You would think that a magazine named Garden & Gun would be perfect for that firearms enthusiasts with a nurturing side, but it's really about Southern fine dining and high culture.
Orange Marmalade is about a vampire, Ma-ri, dealing with humans at her school (mostly a boy with very tasty blood who has a huge crush on her) on the backdrop of vampires being allowed to live within society and lots of Fantastic Racism. No marmalade at all.
In an FAQ, when asked what orange marmalade was (in regards to the story), the author simply explained how one made orange marmalade.
The game known in the U.S. as "football" deals with an object that can only loosely be considered a ball. And typically, only one or two players per team ever kick the ball.
The same happens in parts of Australia where "football" generally refers to one of the rugby codes. Australian Rules Football might pass the ball by hand a lot but you do need to kick the ball to score.
Justified in that Rugby is technically a style of Football.
The Other Wiki says that the name "football" originally comes from the sports by that name being played on foot (as opposed to polo, played on horseback). That you manipulate the ball by kicking it in some of them is basically a coincidence.
It has been suggested that American football be rechristened "handegg".
The Big Ten Conference in collegiate athletics was rendered non-indicative when it added an eleventh member in 1990. The number eleven is hidden within the logo, but that, too, became nonindicative in 2012 when a twelfth was added. Chalk it up to the Grandfather Clause.
With the defection of Nebraska (and less relevantly, Colorado), the Big Ten now has twelve members, and the Big Twelve has ten.
And in 2013, the Big Ten goes up to fourteen members (with the addition of Rutgers University and the University of Maryland).
Similarly, the Atlantic 10 conference actually has thirteen full-time members.
The New York Knicks' Jason Kidd. He was born in 1973, making him 39 in late 2012.
Neither the New York Jets nor the New York Giants of the NFL play in New York City. They don't even play in New York state (unless they're playing the Buffalo Bills on the road): their stadium (they share one, which can be all kinds of awkward) is in New Jersey.
Not quite an artifact, as both teams still claim to represent New York City in their fanbases. Aside from the Patriots, Titans, Buccaneers, Panthers, and Cardinals, all other NFL teams are named after a specific city, even if the team plays in a suburb of said city. "Arlington Cowboys" doesn't have quite the same ring to it. As cities grow, other teams such as the 49ers are looking to move out of their host cities to a less-cramped suburb, but unlike the 5 teams listed above that adopted state/region names, keep their namesake city.
Australian Rules Football: When first formed, the Brisbane Bears played their home games at a ground 70 miles from Brisbane, and their mascot was a koala. They have since moved to Brisbane proper, and merged with Fitzroy to become the Lions.
Cincinatti Reds pitcher Homer Bailey has never hit a homer, nor does he give up a high amount of them. As his birth name is David Dewitt Bailey, his baseball name is thus triply non-indicative.
Charley Winner only had three winning seasons out of seven as an NFL head coach.
The National Hockey League has always had teams from both the U.S. and Canada, which makes it international rather than national. Strangely, the minor-league International Hockey League currently includes teams from the U.S. only.
It was founded in 1917 with four teams, all Canadian. The Boston Bruins were the first American team to join, in 1924. Today, the majority of teams are in American, and ironically many people assume that "National" refers to the US, and the inclusion of Canadian teams makes it a misnomer!
The same goes for the NBA, National Basketball Association, which currently hosts one team from outside the US (the Toronto Raptors) and used to host the Vancouver Grizzlies before they moved to Memphis, Tennessee.
Minor Junior Hockey. The Canadian Hockey League has American teams. Breaking this down:
The Ontario Hockey League has teams in Michigan and Pennslyvania.
The LHJMQ (Quebec Major Junior Hockey League) has teams in every Maritime province except Newfoundland and Labrador.
The East Coast Hockey League has teams in the Western U.S.* The National Hockey League has always had teams from both the U.S. and Canada, which makes it international rather than national. Strangely, the minor-league International Hockey League currently includes teams from the U.S. only.
