though the main competing football code (rugby union) was historically played mainly by whites in general and Afrikaners in particular.
It is called "soccer" in Japan as well, most likely due to a combination of the trendiness of American culture and the popularity of American Football in Japan.note While Japan's national federation calls itself the Japan Football Association in English, its native name (transliterated) is Nihon Sakkā Kyōkai. No need to guess where the second word comes from.
American soccer fans have adopted a lot of British terms for "Football" (soccer) and the (American) Football leagues of Europe often have "Football" in the name without necessarily having "American" there as well. It's just that outside the US there is another dominant sport claiming to be "Football".
Many pro and college sports teams have gold as an official color. Almost none have yellow as an official color ("yellow" can also mean cowardly). Even teams whose shade of "gold" is very obviously yellow, like the Pittsburgh Steelers, Oakland Athletics, Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Lakers, and so on. Do not refer to those teams' colors as "yellow" around ardent fans; they will quickly correct you. The distinction probably arose from heraldic conventions, where yellow is referred to as or (gold).
Billy Birmingham, on one of his The Twelfth Man sports and commentary parody CDs, has an example where one commentator refers to the Australian cricket team playing in "Canary Yellow." He is quickly rebuked:
"That's not Canary Yellow! That's Australian Gold, my friend, and don't you fucking forget it!"
The University of Michigan, whose colors are to sane people "yellow and blue", is very insistent that the proper term is "MAIZE and blue".
Likewise, Indiana University's colors aren't "red and white", they are "cream and crimson".
Rutgers University doesn't wear red, they wear scarlet. The official name of the team is the Scarlet Knights.
An exception is Australian Rules Football's Richmond Tigers, who proudly refer to their colors as "yellow and black" in their theme song.
For the 2012 PGA Championship, any sandy area was literally called a "sandy area" by the announcers as opposed to the more common "bunker" or "sandtrap". This was caused by a distinction within the rules of golf—to use the word "bunker" or "sandtrap" would explicitly imply the sand as a hazard (where golfers can't ground their club, remove loose impediments such as pebbles, etc.), but local rules for the tournament stated that sandy areas were not to be treated as hazards.
You'd better be careful if you're at Augusta National Golf Club, host site of The Masters Tournament. Those rich folks don't like you referring to their "second cut" as the rough (granted it is much shorter than the rough on most golf courses) or their Masters "patrons" as the fans, crowd, or so on (although they generally see "gallery" as an acceptable alternate term, as long as "patrons" is more often used). They also prefer "flagstick" to "pin" and insist on Augusta National, instead of just Augusta.
And because Augusta National's television contract with CBS runs from year to year, they retain a great deal of control over how the tournament is presented and even what announcers can — and can't — work on the broadcasts. One CBS commentator, Jack Whitaker, made the mistake of referring to a "mob" of patrons during a '60s Masters telecast, and was effectively barred from the event for many years thereafter. CBS' Gary McCord received a lifetime ban from the course for jokingly comparing the greens to a bikini wax.
It was once common for American broadcast and print media to refer to the third golf major of the year as the "British Open", while the European media referred to it as "The Open Championship". This changed around the Turn of the Millennium, when the latter use caught on over on the left side of the pond.
U.S. Marines prefer to be called "Marines" rather than "soldiers." Those who have been honorably discharged also reject the phrase "ex-Marine," because "Once a Marine, always a Marine." "Retired", "veteran", "inactive", and so on are variously preferred.
Noncommissioned superiors often don't want to be called "sir." "I'm not an officer. I work for a living!" This does not apply to the Air Force.note Because in the Air Force, the officers are the pilots and do most of the fighting.
Not all Naval junior rates are "Seamen." The rate of Seaman is a particular specialisation dealing with on deck evolutions and maintenance.
Naval aircraft pilots prefer the term "aviators," probably because Pilot refers to an entirely different job in the maritime trades.
Members of the Air Force are not "soldiers", they're "airmen". Which becomes more confusing because "Airman" is also a title of address for the four most junior ranks. Referring to a particularly touchy Staff Sergeant as "Airman" instead of "Sergeant" may get you a cross reaction. Similarly, Air Force personnel are reminded not to address airmen as "troops".
Don't refer to those great big things US Navy personnel float around in as "boats." They're ships... unless they go underwater. Then they're not "ships," they're boats.
While we are in the Navy, the right is starboard and left is port. For a good reason.
Likewise, walls are bulkheads, floors are decks, windows are portholes and doors are hatches. And rooms are either cabins (if people live in), or shops. The lavatory is called head and kitchen as galley. The basement is bilge. The US Marines (who split off from/are still partially supplied by the Navy) will still use these on land, particularly "head."
Typically in sailing but particularly on Naval vessels, if you need to get someone to move out of the way you don't say "make a hole" or a derivative of such since "holes sink ships." Instead you use "gangway" or similar.
As of sometime in 2008, the official term for people serving in AmeriCorps is "AmeriCorps members." Many individuals serving in AmeriCorps* VISTA, a Johnson-era program specializing in indirect service that was brought under the AmeriCorps banner in the 90s (and continues to use separate and frequently more restrictive training, rules and procedures from standard AmeriCorps) insist on being called Vistas, or at least on adding VISTA to whenever referring to themselves as AmeriCorps members.
Anime fans do not like anime being referred to as "cartoons" because of the Animation Age Ghetto. However, referring to non-Japanese animation as "anime," no matter what its style or content, is also incorrect.
Note that the distinction is reserved for discussions outside Japan - in Japanese the term "anime" (アニメ) does refer to all types of animation regardless of style or origin, as it is an abbreviation of "animation".
And you'll often run into trouble for calling a manga a comic book. Again, in Japan it just refers to comics and cartooning in general, and can even include animation. "Graphic novel" is generally acceptable, though.
Apple's retail stores are quite fond of this trope. They're Geniuses, not technicians. They're Specialists, not sales associates. It's not selling; it's "presenting solutions." Metrics are "results," not numbers.
BANG! Magazine called itself an "Entertainment Paper" for its first 11 issues. The table of contents explained that it is not a newspaper, since the people who make the stories and comics within strive to entertain, not to detail current events.
In 2009, US Senator Barbara Boxer caught some heat while holding a congressional hearing. When Brigadier General Michael Walsh addressed her as "ma'am", she requested that he address her as "Senator". This touched off a nationwide debate as to whether it was acceptable for the officer to abide by military conventions (in which "ma'am" is an accepted term for all women) or if he should address the senator by her preferred honorific.
B.C. and A.D. versus B.C.E. and C.E. is a particularly odd one. Using one of those terms might prompt someone to "correct" you to the equivalent from the other set, but the fact of the matter is that a vast majority of people don't really care.
The use of B.C.E and C.E. originated among Jewish historians - since their religion doesn't accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah, using A.D. (Anno Domini, 'In the year of our Lord') would be blasphemous for them.
Call anyone who routinely rides a bicycle a "biker," and they'll point out they do not ride a motorcycle. Bikers ride motorcycles; cyclists ride bicycles.
It's the British Army, not the Royal Army. It is however the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force and there are several parts of The British Army that have the Royal Prefix. There's a serious reason for this: the Army traces its lineage to the New Model Army that was loyal to Parliament and opposed to the Crown during the English Civil War. The absence of "Royal" is a badge of pride for the Army, as it indicates the historic loyalty to the idea of Parliamentary government.
The term Brontosaurus is a now obsolete synonym for Apatosaurus. Paleontologists will be quick to correct anyone that uses the term Brontosaurus.
According to Richard Dawkins and Stephen J. Gould, most paleontologists don't like the name Apatosaurus either, and a common daydream in the dinosaur community is discovering a document that would give the naming precedence back to Brontosaurus.
It is bus rapid transit (BRT)stations, not BRT stops. BRT has been gaining prominence through notable examples such as the Transitway in Ottawa, Canada, the TransMilenio system in Bogotá, Colombia, the Orange Line in Los Angeles (which was formerly a rail line), the Silver Lines in Boston (which were originally intended to be subway lines), and other BRT systems in cities such as Mexico City and Curitiba, Brazil.
In Taichung, the BRT "stations" were originally called such by the mayoral administration that initiated its construction. After the opposition came into power, they insisted those were not BRT "stations" after all but simply "stops", to emphasis their point that the BRT is just a very expensive bus line.
Taken to a logical extreme, some BRT proponents have resorted to calling the buses as "BRT vehicles". Even more so, Ottawa's bus system, OC Transpo, has considered the Transitway as the foundation of Canada's capital city's "Rapid Transit Network". (The classification of BRT as rapid transit is reasonable, as the main thing that makes traditional rapid transit—subways—"rapid" is not that they are trains but that they have dedicated rights-of-way—they don't mix with other traffic—and come frequently, i.e. at least every 15 minutes during working hours. Calling the buses "BRT vehicles," however, is entirely laughable.)
A common speaking pattern in people that are autistic is that they'll use as specific terms as possible either due to fear of being misunderstood. For example, some will say "return" instead of "come back", or "casual friends" instead of "acquaintance".
Chain motels. They like to call themselves "Lodges" or "Inns" to sound better. The trope is inverted by Motel 6.
While many have called Charlie Brown the archetypical "lovable loser", Charles Schulz always insisted "he is NOT a loser. A real loser would give up."
Taiwanese politics suffers from a very bad case of this, with both main blocs not even agreeing on how the country is called. For the DPP-led democratic coalition, it is simply "Taiwan", while the KMT-led nationalist coalition insists on calling it the "Republic of China". Even when trying to compromise and find a neutral way to refer to the country, they can't seem to agree. The Nationalists would use "Taiwan, Republic of China" as a non-partisan term (as in "The region of Taiwan, which is part of the Republic of China", never mind that said region consists of 100% of the Republic's current territory). The Democratic camp would write it as "Republic of China, Taiwan" (as in "The foreign government in exile of the Republic of China, which is currently residing in Taiwan").
This is why the postal system, designed under a Nationalist administration, use "Taiwan, Republic of China", while Taiwan's passport, designed under a Democrat administration, has "Republic of China, Taiwan" on its front page.
In a similar fashion, the national post network was renamed from "China Post" to "Taiwan Post" under the DPP administration, only to be renamed back to "China Post" the year the KMT regained power.
Both parties won't even use the same terminology to refer to each other. The democratic camp call itself "independentist" camp, while the Nationalist camp insist they are "separatists". On the other hand, the KMT refers to itself as a "Reunificationist" movement, while the DPP insist they are a "Unificationist" movement.
The People's Republic of China refers to Taiwan (also known as the Republic of China) as "the Taiwanese Authority", and Taiwan's president as "The leader of Taiwan" since they don't consider Taiwan an independent state.
Furthermore, both Mainland China and Taiwan's Nationalist Party agree that there is only "One China", which consists of both continental China and the island of Taiwan. In contrast, the other main party follows a "Yi bian yi guo" ("One country on each side [of the Taiwan strait]" doctrine.
China allowed Taiwan to participate in the olympics under the condition of their team being called "Chinese Taipei" and not "Taiwan". The translation of "Chinese Taipei" however varies depending on the country. While China translate it as "Zhongguo Taibei", Taiwan insist it really means "Zhonghua Taibei". "Zhongguo" means "China" as in "People's Republic of China", while Zhonghua means "Chinese" as a race, the same word also used to refer to anyone living in other Asian countries or in the west who is of Chinese descent.
"They're graphic novels, not comics!" as well as the above-mentioned "Manga is so not the same things as comic books!"
Some people have developed an objective distinction between comics and graphic novels based on the different publishing methods for each. Comics are released serially, with single stories being told across multiple issues that come out periodically, while graphic novels are released as single, large volumes from the get-go.
