"I do not play villains... I play very interesting people."
The use of the word "American" to mean people from outside of the United States can be a complicated prospect. Some Canadians and Mexicans don't like it, while others think that they're just as much "American" as any other person from the American continents. South American Spanish speakers actually have a distinct word for people just from the United States: "estadounidense," which is sort of like "United Statesian."
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".
Inuit people don't like to be called Eskimo, but non-Inuit northern tribes (such as the Yupik 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 Inuti. The same holds true in Greenland. This is not the case in Alaska.
The Inupiat 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 "Inupiat".
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 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. (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.
An inversion occurs in real life with the Super Bowl. "Super Bowl" is a trademarked phrase and can't be used in advertising without a nod from the NFL, hence the alternate term "The Big Game."
Try using the term "football" to describe American Football in any country where it is not the dominant variety of football (i.e. most of the not-USA world). Especially in places where Association Football (soccer) is popular. You will likely be reminded that soccer is "real" football and American Football is a joke (they use their hands more than their feet, so how is it football?) and find that people insist on calling it American Football (or "handegg"). Whereas Americans insist on calling Association Football "soccer" and American Football "football".
Many pro 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, LA Lakers, and so on. Do not refer to those teams' colors as "yellow" around ardent fans; they will quickly correct you. The dictinction probably arose from heraldic conventions, where yellow is referred to as or (gold).
Billy Birmingham on his The Twelfth Man sports and commentary parody CD's 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".
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 served a purpose though—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 and prior events at that course state that all sandy areas were not to be treated as hazards.
You 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". At some point in the '90s somebody from the Royal & Ancient must have sent a memo out, because the event is now routinely called "The Open Championship" on both sides 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, dammit... Unless they go underwater, in which case submarines aren't "ships", dammit, 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.
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 "cartoon" 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. Even though, 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! The Entertainment Paper 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. Oftentimes there are people who aren't even aware one or the other exists: B.C/A.D for younger generations, B.C.E/C.E. for older ones.
The Big 12 Conference of US college sports is insistent on being referred to as the "Big 12", not the "Big Twelve" or "Big XII"—despite the conference logo consisting mainly of a large "XII".
Its 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.
Although, according to Richard Dawkins and Stephen J. Gould, most paleontologists don't like the name Apatosaurus either, and a common day dream 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), and other BRT systems in cities such as Mexico City and Curitiba, Brazil.
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".
People who work for the ChaCha search engine, known as "guides", are forbidden from not adhering to ChaCha's original spelling. chacha, Chacha, Cha Cha, etc. are NOT okay.
Chain motels. They like to call themselves "Lodges" or "Inns" to sound better. The trope is inverted by Motel 6.
China refers to Taiwan (or The Republic of China) as "the Taiwanese Authority," since they don't like anyone considering Taiwan an independent state.
Similarly, China officially refers to itself in English as the People's Republic of China, despite everyone in the English speaking world calling it China.
Although this is more a case of using the common name versus the full official name. Almost nobody in China will call China 中华人民共和国 (the People's Republic of China) on a regular basis either, preferring the shorter 中国 (China).
The Church of Happyology is a legitimate religion, not a cult. And if you dare to call them a cult, they will mark you a "suppressive person" and declare unofficial war on you by harassing you, digging up dirt on you and filing endless Frivolous Lawsuits against you to prove that they're not a cult.
"They're graphic novels, not comics!" as well as "Manga is so not the same things as comic books!"
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.
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 the main characters 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.
Actually until recently, Paramedics were officially EMT-Paramedic (as opposed to the lowest level EMT, who is an EMT-Basic). You'd probably still have been corrected if you called a Paramedic an EMT, but now it's a moot point.
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."
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.
Formula One races; it's not "[proper adjective] Grand Prix", or "[name of country] Grand Prix", it's "Grand Prix of [name of country]".
Except for the United States Grand Prix,
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 can operate on only its electric motor, and can be recharged from the power grid.
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 Jahresendfigur (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 WW2, 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 piss off in this way) until Willy Brandt's Neue Ostpolitik (New Eastern Policy) of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
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.
Natives of the state of Indiana are not Indianans, they are Hoosiers. 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 luncheon meat" (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.
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.
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 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.
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 and the Tenth of Ramadan War, or simply the Ramadan War, (or sometimes just the October War) by the Arabs.
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.
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. 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. 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, while the Arabic names were mostly the ones that the locals had been using for centuries (between the Romans kicking out the Jews and the Romans getting kicked out by the Arabs) when the Arab armies showed up.
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 resort 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.
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." And don't you dare, under any circumstances, ever use the word "crazy."
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 most residents of the republic as well) refer to the city in the west of Northern Ireland as "Derry". Unionists (and most residents of the rest of the UK) refer to it as "Londonderry". The distinction is so well-known in Ireland that it's often a convenient shortcut of 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, Ulster also includes Donegal, which is part of the Republic of Ireland and extends farther north than Northern Ireland does.)
When marketing the Nintendo Entertainment System 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.
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."
"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.
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 to people to call fish "sea kittens", because eating a kitty is a horrible thing to do.
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.
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 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.")
Richard M. Stallman refers to "GNU/Linux", the free operating system preferred by Playful Hackers everywhere. 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.
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.
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.
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).
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 Kausar 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.
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.
White supremacists often insist on referring to themselves as racialists or racial separatists, as if that makes their ideas any more respectable. Similarly, they often insist that they advocate "European-American pride" rather than "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.
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).
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).
They will often defend themselves by saying that teenagers are old enough to have sex, seeming completely oblivious to why it's wrong.
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's defeat on 18 June, 1815, is called the battle of Waterloo after the town several miles from the battlefield where 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 hodge-podge 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 ther 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.
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 current government is 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 pronounciation chosen for clearness to be used in radio bradcasts. 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-copiler. 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 Espańol 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 the country of Macedonia getting upset, nor under M without pissing off Greece, it's sorted in the United Nations under T, for the "The".
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.
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...)
Many self-proclaimed "geeks" don't like being mistaken for "nerds", which is a whole other thing, and vice versa.
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.)
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.
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).
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 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.
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 lead 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".
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. (As an alum of FSU and resident of Tallahassee, only the school administration cares. Everyone else just calls it "FSU" or "Florida State".)
Johns Hopkins University suffers the same fate.
Some Cantabrigiens insist on "University of Cambridge" instead of "Cambridge University".
Durham University, comparibly, 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". The same holds true for the University of Colorado at 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. Still, you'd think that with all this insistence that they'd have changed the department's official domain name from "uwmpanthers.com" a long time ago.
Another member of the same system, the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay, similarly insists on the use of "Green Bay" for its athletic program. However, unlike their sister campus in Milwaukee, they've changed the department's official domain name to "greenbayphoenix.com".
Ditto for the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, whose athletic department insists on "Charlotte" (or "UNC Charlotte"), and the University of Nebraska at Omaha, which is rebranding its athletic program as "Omaha".
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 & Technology,note formerly the University of Missouri–Rolla and Missouri State Universitynote which isn't even part of the University of Missouri System are not Mizzou.
On the subject of universities - people from Canada (and possibly the US) use the term fairly interchangeably - calling it university, school, college, whatever. 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.
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 discourages people from calling it UCB or The University of California at Berkeley, but calling it Berkeley, Cal, California, UC Berkeley, or by its whole name is acceptable.
"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.
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. Oceanologists 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.
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".
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.
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.