In France, "comics" is reserved for American comics, "manga" for Japanese comics or comics produced in that style, while the general term is "bandes dessinées". Although if you talk about "bandes dessinées" or BD (that's pronounced bay-day), people will most likely assume you're talking about Franco-Belgian comics.
During the Cuban Missile Crisis, the United States implemented a "quarantine" on shipments to Cuba, since a blockade is an act of war.
Dick Gregory would rather be known as a humourist than a comedian, the former being less elitist and planned out than the latter.
The insistent theatrical terminology carries further: uniforms are "costumes", places visible to guests are "onstage" while places not visible to guests are "backstage". When you factor in the high frequency of acronyms, you basically need to learn a new language to work there.
Also, Cast Members have "roles" rather than job descriptions.
Not just at the parks: employees of the publishing arm, a thousand miles from Florida, are Cast Members.
New York mayor David Dinkins once famously insisted he had not committed a crime—what he had done was "fail to comply with the law".
Try calling a full Doctor Who story from the classic era an "episode" around an elitist fan. None will miss a chance to correct your blunder and insist you call it a serial. Or go onto any Doctor Who message board and refer to the main character as "Doctor Who" (or, god forbid "Dr. Who"). They will remind you that he is "The Doctor".
EMTs and paramedics do not appreciate being called "ambulance drivers" (that's a completely different career path), and the titles "EMT" and "paramedic" are not interchangeable—paramedics have more training and can perform more procedures. Can be confusing since in some places the two are officially classified as EMT-Paramedic or EMT-P (as opposed to the lowest level EMT-B, who is an EMT-Basic). When in doubt, "medical first responders" is a decent umbrella term.
Pastor Ernie Sanders, a right wing fundamentalist radio preacher in the Cleveland area, has a version of this trope that many people will find offensive. According to Sanders, Democrats are "socialists" and/or "communists", homosexuals are "sodomites", etc.
Incidentally, most actual socialists/communists/assorted other far left groups object to being compared to the Democratic Party, the mainstream of which is too conservative for their tastes. Center-lefties tend to return the favor, as the center left tends to have no particular problem with (properly regulated) capitalism and don't tend to hold the more collectivist principles of socialism and Communism as gospel. (Also, Communists are a radical subset of socialists, etc.)
They're not prostitutes, they're "escorts". This, however is an Enforced Trope in many countries. You see, almost all of the US (as the best known example) outlaws prostitution defined as an exchange of money for any sexual acts. However, there Ain't No Rule against paying for "spending time with someone", "nude housekeeping", "massages" or whatever the euphemism du jour is. And there is also no rule prohibiting two consenting adults from having sex, even if one of them just so happens to pay the other for something entirely unrelated. In theory however, this means that a "not-prostitute" could simply refuse having sex with the client even after being paid and there is nothing the client could do, as they are not paying for sex. Interestingly, despite making pornography being legal in many places where prostitution isn't, nobody has yet tried to abuse that as a loophole for prostitution.
Until 1999, France officially used the expression "Événements d'Algérie" ("Algeria Events") instead of "Guerre d'Algérie" ("Algerian War"). During more than forty years, this conflict (which killed more than 150,000 people, and possibly as many as 1.5 million) wasn't considered to be an official war.
Many animal shelters refer to adopting animals as the pet being placed in their "forever home", in part to emphasise the commitment required in getting pets.
Formula One races — For many years, it wasn't "[proper adjective] Grand Prix", or "[name of country] Grand Prix", it was "Grand Prix of [name of country]". The one long-standing exception was the United States Grand Prix.
Nowadays, the official F1 race name format, at least on the English-language website, varies by the language of the host country:
The U.S. race is still called the United States Grand Prix.
"[Proper adjective] Grand Prix", in English, is used for other countries where English is an official language (except Canada; see below); Malaysia, where English is widely used though not official; Belgium, where three languages, two of them Germanic, share official status; and countries where the official language is written in a non-Latin script. The Hungary race is called by its Hungarian name, which translates to this format.
A name that translates to "Grand Prix of [name of country]" is used for German-speaking and Romance-language (French, Spanish, Portuguese) countries, with Belgium (with Dutch, French, and German all official) as an exception to this. Canada's race also uses this format because it's hosted by Montreal, where French is the only official language. The Grand Prix of Europe, which returned to the calendar in 2016 and is now hosted by Azerbaijan, uses this format as well.
Some creators of anthropomorphic animal illustration are very insistent on not being called "furry artists".
General Motors insists that you call the Chevrolet Volt an "extended range electric vehicle" instead of a hybrid, thanks—even though the Volt is technically a hybrid, as it has an electric motor and a gasoline engine. However, GM's usage is partially justified because unlike most hybrids, the Volt is designed to operate on only its electric motor, and can be recharged from the power grid; moreover, when its gasoline engine is running, most of its output is devoted to recharging the electric batteries, with only some of the energy being used to directly power the wheels.
Renaming its more oppressive features, similar to People's Republic of Tyranny - the Berlin Wall was officially referred to as the Anti-Imperialistischer/Antifaschistischer Schutzwall (anti-imperialist or anti-fascist protection rampart), both terms targeted at West Germany.
Many items related to religious holidays were renamed to comply with secular ideology. Easter bunny-shaped chocolate was called a Frühlingsschokoladenhohlkörper (springtime chocolate hollow body) and angel figurines on Christmas trees were called geflügelte Jahresendfiguren (winged end-of-the-year figurines). Even for a language like German that's used to long concatenated words, they sound rather ridiculous. Scholarship is divided about how much these terms really caught on.
Foreign (especially American) words that entered German parlance, even those that were in use before WW2, were replaced with Exactly What It Says on the Tin German words. Darts became Wurfspiel ("throwing game"), Supermarkt became Kaufhalle ("purchasing hall"), Comics became Bildergeschichten ("picture stories") etc. This was to emphasize that their versions were "completely different" from the corrupting capitalist counterparts.
West Germany wasn't shy of returning this in kind. In the early years after World War II, the West German administration considered itself the only legitimate German state and refused to recognize even the existence an East German state. It used alternative names, such as Ostzone ("Eastern zone") or Sowjetische Besatzungszone ("Soviet Occupation Zone"). They also refused to recognize any country that maintained diplomatic relations with East Germany, with the exception of the Soviet Union (which was too big and important to upset in this way) until Willy Brandt's Neue Ostpolitik (New Eastern Policy) of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
You can both date and place the origin of a German-language text by the terms it uses to refer to the largest German speaking city, or rather its parts. West-Berlin, Berlin (West) for the West and Ost-Berlin or Berlin, Hauptstadt der DDR for the East. "Pankow" (a neighborhood in East-Berlin) was also often used pars pro toto for East-Berlin, especially when talking about the political leadership. Probably because it sounds "Russian" to most Germans and thus underscores the "foreign government" aspect the West-German conservatives liked to emphasize about the GDR.
The border between the parts of Berlin was almost always called "Sektorengrenze" (sector border) in West-Germany, because technically speaking Berlin only ceased being divided into four sectors upon reunification and yes the Berlin wall coincided with the borders of the Soviet sector of Berlin. Of course the borders between e.g. the British and the American sector was almost entirely irrelevant, but finding any other name for the Berlin-Berlin border would have been a political minefield, so the name stuck.
Communist seem to be prone to this for example:
Marxist, Leninist, Marxist Lenisnist, Stalinist, Maoist, Titoist, Socialist, and many more are all,note With a possible exception of the Socialism depending on the definition of the term forms of communism for practical purposes. While there are many vast ideologically differences between the listed ideologies, modern communist will almost invariably try to correct anyone who calls them a communist.
Communist traditionally don't call Nazis anything other than Fascists. This was enforced in WWII when the Soviet government didn't want people thinking that that the struggle between the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the NationalSocialist was meaningless.
On that note - Hitler himself saw to it that anything remotely connecting his politics to classical "socialism" was eradicated from his party - so, the term "Socialist" in NSDAP is an In-Name-Only issue. Hitler was, for all practical purposes, a fascist.
The formal German term for "light bulb" is "Glühlampe", literally "glowing lamp". The common term is "Glühbirne", i. e. "glowing pear", but if you use it publicly on the Internet, don't be surprised if a dweeb "corrects" you. Some will even remind you that fruit never glows.
Hacking is a clever use of computer code. Scamming is the use of techniques to get users to divulge their own passwords. What laypeople refer to as "Hacking" is often just them just having their poor computer security habits being taken advantage of by a scammer. The word "hacking" has no security connotations at all among IT professionals and computer scientists, and is rarely even used in that context. Furthermore the act of breaking into computers is known as "cracking" and not "hacking".
The Hitachi Magic wand is a neck massager, please kindly disregard those videos on the internet.
Likewise, all those other gadgets for "massage" or "relaxation" that, since Victorian times, have refused to admit they're vibrators.
Natives of the state of Indiana are not Indianans, they are Hoosiers - to the point where the official demonym was changed in 2017. This despite the fact nobody actually knows what a Hoosier is. Really. There's no known etymology of the term.
Hormel, the maker of SPAM luncheon meat, really hate that one of their brand names has been co-opted to mean "unsolicited e-mail advertising". So much so that they used to threaten to sue anyone who used "spam" in a name for a computer program.
They've relaxed a little bit; now they allow "spam" (no caps) to mean junk mail while "SPAM" (all caps) is the meat product.
You're not a customer at In-'N-Out Burger, you're a "guest". There are no employees either, there are "associates."
Ditto for Jo-Ann Fabrics stores.
This is true for almost all of Germany which makes matters complicated even for Germans. A "Gast" (guest) is someone that stays for a long time and is serviced (in a hotel, in a restaurant, etc) while a Kunde (customer) is someone that is in a shop and is mostly independent. Things get complicated since self-service restaurants often have customers while exclusive shops have guests, gas stations can mess it up entirely depending on if there is someone filling your car, if there is simply a cashier or if it is a purely automated station and so on...
The use (and sometimes, abuse) of the word IP (Intellectual Property) has become quite a problem recently as a replacement for Franchise. While IP is acceptable in legal environments, outside those places it sounds pretentious and sometimes outright insulting for people who doesn't know too much about legal jargon, preferring to use the word Franchise instead, including here in TV Tropes. This is even parodied in Kotaku when someone decided to make fun of this and creating a browser extension that replaces all the instances of IP with the backronym of Inmense Penis, in the style of the infamous cloud-to-butt plugin.
On the other hand, lawyers who specialize in the field will point out that there really is no correct way to use the term "intellectual property". If you want to say anything legally meaningful, you have use the specific term "copyright", "trademark / service mark / trade dress", "patent", or "trade secret". The four areas of the law work quite differently, so lumping them all as "IP" is both a cause and effect of layperson confusion.
This particular reason affected the usage of "Sentai", which became an offensive word linking to an "offensive" military. The only well-known post-war usage of "Sentai" was the Super Sentai franchise which have nothing to do with JSDF. (Though JSDF do use variations of this term like "Kantai".)
Same for Germany. It was forced to have no war forces after WWII, but it is allowed to have a defense force, leading to the "Bundeswehr" (country defense). It mostly works like normal military, except that it strongly advertises that everything it does - in Germany or abroad - is to "protect" something regarding Germany to justify them being there. This is also reflected by the ministry that is responsible for it, the "Bundesministerium für Verteidigung" (Federal Ministry of Defense). Whenever media accuse the Bundeswehr or the ministry of invading or attacking, they are very quick to point out that they are only "defending" or "protecting" something. It becomes weirder since NATO and EU both require Germany to send forces for active battle into areas which is officially forbidden.
This happens a lot when it comes to referring to military hardware and organizations, due to various requirements, restrictions, or even just circumstances and traditions. The Royal Navy originally described the Invincible class aircraft carriers as "Through-Deck Cruisers", partly due to political fallout from the recent cancellation of a more ambitious class of fleet carriers. This is an old ruse; the US Navy designation for aircraft carrier, CV, derives from the term "Cruiser, aViation" (CA having been taken already by "Cruiser, Armored"). In the latter case it was an attempt to squeak these vessels by the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty, which set strict limits on battleships but somewhat less strict ones on cruisers.
Along similar lines, in most navies around the world, the largest vessels in the water are "destroyers" — which in World War II when the navy was most in the public eye were some of the smallest warships afloat. Never mind that these destroyers have the mass, weaponry, and combat role of traditional cruisers (or arguably even battleships, post-war guided missile cruisers having supplanted them). They're definitely destroyers. In some navies, where the term destroyer is considered too charged, they're "frigates".
The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force itself fields a class of aircraft carriers that are referred to in English as "Helicopter Destroyers" (in Japanese, they are referred to, like all combatant ships in the JMSDF, as "Goei-kan", or "Escort Ships").
A recent trend in the US military is the rebranding of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles as Remote-Piloted Aircraft. They are exactly the same thing, and both names can be taken to be accurate of what the actual vehicle is, but the new name highlights the fact that these aircraft are, by design, under human remote-control, possibly to avoid some of the stigma of Attack Drones.
UAV operators don't like their aircrafts to be called drones. Drone implies they're supposed to be for target practice.
Like Japan, Israel has the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).note Note that in English, the IDF officially uses the American spelling of "Defense" instead of the Commonwealth "Defence". The name literally translates from Hebrew as "The Army of Defense for Israel".
Additionally, unlike virtually every other nation on the planet, the IDF is an organization that has land, air, and sea "arms". There is the Land Branch of the Israel Defense Forces, not the Israeli Army, and likewise for air and sea forces.
Originally, the organization was supposed to be the "Israeli Army." However, the armed forces of Israel were originally formed from the Haganah, the military wing of the Jewish Agency for Palestine; "Haganah" means "Defense," and the Israeli government wanted to preserve the reference.
Very few countries, if any, still has a "war" department or ministry. Every such government agency is a "defense" department/ministry.
The United States Army — though other branches of the Department of Defense have adopted this as well — does not fight enemies; it fights adversaries. This one stems more as a joke about this than actually sensible policy: As one general once noted, "The Russians are our Adversary, the Navy is our enemy." It was funny enough to become common usage.
Pan Am chairman Juan Trippe never referred to his aircraft as planes; they were "ships". The pilot and copilot were the captain and first officer, and the speed was measured in knots. In fact, any time a nautical term appears in aviation, it can probably be traced back to Juan Trippe and Pan Am.
Airspeed is always measured in knots. Indeed, most aviation terminology has always borrowed from nautical terminology, due to the comparisons being so apt, and in many cases, being used for things that serve the same purpose, such as the rudder. That said, Pan Am had a long history of keeping the association far closer to heart, with individual aircraft having names in the fashion of sailing vessels rather than being referred to by tail codes or radio callsigns.
For right-wing Israelis, the West Bank is "Judea and Samaria". From this perspective, these territories are also not occupied by Israel, but rather "disputed" between Israel and a certain group of Arabs who call themselves Palestinians but (they say) are actually Jordanian.
The whole Arab-Israeli conflict may be the Most Triumphant Example of this trope. It often seems that the two sides cannot agree on the names for any of the important events or places in the conflict. A short list:
The 1948 war is called the War of Independence by the Israelis and the Catastrophe by the Arabs.
The 1956 war is called the Sinai Campaign by the Israelis, the Tri-Partite Aggression by the Arabs, and the Suez Crisis by the British and French (and by extension the rest of the West).
The 1967 war is called the Six Day War by the Israelis and the Setback by the Arabs.
The 1968-1970 war is a rare exception: both sides seem to agree on calling it the War of Attrition.
The 1973 war is called the Yom Kippur War by the Israelis. Arabs have a sub-dispute between them about what they call it: some will call it the Tenth of Ramadan War or the Ramadan War, while others will call it the October War. Which one you use is often indicative of religious and political orientation (generally, Ramadan War=Islamist orientation, October War=secularist orientation, although it's not a perfect predictor).
The 1982 war is called the Lebanon War by Israelis, the Invasion by Arabs.
The 2000 war is usually called the Second Intifada or the al-Aqsa Intifada, although some Israelis will insist on calling it the Oslo War; this is a rare case where the Arab name has caught on more in the west.
That being said, people on both sides, as well as outsiders, will often refer to the first four "hot" wars simply as the Wars of 1948, 1956, 1967, and 1973, as these are generally considered neutral terms.
When it comes to places, the capital of Israel is called Jerusalem by the Israelis, al-Quds by the Arabs.note Albeit this is a shortening of Urshalīm al-Quds, "Jerusalem the Holy", which remains the official name and sees some use among Arab Christians. The land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea is called Israel by the Israelis (duh), Palestine by the Arabs.note Further complicating things is the fact that the Gaza Strip and the West Bank are under the control of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, respectively, and are often referred to as ‘Palestine’ by non-Israelis. The political entity that governs most of that piece of land is called the State of Israel by Israelis (again, duh) and the Zionist entity by most Arabs—though not by all of them, including the governments of Egypt and Jordan, and this gets into a sub-fight among Arabs (pragmatists generally using "(State of) Israel" to show they think the existence of the state is a fait accomplinot worth fighting about, hardliners continuing to use "the Zionist entity" to demonstrate their ideological bona fides). What Israelis call the Temple Mount (a term that Westerners, especially Western Christians, also generally use) is called the Noble Sanctuary by Arabs (or, more precisely, by Muslims, although many Arabic-speaking Christians will use that term too, at least some of the time). The freshwater lake that feeds into the Jordan River is called the Kinneret by Israelis, but Lake Tiberias by the Arabs, and usually the Sea of Galilee by Westerners (because Jesus). The dispute over whether a certain bloc of territory is properly termed the West Bank or Judea and Samaria, and whether those territories are "occupied," "disputed," or "administered" has already been mentioned; this is another example where the terms generally more popular with the Arabs have caught on more in the West. Then there is the dispute over whether the barrier that the Israelis built on or near the Green Line is more properly a "wall" or a "fence"—made more annoying by the fact that in some places it's 8 meters high and made of concrete, while in other areas it's much shorter and made of chain-link and barbed wire. And this is hardly an exhaustive list.
The geographic names are less political than they seem, though. The Hebrew names generally predate the Arabic ones (as seen in the Bible) and have always been used by Jews, well before the Zionist movement. Meanwhile, the Arabic names were mostly the ones that the locals had been using for centuries when the Arab armies showed up. By the time the Arabs conquered the region, the Roman expulsion of the Jews from Judea was 500 years in the past, and the region had been populated by predominantly-Christian Aramaic- and (to a lesser extent) Greek-speakers, who generally self-identified as Roman, for about 200-300 years; thus when the Arabs arrived, they just Arabized the names the locals were using and continued using them.note The locals, for the record, would not convert to Islam for another century or two, and wouldn't be fully Arabized for a century or two beyond that. At least at first, the Arabs didn't really care what Christians or Jews did as long as they paid their taxes on time, so it wasn't until the tax and career advantages of being Muslim became too good to pass up that the Aramaic-and-Greek-speaking, Roman-identifying, Christian inhabitants of the Levant became the Muslim "Arabized Arabs" that they now are. Other than towns and villages actually founded after the Arab takeover, the only Arabic place name that is actually Arabic and not an adaptation or translation of something Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, or Latin is "al-Quds" for Jerusalem, and even that is a shortening of something like"Urshalīm al-Quds"—"Jerusalemnote The Hebrew being Yerushalayim the Holy" (various early variations are attested, and the city has many Arabic names, all respecting its holiness—suffice it to say that if you meet someone with the surname "al-Maqdisi", that person's ancestors were Arabs from Jerusalem).
The green fuzzy egg shaped fruit is a "kiwifruit". A "kiwi" is a chicken-sized nocturnal flightless bird with a beak that looks like a knitting needle. Colloquially, a Kiwi can be a New Zealander. In either case, scooping their insides out is only allowed in special circumstances, and eating them is always illegal. A "kiwi" (also in lower case) can also colloquially refer to the New Zealand dollar.
The plurals also demonstrate this trope. The Māori language, spoken by the Polynesian people who arrived in New Zealand before European contact, does not have a plural form as we know it in English, instead adding a pronoun or article to the singular word. In NZ English, words borrowed from Māori, such as "kiwi" (the bird), do not change in the plural. Therefore, "two kiwi" always refers to two birds, while "two Kiwis" (capitalized) are two (human) New Zealanders, and "two kiwis" (lower case) are two NZ dollars.
Korea and Korea:
Both countries have historically reject the names "North Korea" and "South Korea" due to their non-recognition of each other. The Northeners insist that their country is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the DPRK, or simply Korea. South Korea is the Republic of Korea or, again, just Korea. In the Korean language, they also use different words for Korea: "Joseon" in the North and "Hanguk" in the South. (These days, the North still does this with 100% persistence; South Koreans are more likely to take a more practical approach but some are still quite insistent, and it's still the official government line.)
The language name issue has resulted in the Japanese broadcaster NHK to create their own Insistent Terminology. It's not a Korean language program, it's a Hangul program. Hangul is the name of the Korean Alphabet, so it's kind of like calling "English Class", "Latin Alphabet class."
North Korean Citizens can finally get a taste of American-style fast food in a new restaurant opened in the capital of the isolated country, as long as they do not ask for a hamburger. Instead, patrons of the Samtaeseong diner, which opened in Pyongyang in July 2009, have to order a suspiciously similar "minced beef with bread".
As seen on the documentary series Vice, North Korean officials will insist that their "Supreme Leaders" be referred to by title rather than just by their names.
The infamous "cross burning" ceremonies carried out by the Ku Klux Klan would not be referred to as such by members of the Klan, as they do not burn crosses; they light them to symbolize the light of Jesus Christ shining down on the white race.
Many LARPing organizations that use Nerf guns in their events (particularly those based on college campuses) insist that their members refer to their guns as "blasters" so that police and administration don't think that they're using firearms in public.
And foam swords and things as "boffers" for the same reason. Some also insist on other substitutions like "tag" instead of "hit" or "kill" or "down" instead of "dead."
Arguably, calling people from Lesvos/Lesbos "lesbians" would similarly get you beaten up (the inhabitants being rather conservative even by Greek standards and all). B is pronounced like V in Greek and so they are Lesvonians.
Libraries do this at times. It isn't reference, it's "Information Services" and it isn't the circulation desk, it's "Patron Services".
Most runners object to being called "joggers", though the exact difference between jogging and running is unclear.
Medical marijuana users don't get high, they medicate. "Getting high" refers specifically to consuming it for the recreational side effect, rather than for any medicinal reason. This is similar to how taking a dose of cough syrup is "fighting a cold" and chugging the bottle is "attempting an hallucinogenic trip."
The field of mental health is full of this trope. For some, it's not even "mental health." It's "behavioral health." Patients are "clients" or "consumers."
In Germany, a asylum was formerly called "Irrenanstalt" (institute of insane people) or "Nervenheilanstalt" (institute to heal nerves), sometimes also with the derogative term "Klapsmühle". The new term "Psychatrische Klinik" or "Psychatrie" is known, but a lot of people still haven't gotten fully used to it (partially due to the old terms being used in media regulary as Played for Laughs).
Mr. T, who actually changed his namenote Laurence Tureaud so people would have to address him as "Mr." This came out of watching people call his grown male relatives "boy" due to the institutional racism of the day:
"I think about my father being called 'boy,' my uncle being called 'boy,' my brother, coming back from Vietnam and being called 'boy.' So I questioned myself: 'What does a black man have to do before he's given the respect as a man?' So when I was 18 years old, when I was old enough to fight and die for my country, old enough to drink, old enough to vote, I said I was old enough to be called a man. I self-ordained myself Mr. T so the first word out of everybody's mouth is 'Mr.' That's a sign of respect that my father didn't get, that my brother didn't get, that my mother didn't get."
Nationalists in Northern Ireland (and residents of the Republic as well) refer to the city in the west of Northern Ireland as "Derry", the Anglicisation of its Irish name. Unionists (and many residents of the rest of the UK) refer to it as "Londonderry", a name it gained in the 17th century. The distinction is so well-known in Ireland that it's often a convenient shibboleth for figuring out an individual's political allegiances (and often their religion too).
The Nationalist community tend to self-identify as "Irish", while the Unionist community self-identify as "British" (or "Ulster" / "Ulster Scots"). As such, Nationalists insist on referring to the Six Counties as "Northern Ireland", while Unionists often prefer "Ulster", stressing what they see as a distinct, non-Irish identity. For those unsure of the identity of any one individual "Northern Irish" and "Northern Ireland" are generally considered acceptable neutral terms, at least until any particular preferences are highlighted. (For nitpickers, the state of Northern Ireland is only two-thirds of Ulster, and Donegal, which is part of Ulster but not Northern Ireland, reaches further north than Northern Ireland does).
When marketing the NES Nintendo tried to avoid using terminology used by previous consoles. This was part of their vain attempt to pass the NES off as something other than a video game console in order to get retailers, skeptical about video games after the Great Crash, to go along with them. The name says it all; it was an "Entertainment System," not a video game system. The games didn't come on cartridges, but "Game Paks", which were inserted into the "Control Deck," not the console. Calling consoles a "Control Deck" persisted until the Nintendo 64.
As for the proper names of the consoles themselves, Nintendo officially discouraged the use of "Nintendo" and "Super Nintendo" for their 8-bit and 16-bit "Entertainment Systems" respectively despite their common use in colloquial speech. They instead prefer the officially accepted abbreviations of NES and Super NES respectively.
Other console manufacturers have also used fancy sounding monikers to describe their products. Sony, for instance, refers to the PlayStation line as "Computer Entertainment Systems."
Nintendo consistently refers to the customizable avatars on their systems as "Mii characters", never just "Miis".
Nintendo has other examples too. For example, their manuals are called "booklets". The Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS don't use "cartridges", they use "game cards" (which is actually more accurate than the more commonly used "cartridge").
"Organic" food, meaning food grown with no synthetic aids such as artificial fertilizers and pesticides, can raise quite a few hackles with chemists and biochemists since organic in the scientific sense refers to organic compounds. Scientifically, any food that is grown is organic, and any artificial or genetic enhancements won't change that unless they somehow suck out all the carbon—in which case it won't be food anymore.
If it has flips, it's not Parkour, it's free-running. By definition, parkour applies jumping, climbing and similar acrobatics to reach a destination as efficiently as possible. Flips, seen more in free-running, don't usually help your speed.
Paul O'Grady was once appearing on a BBC chat show in his Lily Savage persona, and in the live trailer before the previous programme the host called him Britain's best known transvestite comedian. O'Grady could then be heard off screen insisting "Eddie Izzard's a transvestite, I'm a drag queen!"
For years, PETA has attempted to get the term "pet" replaced because they claim it's insulting to the animals. Their latest suggested replacement is "Animal Companion", causing gamers and snarks the world over to declare "If it doesn't grant me a Buff, it's not an Animal Companion."
They also wanted people to call fish "sea kittens", because eating a kitty is a horrible thing to do.
To bring this trope full circle many other animal rights groups will insistently refer to PETA as "Animal Extremists" and not an animal rights group. This is largely due to the above mentioned en mass killing of animals and the organization routinely attempting to block "no kill" legislation.
It's become widespread to refer to pet owners as "pet parents", and to a lesser degree refer to pets as "companion animals" (unrelated to the above-mentioned PETA example).
In Germany, euthanasia is called "Einschläferung" (starting to sleep) while assisted suicide is called "Sterbehilfe" (dying help). Whenever a big argument about assissted suicide starts, defenders will persist on positive sounding words such as "Einschläferung", "Sterbehilfe" or "Begleitetes Sterben" (accompanied dying) while opponents will usually stay with more cruel sounding words refering to "suicide" or even "murder".
During the Vietnam War, it was common for certain politicians to refuse to use the word "war" when talking about the conflict. It was a "police action". This was not only because war was never formally declared, but also because prior to the Gulf of Tonkin resolution authorizing conventional military operations, any U.S. forces helping out the South Vietnamese were technically only there as "advisors". Opponents of the war derided the terminology.
Police officers are known for stressing that Tasers , bean-bag guns, and pepper-spray/tear gas are Less Lethal rather than Non-Lethal. Tasers can cause heart failure in people with pre-existing conditions or electrocution if incorrectly calibrate; bean-bag guns can cause internal damage if they strike in the right spot; and any aerosol irritant can cause serious problems for people with respiratory conditions.
There is also no such thing as a Bulletproof Vest — only bullet-resistant vests, or body armor.
From an etymological standpoint, there's nothing wrong with calling a particular protective garment bulletproof, providing you remember a proof is a test, not a guarantee it will stop a bullet. Well, it also needs to have had a test round fired at it. And due to the way modern body armor works, the vest is only good for that kind of treatment once before it's no longer useful.
Private Military Contractors are very touchy about being called "mercenaries," due to the negative connotations of the word, which evokes images of disloyalty and working for the highest bidder. Real private contractors may be very loyal, even if they don't work directly for their nation's government.
Also, apart from any connotations, mercenaries are denied any protection under the international treaties on the laws of war (which protection both soldiers and civilians get), so naturally they don't want to be classified that way.
Most Quebec sovereigntists don't like to be called separatists because that term has a negative connotation; it puts emphasis on the destruction of the country by separation, and is reminiscent of terrorism.
Interestingly, while the term was first used by sovereigntist politicians who wanted to avoid the negative connotations of "separatist", it has now become the most widely used term, including by most federalists. "Separatist" is now often (especially in sovereigntist circles) associated with fear-mongering and demagogy.
Biologist Richard Dawkins insistently corrects people who say that they "believe in evolution", because evolution is a scientific principle. "Belief" is often used in a religious context and implies being rooted in an unchanging article of faith. Science, however, is always incomplete, meaning it is always subject to change based on new evidence. This is also applied to any other field of science by many anti-Science groups, who insist in using "believe" and refuse to recognize the distinction.
Of course, that ignores the classical Platonic definition of "knowledge" as "justified true belief", which, while not exactly accurate, is certainly a good starting point (taking "belief" to mean "genuinely accepting, at least for now, that the proposition is true.")note Think of it like this: Suppose your friend tells you an unlikely-but-definitely-possible story. You say, "I believe it,"—meaning, in essence, "I buy that." Then you find something that strongly indicates that the unlikely story is true: say, someone completely different says the exact same thing, and also you find some physical evidence of the story on your own. Then your belief is justified. If the story is true, you could moreover reasonably be said to "know" that this thing happened—although it's not perfectly clear, which is why the definition is today considered a good start and not absolutely definitive.
Richard M. Stallman refers to the free operating system preferred by Playful Hackers everywhere as "GNU/Linux". Many call it "Linux". He wants to differentiate the kernel (Linux), the program that allocates the machine's resources to the other programs that are running, from the operating system as a whole; he claims that the GNU project deserves credit for writing much of the "userland", the part of the operating system made of libraries and utilities outside the kernel. He also wants people to recognize the idealism behind the project and community.
Since the rationale is that Linux is only a gear in the box while the "userland" is mostly, when not completely, GNU made, just like you say "Windows 7" not WINNT or "Mac OS X" not XNU, you should say GNU, not Linux, not even "GNU/Linux", that was actually a concession because of how popular that name is, it has a nice ring to it. Of course current distributions are so complex that they constitute their own brand of OS altogether.
"GNU/Linux" is also useful for distinguishing desktop and server Linux distributions, which use much GNU code, from "uClinux" or Linux on embedded devices, which replace most of the GNU code with lighter-weight alternatives.
And while we're on the subject, remember that you're supposed to pronounce it GNU slash Linux, merely saying GNU Linux won't do.
Stallman also stresses the difference between "freeware", that is, software that costs $0.00 but still has some restrictions on its use, and "free software", which can be used with absolutely no restrictions and is usually, but not necessarily, free of cost. He refers to the former as "free as in beer" and the latter as "free as in speech" note But then there's Free Beer, which is made up of microbrewers who share free-as-in-speech recipes....
Whatever you do, don't confuse "free software" and "open-source software" around members of the Free Software Foundation (especially Stallman) or Open Source Initiative. note Open source software is released in an uncompiled "source" format, which can be edited directly by the end user, as opposed to a compiled "binary" format which cannot; it's unrelated to whether the software is offered for any purpose or not, or indeed whether money is requested or not. Put another way, free vs. non-free is a legal distinction; open-source vs. closed-source is a technical one.
Calling Rugby League "rugby" (instead of "league") in front of some Rugby Union fans will get you a similar reaction to using "football" to refer to the other sport in front of Association or American football fans.
For a long while, fans of Star Trek took umbrage at being called "Trekkies". They were "Trekkers", and they let you know it.
Giving rise to the sardonic assertion that "a Trekker is a Star Trek fan, and a Trekkie is someone that insists you call them a Trekker".
Sanka Brand Decaffeinated Coffee has a TV ad where the characters are careful to use the full ten-syllable title every time. This ruins any illusion of this being an actual human conversation about Sanka Brand Decaffeinated Coffee.
Stella Artois' ads refer to the glass as a "chalice".
Target (the department store) thrives on this trope. Customers are "Guests". Employees are "Team Members". Bosses are "Team Leaders". Meetings are "Huddles". The manager is the "Leader on Duty". Human Resources is the "Team Service Center". This also leads to a mouthful of saying things like "Guest Service Team Leader", so acronyms are heavily employed.
There's a reason people jokingly refer to it as "Targét"; the company seems to really think it's higher-class than it really is.
The British art gallery brand Tate once asked taxi drivers to correct passengers wanting to go to "the Tate"; they actually wanted to go to "Tate Britain". Spell My Name Without a The, to distinguish the original gallery (now Tate Britain) from the newer Tate Modern gallery which is a couple of miles away from the original gallery. To which a snarky fare might reply, "OK, take me to the British Museum instead."
Telecommuters are often now using the term "teleworking" because of the stigma the former term has accumulated.
Sword of Truth author Terry Goodkind also doesn't write "fantasy novels"; he writes "stories that have important human themes".
Those Wacky Nazis got in on the act too. Joseph Goebbels apparently insisted that people refer to him by his proper title of Doctor Joseph Goebbels.
And remember - the SS and the SA don't have officers and common ranks: they've got commanders (führers) and their own, National Socialist ranks.
An incidence which occurs quite regularly within academia. A doctor is someone who holds a PhD, a professor is someone who holds the position of professor at a university (often the instructors are not technically professors, but lecturers). An interesting case is Harvard, which distinguishes between their regular professors, of which they have 2400; and their University-Professors-with-a-capital-U-and-P, of which they have 24.
Also, a Professor will bite your head off if referred to as "Doctor". A Doctor will be pretty chuffed to be called "Professor".
Within this group, an Assistant Professor or Associate Professor who presents themselves as "Professor of X" will receive a dirty eye from more tenured faculty.
In title-obsessed Germany, none of a typical professor's titles are considered to subsume or supersede any of the others, and they should be formally addressed as "Herr note or Frau Professor Doktor", with all their titles listed on descending order following "Herr" note For example, the eminent, if slightly ludicrous, "Herr Professor Doktor Docktor Honorius Causa Multiplex Paul Krutzen". And traditionally, Herr Doktor Professor's wife would be formally addressed as "Frau Professor", though this does not traditionally apply the other way around ("Herr Professor" for the husband of a female professor).
Irish millionaire Michael Smurfit insists on being referred to as "Dr. Smurfit", even though his Doctor of Law is only an honorary degree and honorary doctors rarely use the title. And people with a JD never use the title "doctor" anyway.
The Times, British newspaper of record, may be printed on tabloid sized paper, but don't you dare call it a tabloid. It's a "quality compact", thank you very much! The same is true of The Independent. The Guardian would also like to remind you that it is in the slightly-larger Berliner format.
Call someone who is into trains a trainspotter, and they will nearly always correct you that they are a railway enthusiast or "railfan". This is actually more accurate in most cases, as many are not trainspotters in the traditional sense, preferring to travel on or photograph trains as opposed to simply collecting numbers. The negative connotations of the term "trainspotter" (especially in the UK) of course are a big factor. The same can apply to any other "spotters".
Birdwatchers are emphatically not twitchers. Birdwatchers study birds, twitchers only want to count how many species they can lay claim to. Or so birdwatchers say.
Trostkyite is a right-wing and/or Stalinist term of abuse. Trotskyist is someone who agrees with the political theories of Leon Trotsky.
Except in the real Stalinist USSR they were called "trotskisty", literally "trotskyists", even in the most accusing official press.
Subverted with The Troubles from Northern Ireland: While in English (American, British and Irish) they are referred to as such, outside the English-speaking world (excluding Japan, China, Chinese-speaking countries, and Israel), they're described as a conflict or a war instead.
TV Tropes has a few. For example, British television show Doctor Who 's main character (other than the companions, according to Word of God) is named "The Doctor" as is Star Trek: Voyager 's holographic doctor who never settled on a proper name for himself. Any reference to "The Doctor" of Voyager will be followed by "no not that Doctor." (If for some reason there is a reference to a character called "The Doctor" that is not one of the above two, it often will also say "no, not that Doctor either".)
Whenever a trope is renamed, you can expect a contingent to keep referring to it by its old name. (One of the entries TV Tropes Memes page mentions this tendency on the forums.) Conversely, another contingent will insist on correcting the first group.
The USA does not use "Torture"; it uses "Aggressive Interrogation Methods".
In the U.S., "community service" is a term applied to forced labor on public causes as a punishment for a crime (often in lieu of prison time or a fine). In other countries, "community service" has a connotation more like the American term "volunteer hours".
Vegetarians and vegans often refer to meat as "corpses" or "cadavers" and animal testing as "vivisection."
Non-meat-eaters who eat fish and non-meat-eaters who don't eat fish both claim that "vegetarian" refers primarily to their group. This is because, while there are words for the finer distinctions, "vegetarian" is the only term that will be familiar to most people. Vegetarians who do not eat fish may insist that anyone who does is technically a pescetarian, not a vegetarian.
There is even some confusion as to what "meat" actually means- it can mean the flesh of any animal, but many cookery books insist on using the term only for the flesh of mammals (i.e. beef, lamb, pork etc.). If it comes off a bird, it's "poultry" and "fish" if it comes off a fish. Presumably some "vegetarians" maintain the distinction, insisting what they eat is not actually "meat". Doubly ironic, since historically "meat" meant any type of food and that some languages use their term of "meat" for various food such as fruits (such as german "Fruchtfleisch" [fruit meat]).
In some places (notably Central America) saying "I don't eat meat" will get you an offer of chicken. "Meat" (carne) being understood to mean pork or beef.
Walmart has no employees. They call them "associates". Also, they don't make profit, but "surplus".
Similarly, McDonald's and Subway do not have servers, but crew members and sandwich artists, respectively.
In the American South, the Civil War is often called "The War Between the States," "The Second War of Independence," or the "War of Northern Aggression" instead, depending on the politics of the Southerner.
Many of the battles also have two names; often the South would call it after the name of a nearby town while the North would call it after a creek or river or other geographical feature on the battlefield. Examples are the two battles of Bull Run (or Manassas) and Antietam (or Sharpsburg).
White supremacists often insist on referring to themselves as racialists, racial separatists or racial realists, as if that makes them somehow respectable.
Similarly, they often insist that they advocate "European-American pride" rather than "White pride". European-American pride actually is a legitimate thing, and there are numerous non-racist organizations, events, and institutions that exist to celebrate and preserve aspects of Irish, German, Czech, Dutch, etc. culture in America without implying that said cultures are superior to others or excluding people who do not belong to it, unlike "white pride."
In the same vein, members of organizations that officially deny the Holocaust (or claim that it wasn't as serious as the history books say) will insist that they are "Holocaust revisionists" rather than "Holocaust deniers". When pressed about their rather questionable feelings toward the Jewish people, many of the same people will specify that they are "anti-Zionist", not "antisemitic".
Xerox used to take out ads saying "'Xerox' is a registered trademark of the Xerox Corporation and as such should only be used to refer to its products and services." Those associated with the company tend to develop a rather alarming twitch when they hear someone refer to photocopying a document as "xeroxing" it. This is rather common because of how American trademark law works; see Stuck on Band-Aid Brand for more examples.
Germany suffers heavily from this. Most germans call a tampon a "OB"note though this is still theoretically correct since the letters refer to "Ohne Binde" (without sanitary towel), a name that Carl Hahn chose when he made a patent for the specific way his tampons are created., ask for Tesa when needing sticky tape or even refer to researching something on the internet as "googeln".
9/11 Truthers claim for their Conspiracy Theories that the demolitions that bought down WTC 1, 2, and 7 were caused by a substance known as "nano-thermite". Their opposition will derisively refer to it as "super-thermite", one of its other names. The Truthers will almost inevitably "correct" their opposition with "nano-thermite".
One common Truther claim was that the Twin Towers and WTC 7 fell "into their own footprint", as proof positive of controlled demolition. Problem is, they didn't. The Truther will promptly move the goalposts to some variant of "almost in their own footprint". Not even close; the debris field of the Towers was over five times the size of their footprint, and the WTC 7 debris hit several buildings all around it.note At this point, Truthers either ignore this information, or just repeat their earlier claim. Some Truthers have switched to saying the Towers fell "directly downward". This is really the same thing as the "own footprint". For fun times, ask the Truthers if the Towers fell directly downward into their own footprint (which is provably false), or if they fell directly downward outside their own footprints(a contradiction in terms). The best part? It's a false premise. Controlled demolitions don't necessarily fall straight down into "their own footprint". at all.
Adult men who enjoy looking at pictures of nearly-naked fourteen year old girls frequently have a habit of responding to shrieks of disgust by explaining that they're not pedophiles, they're ephebophiles, as though explaining the semantic difference will mollify their critics (or the law, which stubbornly fails to make the distinction). Not to mention that it is also inaccurate. An ephebophile would probably not be interested in a person 14 or under, unless of course they are a pedophile as well. They tend to specialize in adolescents. Though of course does not necessarily put them legally or ethically in the clear either.
They will often defend themselves by saying that teenagers are old enough to have sex, seeming completely oblivious to why it's wrong.
Similarly, some people who like to have sex with animals will say they are not "bestialists", they are "zoophiles", because they love the animals. Needless to say, this distinction is not recognized by law.
Almost all pessimists will always call themselves realists. Occasionally they will refer to themselves as a cynic or skeptic, at least if it's clear they have tried to have a positive outlook and failed.
As a result of good old rivalry, some students and faculty members at one of the Oxbridge universities will insist on referring to the other as "The Other Place".
A similar practice is used in the Houses of Parliament. In the House of Commons, one may not refer to the House of Lords by name, but rather by "The Other Place", and vice versa.
Ditto the Canadian Senate vis-a-vis the House of Commons.
Also, staff and students Oxford Brookes University will often refer to Oxford University as "The Other University".
This is fairly common in the United States as well. If there are only a small number of major universities in a state, students and alumni of one school will often refer to the other school(s) in a similarly-derisive way.
Battles often have different names depending on the side:
Two American Civil War engagements fought in 1861 and 1862 at a strategic railroad junction in northern Virginia are either called the First and Second Battles of Manassas, or of Bull Run, depending on whether they are being described from the Confederate or the Union perspective. (There are a couple other discrepancies of this type in Civil War military history, as the Union tended to use local rivers or streams to identify battlefields and the Confederacy usually went with the name of the nearest town.)
The battle that resulted in the defeat of the Teutonic Knights by a Polish-Lithuanian army is known as Grunwald by the Poles and (the first battle of) Tannenberg by Germans.
One big English victory in The Hundred Years War is called the battle of Poitiers in English, but that of Maupertuis in French (probably to avoid association with the earlier battle of Tours and Poitiers, in which Charles Martel defeated the Arabs).
The sea battle of Gangut 1714 by Russians, Rilax by Swedes and Riilahti by Finns. Gangut is a Russian twist of Hangöudd, Cape Hanko. Riilahti (Rilax in Swedish) is the bay between Cape Hanko and mainland, where the battle was waged.
Napoleon's first defeat in the field is called the battle of Aspern by the victorious Austrians and pretty much everybody else, while many French to this day persist on calling it the battle of Essling.
One of the early battles of the Wars of Liberation is called Lützen by the victorious French, but Großgörschen by the Prussians and Russians, probably to avoid confusion with the battle of Lützen in the Thirty Years' War in which king Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden was killed.
Napoleon Bonaparte's defeat on 18 June 1815, is called the battle of Waterloo after the town several miles from the battlefield where The Duke of Wellington had his HQ before and after the battle. (Actually, the first impulse had been to call it the battle of Mont Saint-Jean, after the ridge where Wellington's allied army made its stand.) However, the Prussians insisted on calling it the battle of La Belle Alliance after the farm where Blücher and Wellington met in the late stages of the battle.note Blücher liked the name's symbolism "beautiful union". Non-British writers have kept it alive to remind people that it was a victory for 2 armies (something English historians have been known to forget). Wellington's army itself was a hodgepodge of (mostly raw) British and (sometimes unreliable) allied Dutch, Belgians, and assorted non-Prussian Germans.
The sea battle of Jutland 1916 by the British and Skagerrack by the Germans. (The battle occurred at Skagerrack strait near Jutland, Denmark)
The Battle of the Bulge is called the Ardennes Offensive in German.
The Eastern Front of World War II is known as "The Great Patriotic War" in Russia.
Similarly, the Pacific Front of World War II is known as "The Asia-Pacific War" in Japan.
British sports fans refer to "ties" as "draws" and American fans use the opposite. And then there is "push".
Do not, however, call a "draw" a "tie", nor a "tie" a "draw" when talking to a cricket fan, as they really do mean different things in that game. To simplify things, both a "tie" and a "draw" in cricket are situations in which both teams neither win nor lose, but in a "tie" this is because the match was completed with both teams on the exact same score (a ludicrously rare occurrence)note Since the official start of Test cricket (top-level international match) records in 1877, there have been over 2,000 Tests... and two ties. Expanding the universe to "first-class cricket"—including all recognized multi-day matches, whether domestic or international—there have been 61 ties in over 300 years of records., while in a "draw" this is because the match could not be completed (by getting ten batsmen out in the last innings of the match) within the allotted time (an almost ludicrously common occurrence, even—and actually especially—when the allotted time is five whole days)note Slightly over a third of all Tests end in draws.
Similarly, "draw" and "stalemate" have different meanings in Chess despite being synonyms in everyday usage. A "draw" is any game which concludes with neither player winning. A "stalemate" is a draw caused when the player next to move has no legal move options, but their king is not in check — as opposed to all those other kinds of draws, such as the 50-move rule, threefold repetition, or mutual agreement.
Different sides of political issues usually have their own terminology that reflects and supports their underlying assumptions. This is known as "framing the debate."
A good case in point is waterboarding, which has shifted from "torture" (Khmer Rouge, Vietnam) to "enhanced interrogation technique" (War on Terror, Spanish-American War) several times in the past century and a half depending on whether the US government or its enemies were using it.
The use during the Spanish-American War was never denied as being torture, and in fact American soldiers were court-martialed for using it. The War on Terror "enhanced interrogation" program is quite possibly the first time in history that anybody has denied that it's torture.
Another good example is the British Labour Party insisting the 2010-2015 British government was not a "coalition", it's a "Conservative-led government" to focus attention on their old enemies rather than their sometime allies.
In current American politics, the health care legislation passed in 2010 (formally known as "the Affordable Care Act" or ACA) was christened "Obamacare", primarily by those who saw it as an albatross to hang around President Obama's neck—however "Obamacare" caught on to the extent that only a minority of Americans could even guess the real name now. During the re-election campaign, there has been a conscious effort by the Democratic party to use "Obamacare" when referring approvingly to the legislation, to try and counterweight the original negative connotation.
Don't call an Afrikaner "Dutch" or even "kind of like the Dutch". Even though they're normally the first to mention their Dutch heritage or explain themselves to foreigners, if a foreigner then comes to the conclusion that they're "basically Dutch people in Africa" it tends to get them very upset. The very fact that they call ourselves Afrikaners (Dutch and old Afrikaans for "African") comes from a time when they were trying to make it very clear that they didn't want to pay taxes to a bunch of Europeans. In the old days, they were "Boers", which means "farmers"—"Afrikaner" referred to black Africans.
Expect a polite correction if you refer to a Central European country from the former Soviet bloc as being in Eastern Europe in the presence of a resident of one of these countries, especially the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland or Hungary. Czechs will point out that Prague is west of Vienna and nobody calls Austria Eastern Europe, and Poles will point out that the geographical centre of Europe is arguably located in their country. Although most people would argue it's in Lithuania.
The guerrilla war fought in what is now Malaysia from 1948 to 1960 between Commonwealth armed forces and the Malayan National Liberation Army (a communist insurgency group that previously fought Japanese occupation forces in World War 2) was termed by the colonial government the Malayan Emergency - calling it a war would have meant the rubber plantations and tin mines would no longer have been insured from damage by Lloyd's insurers.
If a Canadian lives in BC or Alberta, Ontario is very much an Eastern province. If they live in Nova Scotia, then they might go "out West", while referring to anywhere from Ontario to BC, although most often Alberta.
If you're talking to or around a person from England, never refer to the most commonly known accent from that place as 'a British accent' unless you want to start a flame war. Its correct name is Received Pronunciation (RP) and is actually not an "accent" at all, but an arbitrary pronunciation chosen for clearness to be used in radio broadcasts. The "posh" dialect used by the Queen and other members of the upper crust is as distinct to RP as the broadest working class brogue (It sounds a bit like South African english)
In addition, do not refer to the overall land area of the United Kingdom of "England" or British people as "English". The UK consists of four constituent countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Especially not the Scots. They often don't like that.
In the Catholic Church, there are two Sundays (the third Sunday in Advent, also known as Gaudete Sunday, and the fourth Sunday in Lent) where the priests wear rose-colored Mass vestments. Many homilies on those days emphasize that the vestments are rose and NOT pink.
In general, many companies are sticklers on how their trademarks are used, justified by the fact that if they don't defend them, they stand to lose the trademark.
In places that have changed hands often or recently, the name by which you call a country or city has a chance of offending the listener. It might well be Istanbul, not Constantinople ... but I don't recommend using the former among a crowd of Greeks. Nor would it be a smart move to refer to "Gdansk" in the presence of anyone whose grandparents were forcibly expelled from what had been the German city of Danzig for the millennium preceding WWII.
In programming, there is a significant distinction between high-level-languages and assembly. There is no such thing as an assembler-compiler. A compiler is a programme that compiles high-level-languages, an assembler is a programme that assembles assembly-code. The programming language that the assembler assembles should be called [insert processor here]-assembly-language and not simply assembler, because assembler is the programme and not the language. The programming language that is often called assembler is in fact 8086-assembly-code.
The assembler turns the somewhat human-readable assembly code into machine code, which is a series of numbers expressed in binary (a series of ones and zeroes). Some numbers are instructions (operations), while others are, well, numbers, depending on where they appear in the sequence. A machine code file is basically one really long binary number, and is even called a binary. However, programmers will assert that "binary" is just a means of expressing numbers, not a language, while the language expressed entirely in binary that the computer can read is "machine code," not "binary."
In Spain, two of the national languages, Spanish and Basque, are named in European Spanish as Castellano and Euskera and it's considered a disrespect in Spain if someone uses the names Español and Vasco instead, especially if you're from Latin America.
In the theater world, there is a clear distinction between a soundboard operator and sound engineer. An operator simply operates, and often does little more than turn mics on and off at the beginning and end of the show, with a little bit of pre-show music. An engineer fiddles with the settings of every mic, sometimes mid-show, runs a complex set of music and sound effects, and will be very offended if you call them an operator.
In the UK, several supermarkets have recently started referring to their staff as "colleagues". (E.g. restricted areas will be labelled "colleagues only" rather than "staff only", staff announcements issued over the PA system will be described as "colleague announcements", and signs will tell customers that if they need help they should "ask a colleague", rather than "ask a member of staff"). The last example is particularly stupid, as a shoppers' colleagues are the people they themselves work with, not the staff in the supermarket they're shopping in.
This is presumably intended to mimic the large department store chain John Lewis Partnership (colloquially referred to as Lewis'), which refers to its staff as Partners. Unlike the supermarkets above, JLP is slightly more justified in this respect, as technically its staff are also the owners of the company, so to speak, and are entitled to a share of the profits.
In the UK, there is no legal protection for the term Engineer, so anyone can call themselves one. In an attempt to correct this problem, people with actual engineering degree will insist on calling the man that comes to fix your washing machine a 'technician' rather than an engineer.
It can also be applied to entire countries: Case in point, the Macedonia naming dispute. People from Greece feel the heritage from the ancient kingdom of Macedonia belongs to Greece, and object people from Macedonia (the country) naming themselves Macedonian, since that could be used later to support a claim of a part of Greek territory also named Macedonia. So they prefer calling Macedonia "Vardaska" or, as a compromise "The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", and its people "Macedonian slavs".
Because of this dispute, the country is known practically everywhere as "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia". Note the lower case F in "former": it shows that this is not the official name of the country, merely a provisional designation which refers to the country. Since it can't be sorted alphabetically under F without upsetting people in the the country of Macedonia, nor under M without upsetting people in Greece, it's sorted in the United Nations under T, for the "The".
This is now set to change, as FYROM and Greece reached a deal in 2018 on a new name for the Slavic republic, which will now be North Macedonia.
Many holders of PhD degrees, as well as MD, DDS, and similar medical degrees are emphatically insistent on being referred to as Dr. Your Name Here, not Mr./Ms./Mrs. Except British surgeons, who would rather you not call them Doctor Smith, but Mr./Ms. Smith in a bit of reverse snobbery (historically, physicians—the medical practitioners with doctorates—considered surgery a messy, nasty business beneath their dignity, leaving the practice of cutting people open to barbers instead; eventually, surgery became a highly respected subspecialty of medicine requiring an MD and then additional training, but surgeons kept the old practice of refusing to use the doctoral title).
Many people involved in debates over immigration policy in the United States will insist on referring to the subjects of the debates as "undocumented immigrants" or "undocumented workers" rather than "illegal immigrants" or "illegal aliens", since "undocumented" is a much more neutral term that helps keep discussions objective.
Many people who strive for the legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States are quick to remind people that they advocate "marriage equality", not "gay marriage". The key difference being that "gay marriage" implies that they only want special privileges for homosexuals, whereas "marriage equality" stresses the belief that marriage is a universal right that should be extended to all people.
And likewise, people opposing legalization of same-sex marriage are not "against gay marriage" but "in favor of traditional marriage", or, in some cases, "against redefinition of marriage". (Furthermore some may claim "marriage equality" is erroneous when talking about same-sex marriage- as marriage to them is by definition between man and woman, and there is no law barring gay persons from marrying someone of the opposite sex in principle, there is no inequality in not including same-sex pairings in the definition of marriage. This doesn't address transgender arguments, of course...)
Speaking of which, many (though not all) people who are on the "traditional marriage" side of the spectrum also vehemently reject the use of "gender" to refer to sexual identity.
Many self-proclaimed "geeks" don't like being mistaken for "nerds", which is a whole other thing, and vice versa. Same goes for "Otakus" that hate being called a nerd OR geek". Then there are the "Gamers" as well...
The firearms community and industry are full of examples, largely due to having fairly specific definitions within the field, with lots of legal and political interference. Several of these terms depend on which side of the gun control argument the speaker is on.
For reference, a magazine is a container of ammunition. On a gun, it's the part of the gun that stores the bullets that will be fired, which on some guns is removable so you can replace an empty one with a full one. A clip is multiple bullets held together by a piece of metal, designed for quickly refilling a magazine (handy if you need to reload your spent magazines while you are being shot at.)
Also the size of a magazine can be described differently depending on the speaker's view of magazine capacity, or jurisdiction. Thirty-round magazines, the typical size of an AR-15 or AK-style rifle, can be either "high-capacity" or "standard-capacity".
On a similar note, it's not a silencer, it's a suppressor. There's no such thing as a true "silencer"; you can't completely muffle the sound of a gun firing, only suppress it. This is a nearly equally effective methods of trolling firearms enthusiasts as the clip/magazine distinction.
Although the man who invented (Hiram Percy Maxim) it called it the Maxim Silencer, and the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) refers to the devices as silencers as well. The term "suppressor" was meant to be a less "scary" term than silencer, and to emphasize that a suppressed rifle is still about as loud as a jackhammer.
Also, funnily enough, in Shadowrun a "silencer" and a "suppressor" are different things (a "silencer" is for single-shot or semi-automatic firearms, while a "suppressor" is more expensive, less effective, and can be used on automatic firearms).
The term used for intermediate caliber, semi-automatic, magazine-fed firearms tends to change every few years. An "assault rifle" is defined as an intermediate caliber, selective firenote Can fire on semi-automatic, burst, and/or full automatic magazine-fed rifle. Civilian versions of the AR-15, AK-family, and other similar rifles do not have a widely agreed-upon term. "Assault Weapon" is a common term used by proponents of stricter gun control measures, often with "military-grade" or "-style" added on. Opponents of further measures tend to use different terms, but currently "Modern Sporting Rifle" seems to be the most popular.
A rifle is a contraption containing a metal tube, which itself contains a spiral-shaped groove or grooves ("rifling") on the inside meant to increase the efficiency of straight-line projectiles fired through the tube. A gun is a contraption containing a metal tube through which straight-line projectiles are fired (although you can use it by analogy to refer to other firing methods, such as a railgun). Calling a rifle a gun is likely to irk any pedants with formal firearms training. Calling a smooth-bore gun a rifle is just wrong.
Just to confuse non-pedants even more, there are rifled weapons which are never referred to as "rifles" — such as most handguns, or many artillery pieces which are, in the grandest tradition of not making things easy on viewers, merely called guns or howitzersnote Although most modern artillery would more correctly termed "gun-howitzers".
And it gets even more fun with translations- the Russian word typically translated as "rifle" could be more correctly translated as "shoulder-fired longarm", leading to shotguns, which are smoothbore, being termed as "rifles", entirely correctly from the translator's point of view.
Also fun is "recoilless rifle", which almost always refers to a smoothbore recoilless gun. "Actual" recoilless rifles with spiral-grooved barrels exist, but were overshadowed in popularity by the smoothbore ones such as the Soviet SPG-9. The name stuck anyway.
Also, some gun-owners will explain at length that their guns are not weapons, but "tools used for self-defense". Seriously:
NRA TV host Grant Stinchfield: To me, it is actually a very important distinction. By Georgia, a state rich in firearms history, using the term weapons in an official capacity, it hurts the perception of law-abiding gun ownership.
Similarly it's never a non-lethal weapon, it's a less-than-lethal weapon. Very much justified in this case, as there have been many avoidable deaths caused when someone used a weapon marketed as non-lethal. Most of these occurred when they used the weapon in a situation they didn't need to because they thought it was harmless.
Much like the distinctions between "graphic novel" and "comic" above, a serious writer produces "literary fiction", not "novels" (which refer to despicable genre or pulp fiction). This behavior dates back to the original, derisive use of the word novel—which meant "new thing"—at a time when interpersonal domestic fiction stories were things only written by women/for women. REAL (read: educated white male upper-class) authors wrote epic poetry or treatises.
Not uncommon in the retail industry, at least when referring to part-time employees, salespeople become sales associates, stylists, style consultant and so on. Generally, the more high end the retailer the more important-sounding your job title becomes.
On that note, Starbucks does not have small/medium/large drinks. It has Tall, Grande, and Venti. Cue eye-rolling across America, and generally grumpy responses if you attempt to order a Starbucks drink size at a different coffee shop.
Also happens with door-to-door retail. "I know your sign says No Sales, ma'am, but I'm not selling anything. I'm demonstrating this product."
People don't die of certain diseases, such as AIDS, multiple sclerosis, or diabetes, but instead they die of complications of those diseases. For medical examiners, proximate vs. ultimate cause of death is an important issue that has bearing on whether a death is natural, accidental, or intentional. For example, with a death from hypoglycemic coma, the proximate cause is asphyxiation due to respiratory failure while the ultimate cause is diabetes leading to a major drop in blood sugar. If the drop in blood sugar may have been intentionally induced, then the death is a potential homicide.
People who have no problem being a "minority" will object to being called "abnormal" or "unusual", because of the negative connotations of the latter. Let's leave it at that.
Several European powers met in Nyon, Switzerland in 1937 to discuss how best to address concerns of piracy in the Mediterranean Sea. They wanted to address piracy because outright saying "The Italian Navy is carrying out unrestricted submarine warfare" would be tantamount to declaring a war that nobody was prepared to fight yet. For context, the Spanish Civil War was in full swing and the Italians were backing the Nationalists, while harassing shipping of those nations who might support the Republicans. The discussions led to strict rules about the presence of any country's submarines in Mediterranean waters, and various short-lived agreements on international patrols to enforce the agreement.
Some Americans say things like, "The United States is not a democracy, it's a republic". However, it's actually both- a democracy is a system of government by the whole population through elective representatives, and a republic is a system of government where the citizens and elective representatives elect or nominate a president (a specific kind of democracy).
Some Anti-Vaccine advocates prefer terms like "vaccine critics" or "vaccine questioners" or "vaccine safety advocates".
Despite some claiming the term "anti-vaxxer" is too polarizing, most of them have no problem calling the pharmaceutical industry "Big Pharma", which brings to mind, of course, "Big Tobacco".
This has led to the response by some people referring to anti-vaxxers as Pro-Disease.
Students and alumni of some colleges and universities are very particular about what their school should be called.
Ohio State students and graduates will insistently refer to their school as THE Ohio State University. They will also correct anyone who leaves off the "the". However, if anyone else actually does use the "the", there's a fairly good chance that they're making fun of these people and their silly insistence.
Same with the Florida State University, except it's a term without common currency outside of marketing material and sportscasts.
Johns Hopkins University also gets alumni to be very insistent about the "s." In this case it's a little more justified, as the man the university is named after really was called "Johns Hopkins," with the "s," so saying the name of the university without that "s" is pronouncing the name wrong.
Some Cantabrigians insist on "University of Cambridge" instead of "Cambridge University".
Durham University, comparably, even went so far as to rebrand itself from the "University of Durham" in 2005- prompting at least one Facebook group to be founded in protest. The legal title is still "University of Durham", however.
The University of Maine seems like it, but the students don't care. Unless you add an "in Machias" or a "Farmington", then most will assume you are talking about the flagship campus in Orono. Which some people call the university: simply Orono, since the town is known by most everybody who doesn't live there as "the location of the University of Maine" or "that one town near Bangor".
A number of American universities, mostly on the Great Plains, are insistent about abbreviations that don't match the institution's actual name. For example, the largest university in Kansas is the University of Kansas. If you say "I went to UK" to someone from Kansas, they'll instantly assume that you went to the University of Kentucky. The Kansas school, despite its name, is locally abbreviated as "KU", and it uses this abbreviation throughout its marketing material, both in academics and sports. The same holds true for the University of Colorado Boulder ("CU"), University of Denver ("DU"), University of Nebraska–Lincoln ("NU"), and University of Oklahoma ("OU").
The athletic department at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee insists that its teams be referred to as "Milwaukee" in the media. This is somewhat justified in that the school's name is a relic from the days when it was a satellite campus of the more widely-known University of Wisconsin-Madison and would be difficult to outright change for legal reasons.
Another member of the same system, the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay, similarly insists on the use of "Green Bay" for its athletic program.
Ditto for the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, whose athletic department insists on "Charlotte" (or "UNC Charlotte"), and the University of Nebraska Omaha, which now calls its athletic program "Omaha". Also the athletic programs of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga ("Chattanooga"), the College of Charlestonnote in South Carolina; not to be confused with the University of Charleston, an NCAA Division II school in West Virginia ("Charleston"), and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock ("Little Rock").
Justified when there are other schools in the same system with similar naming. In the case of the seven schools with names beginning with "University of North Carolina" (6 "at such-and-such city" and 1 "School of the Arts"), if you leave off the identifier, everyone would assume you were talking about the UNC system's flagship campus: UNC Chapel Hill. As mentioned above, in the specific case of UNC Charlotte, they refer to themselves as "Charlotte" for athletic purposes.
There is only one "Mizzou": The University of Missouri–Columbia, which uses "University of Missouri" in almost all non-legal contexts. The University of Missouri–Kansas City, University of Missouri–St. Louis, Missouri University of Science & Technologynote formerly the University of Missouri–Rolla, and Missouri State Universitynote not part of the University of Missouri System are not Mizzou.
On the subject of universities - Americans use the term fairly interchangeably - calling it university, school, college, whatever. Canadians draw a sharp distinction between "college" (implying a technical or career college, which in the US would be called a "community college" or "junior college") and "university" (studying for a bachelor's or postgraduate degree), but will use "school" for both. Ask a British university student "how school's going," however, and they will promptly bite your face off. They do not go to school. School is for children.
There's also the differentiation between 'university' and 'college'. Uni is where you go to get a degree (Honours, Masters, PhDs etc); college is where you go to get vocational training or high school-level qualifications. As such, there is some snobbery, so some uni students will be offended by any reference to their place of education as a college. (The exception being Oxbridge, where the unis are divided into separate colleges, which are a bit like houses in schools; the word in this context has a completely different meaning to any other context.)
Unless you go to Dartmouth College, which is, technically, a university. But don't call it "Dartmouth University" when talking to an alum. Even grad students will say, for example, "Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College". This is justified because there was an attempt for the State of New Hampshire to take over Dartmouth and call it "Dartmouth University", which was famously struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Or if you go to Boston College, which is also technically a university... and not to be confused with Boston University, a totally separate institution located a few miles away.
In normal speech—i.e., when not referring to a specific institution—Americans universally use "college" as a catch-all teem for all postsecondary instruction, whether the institution they attend is formally called a "College", "University", "Institute". or some other term. This, however, only applies at the undergraduate level—after the bachelor's, Americans speak of going to "grad(uate) school", "med(ical) school", "law school", etc.
The University of California, Berkeley has long discouraged people from calling it UCB or The University of California at Berkeley, but several other terms are acceptable:
UC Berkeley, Berkeley and the whole name are acceptable for the university, but not for the athletic program.
Cal and California are the only approved terms for the athletic program. "Cal" is also used by the school's alumni association and development (fundraising) office.
"The University of York" is a university in York, England. "York University" is a university in Toronto, Canada. Most students don't care on a day-to-day basis, of course, and the separation of an ocean makes them difficult to mix up, but the respective universities are very careful to use the correct term.
Also whenever a university has a name change, it is very precise to correct everyone who still uses the old name. May border on hypocritical, if they haven't finished the conversion themselves, ending with them having signs or merchandise or bus/train stations referring to it as something like "Technological College X" while the administration will persist on everyone calling it "College of Technology X".
Yale College is a long-established higher education institution in Wrexham, Wales. it was founded by the same Elias Yale, a local man who later emigrated to the USA and founded another, rather more obscure, educational establishment in New England. Yale College was later amalgamated with several other colleges in Wrexham and Flintshire to become the North-East Wales Insitute of Technology. In the latter part of the 1990's, NEWI was allowed to recharter itself as a university. This is where the trouble started. The original name was Yale University, after its founder. But the lesser-known Yale University in the USA objected, despite their shared origins. Wrexham was forced to back down under superior legal firepower and had to style itself Prifysgol Owain Glndwr/Owen Glendower University. The original founding college was graciously allwoed to call itself Coleg Ial in Welsh, however.
They're not teen books but "Young Adult".
Except in England where they’re called "Teenage Fiction", although some stores do use the "Young Adult" moniker but it’s rarer.
Though there are no talking animals to use the trope in real life, animal experts and enthusiasts tend to bring up I Am Not Weasel when incorrect names are used. Legless lizards aren't snakes, apes are not monkeys, rabbits aren't rodents, and so on. If you call a venomous snake a poisonous snake, the herpetologists will start crying.
It is not a jellyfish, it is a jelly. It is not a starfish, it is a sea star. Oceanographers and marine biologists everywhere get their hackles raised if you call something a fish that isn't a fish.
To many pro-life/anti-abortion activists, an unborn human is a "baby" — not a "fetus".
That said, nobody really objects if the word "baby" is applied to a fetus outside of the abortion context - how many people have you heard say "the fetus just kicked"? In this case and many others, both sides tend to be guilty of getting into pointless semantic rows.
Along the same lines, "pro-life" and "pro-choice" are the correct terms to use — not "anti-abortion" or "pro-abortion". The rationale being that a pro-life activist is actually fighting for the sanctity of life in general (the abortion debate is just the most obvious manifestation), while a pro-choice activist is fighting for the freedom of the woman to freely decide whether she wants an abortion or not (referring them as pro-abortion makes them sound as if they want to mandate abortion for all circumstances).
If one really wants to set them off, refer to them as "anti-life"/"pro-death" and "anti-choice". This is true of nearly any political debate; the prefix "anti-" carries an air of negativity, and the suffix "-ist" suggests that this one behavior or belief is the person's only defining characteristic.
The very terms "pro-life" and "pro-choice" may be objected to by those in the opposite camps. A "pro-choice" person will often point out that most "pro-lifers" are nothing of the sort, as they are often (in the US at least) in favour of the death penalty and may be hawkish when it comes to war. Conversely, a "pro-lifer" will object it's not really a choice for the foetus, so being in favour of legalising abortion isn't really "pro-choice". The terms probably only stick for the sake of brevity- "in favour of/opposed to the legalisation of abortion" or similar might be more accurate, but is quite the mouthful.
When discussing the Irish language many Irish people will object to the use of the name "Gaelic" in place of "Irish". There are many reasons for this, the main one being that it is just seen as wrong as "Irish" is generally the only term used through the country, including official documentation and the Constitution of Ireland. For some supporters of the language it is seen as subversive. They believe the use of the term "Gaelic" divorces the language from Ireland and modern Irish identity, making it seem more old or foreign ("Gaelic" is more commonly applied to the Scottish Gaelic language). "Irish Gaelic" is considered more neutral but redundant like "English Anglic" for English.
Historically the case is mirrored. The Anglo-Saxon people of southern Scotland originally referred to Scottish Gaelic as 'Scottis' and their own language as 'Inglis'. Over time however they started to refer to their language as "Scots" and referred to Scottish Gaelic as "Erse" (Irish) in an attempt to make the language seem more foreign to Scotland.
Somewhat ironically while "Gaelic" (pronounced here as Gah-lik) is often more associated with Scotland, the Gaels themselves were originally from Ireland. Indeed the modern Gaelic languages (Irish, Scottish Gaelic and Manx) are descendants of Old Irish. The term "Scot" itself originally referred to Ireland/Gaels. It came to refer to modern Scotland because of the Irish/Gaelic settlers who migrated there.
Some wars are often not called as such, often being called military intervention or humanitarian intervention. Sometimes, this is for legal reasons where the executive cannot declare war without the support of the legislature.
Likewise, when you can't send military support for friendly governments in peril, send a peacekeeping force.
You can roughly judge someone's position on the Bituminous Sands of Western Canada based on what they call it. Proponents will generally call it the oil sands, while opponents will call them the tar sands. Oil apparently just sounds better to people.
NASA has never sent a copilot into space. Since Gemini (the first craft with more than a single person aboard) they have had Commander and Pilot. Despite the fact that the pilot was never intended to be at the controls.
And the Project Mercury astronauts were very unhappy that early design drawings had the single crewman labelled "occupant" instead of pilot.
Western fans are often quick to correct people who refer to Westerns as "cowboy movies" or "cowboy stories", or use "cowboy" as an umbrella term for all Western protagonists. As such fans are quick to point out, the genre encompasses an entire geographic region and historical period, while the term "cowboy" specifically refers to someone who works on a cattle drive. Comparatively few Westerns are actually about cowboys, since there isn't a lot of compelling drama to be found in herding cattle.
People who have lost their jobs for reasons aside from "they did something wrong" often prefer not to say that they were "fired". Justified in the context of applying for a new job or for unemployment assistance, as they will treat someone who was involuntarily terminated for cause, i.e. they did something wrong, differently from someone who was involuntarily terminated without cause, i.e. their job itself was eliminated. There's also Insistent Terminology on the business's end; it's not firing people, it's downsizing or restructuring.
Some Americans are quite insistent on referring to The American Revolution as "The American War of Independence" or some variation thereof, even preferring that to the relatively common phrasing "The Revolutionary War". Debates over the distinction between "revolution" and "war of independence" can get quite heated, with some people being very insistent that the conflict was not a revolution, in the traditional sense of the word, with others being equally insistent that it was. note The difference being that a revolution is fought over ideals, and leads to a dramatic shift in a society's status quo; a war of independence is merely fought over a desire for greater political autonomy, and leaves life largely the same for the common people. The American one has elements of both.
When talking about Submarines, be careful who you talk to when referring to any submarine by the name "Akula"note Russian for "Shark" . If you're talking to someone in the West, they'll immediately think of the Fast Attack Submarine classnote Called "Pike" in Russia, but if you're talking to someone in Russia, they'll think of the Ballistic Missile Submarine classnote Called "Typhoon" in the west. This is because of the Cold War convention of "NATO reporting names". Military and intelligence in NATO countries used their own Insistent Terminology to classify Soviet hardware, sometimes because the Soviets' own name was not reliably known. Usually, the names were drawn from the phonetic alphabet (e.g., "Romeo" and "Foxtrot") or were similarly generic, to avoid this very problem. Some submarine classes, however, were given NATO names matching the true name of the first vessel (which in the case of the Pike class was Akula), even though the true name of the class was different.
Philadelphia does not have a downtown. Downtown is for New York. Philadelphia has "Center City". So do Allentown, Pennsylvania and Wilmington, Delaware, and apparently also Toledo, Ohio, but it's not as serious there as in Philly.
One early lesson taught in the Boy Scouts when learning Orienteering is that you are never lost, you simply don't know where you are or how to get to where you want to be. "Lost" is a state of mind that can lead to despair.
Daniel Boone: I have never been lost, but I will admit to being confused for several weeks.
In Thailand, the Baskin-Robbins ice cream chain is always called "31". (The English word and the Thai word for the number are used interchangeably.) Calling it "Baskin-Robbins" or "Baskin and Robbins" there only confuses people.
Some readers, writers, and scholars dislike the term "Horror", considering it inaccurate or too unseemly, preferring the moniker H.P. Lovecraft used for much of his work - "Weird" fiction.
In pinball, shaking the machine to influence the ball is referred to as "nudging," not "tilting." Tilting is a type of nudging that lands the player a tilt penalty, simply called a "tilt" on nearly all machines note A tilt penalty ends the ball without an end-of-ball bonus on more recent machines; a tilt penalty outright ends the game on older machines. Hence, a player will never intentionally try to tilt the ball or the machine unless he or she wants to get that penalty, but that player might nudge until he or she feels a tilt is imminent.
When you lose a ball, it goes down the "drain." It is NOT a "hole" note as those can refer to scoops or gobble holes, which have different mechanisms and thus function differently, and it is NOT a "gutter" note that is a bowling term.
Due to a storm of trademarks from different manufacturers, bumpers go by different names but is consistent within machines made by each manufacturer. Midway Games calls them "jet bumpers," Data East calls them "pop bumpers," and Gottlieb calls them "thumper bumpers." As Data East's pinball division would be given to Sega and then became Stern, which is now the leading pinball manufacturer, "pop bumper" has become the standard name. However, the entire industry agrees that the triangular bumpers located right above the flippers are "slingshots." As for why they are not simply called "bumpers," it's to differentiate them from the "passive bumper" or the "mushroom bumper," which do not have a mechanism to forcibly propel the ball away once hit.
As Jon Ronson was once informed, a bot that tweeted word salad under his name wasn't an identity-stealing spambot, it was an infomorph that was repurposing social media data.
The musical theatre fandom has this aplenty.
If it's an album of cast members from a certain show singing the songs used in said show, it's a cast recording, not a soundtrack.
While we're at it, theater is the venue, and theatre is the form of art. That is, theatre is performed in a theater.
Musicals and operas are not interchangeable.
If you ask any serious paintball enthusiast—and especially any proprietor of a paintball venue—the name of the thing that shoots the paintballs, it is never a paintball "gun". It is a paintball "marker". This is because of the fine line the sport rides, trying to dissociate itself from notions of "gun violence", and yet wanting to attract players who are looking for something like a war game.
Sovereign citizens, people who believe that government laws don't apply to them, have been captured on hours of YouTube footage claiming that they're not "driving", but "traveling" when pulled over for not having proper license plates or found to not have driver's licenses. "Driving", according to them, only refers to commercial motor vehicle use and so their vehicle operation is protected by the freedom to travel.
It's not soup; it's consommé!. (Consommé is a kind of soup or broth, specifically, a stock that has been clarified—traditionally by using an egg white raft—so that it is crystal clear but still richly flavored.)
Many devout followers of various faiths dislike the term mythology when used to describe the events in holy documents such as The Bible, even in regard to the more magical or miraculous occurrences described. Many believers in Abrahamic faiths (and their derivatives) consider all of the events in their scripture to be historical, not mythical.
There are those who will claim not to be "religious", but "spiritual" instead.
Being "non-religious", is not the same thing as being an "atheist".
On a related note, many agnostics will insist on the distinction between themselves and atheists.
African Americans should be called just that. Not Negroes or Afro-Americans, both of which are sorely dated. "Black" is acceptable but only as an adjective, not a singular noun.
By contrast, the most common umbrella term for black people in Canada is "Black Canadian". While a large majority of the black population in both countries descends from enslaved Africans, the origins of the U.S. and Canadian communities are nonetheless radically different. The bulk of the African-American population is descended from Africans who were brought to the U.S. as slaves, but the black population in Canada results almost exclusively from voluntary migration to Canada. Most Black Canadians are immigrants from the Caribbean or their descendants; a large minority is made up of more recent immigrants from Africa and their descendants; and a small number (mostly concentrated in Nova Scotia and southwest Ontario) trace their Canadian origins from U.S. immigrants.note The U.S. diaspora was mainly in two waves. The first arrived in British Canada in the decades after the American Revolution, consisting of free "Black Loyalists" and some fugitive slaves. The second was escaped slaves who made their way north via the Underground Railroad in the years before the Civil War. "African Canadian" is strongly objected to by those in the Caribbean-descended community; "Afro-Caribbean Canadian" is used in the names of some events and organizations, but isn't as easy on the tongue as "Black Canadian".
In the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), An "agent" is not a trained, card-carrying employee of the CIA. That would be an "officer". "Agents" are civilians or other outsiders "recruited" by "Officers" to act as spies, moles, provocateurs, or informants. These "agents" may just as often, not necessarily even be aware that they are being used in espionage. An "agent" is a disposable pawn as they are not usually given compromising information (meaning that they rarely have to be killed for knowing too much). An "officer" generally stays out of the danger zones; Often he is based at an embassy.
Due to various laws, the American media must always refer to the accused as an "alleged" criminal, even if there is irrefutable evidence to the contrary, such as committing a crime in front of a packed stadium or on live television. If they themselves admit that they committed the crime, then they are called a "confessed" criminal. Only after they have been convicted can the media actually call them a criminal, but even then there is a tendency to call them "convicted" criminals.
Among audiophiles, the device that plays vinyl records is a turntable, not a record player. Record players are cheap, nasty machines that will wear down the grooves of your records. A turntable is a high-end component of an audio system. The term "vinyl" in this context is also an example of this trope: the term simply refers to the material the record is made of, yet most analog enthusiasts insist on using it to describe the medium as a whole (despite the fact that records aren't always made from vinyl, with early ones being made from shellac resin and promotional records being made from acetate or lacquer, to say nothing of oddities like edible chocolate records or novelty cardboard records on the backs of 1960's and 1970's cereal boxes).
Despite Asperger's Syndrome having been folded into a blanket description of "High-Functioning Autism", many people who were diagnosed before the change and their loved ones continue to insist that Asperger's should remain its own diagnosis and continue to identify it as such. Part of this may have to do with the ongoing negative stigma surrounding autism online, with the name of the condition frequently being used as a pejorative (a-la "retarded").