The same goes for the NBA, National Basketball Association, which currently hosts one team from outside the US (the Toronto Raptors) and used to host the Vancouver Grizzlies before they moved to Memphis, Tennessee.
It was founded in 1917 with four teams, all Canadian. The Boston Bruins were the first American team to join, in 1924. Today, the majority of teams are in American, and ironically many people assume that "National" refers to the US, and the inclusion of Canadian teams makes it a misnomer!
Minor Junior Hockey. The Canadian Hockey League has American teams. Breaking this down:
The Ontario Hockey League has teams in Michigan and Pennslyvania.
The LHJMQ (Quebec Major Junior Hockey League) has teams in every Maritime province except Newfoundland and Labrador.
The East Coast Hockey League has teams in the Western U.S.
Baseball's World Series only involves teams from North America.
Also in baseball, prior to 1994, the Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds played in the National League's Western division. Both cities are farther east than Chicago and St. Louis, whose teams, the Cubs and Cardinals respectively, played in the National League East. Major League Baseball fixed this issue in 1994 when they realigned the divisions. Atlanta was placed in the Eastern division where it belonged, and the other three teams went into the newly created Central division.
Except for a few brief seasons in the early and middle 20th century, the Chicago White Sox have never worn white stockings.
During several seasons, and for decades-long stretches, the Boston Red Sox have eschewed red stockings.
For roughly half the 20th century, the Cincinnati Reds' dominant uniform color was navy blue.
The Cleveland Browns' dominant uniform color is orange. They were named after their former coach, Paul Brown.
Throughout their existence, the New York/San Francisco Giants have generally fielded men of ordinary height and weight.
This is not the case for the New York football Giants, but some of the players are of average size.
While we're talking about division alignments in sports... the NFL. Yes, we really have to go there. A quick summary:
From 1995 to 2001, the Arizona Cardinals and Dallas Cowboys (both in the southwestern US) were in the NFC East, while four of the five teams in the NFC West were east of Dallas. note The Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints had been in the West since 1970, the St. Louis Rams moved from Los Angeles in 1995 and stayed in the West, and the Carolina Panthers joined the West in 1995 as well. The only NFC West team that was actually in the western US at the time was the San Francisco 49ers.
For at least the 2011-2012 season, the Winnipeg Jets play in the NHL's Southeast division. Justified, as they were the Atlanta Thrashers the previous season. (and in a weird adequacy, the city is on the southeast part of Manitoba)
Further, many teams that play in the NHL's Western Conference would play in other league's Eastern Conferences (Specifically, the Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets). At the very least, they label the division they play in the "Central Division", though they're still east of the center of the US.
In baseball, a "foul pole" is a pole on either side of the outfield fence which separates a foul ball from a fair ball, even though a ball that hits the pole is fair.
This very wiki is neither about television nor tropes. At least, not what your literature professor would think of first when he heard the word. The German version is called 'Media Tropes'. The French version is still TV.
The Mexican Standoff trope wasn't coined in Mexico, but in Australia. Read the article for more information.
A police department's "narcotics division" is responsible for policing the use and distribution of all illegal drugs, even though the term "narcotic" specifically refers to a substance with relaxing or sleep-inducing properties (it has the same root word as "narcolepsy"). Several narcotics are legal drugs that can be bought in a pharmacy (like sleeping pills), but there are plenty of illegal drugs that are not narcotics (like cocaine and crystal meth).
The English Horn, Cor Anglais if you like, is neither English (most likely originated from Poland), nor is it a horn (it's in the oboe family, i.e. a woodwind instrument, instead of a brass instrument). Apparently, the name came from the fact that it resembled the horns of the angels in religious images of the middle ages, and therefore was called engellisches Horn (angelic horn). However, engellisch also meant English back then (vernacular), hence the name stuck.
"Gothic" art is actually not based on art of the East Germanic tribe. It was originally used to distinguish newer forms of art from "classical" art. It was meant to be derogatory in the same way as calling something "barbaric." Popular literature that involved dark, violent, and sexual themes was dubbed "gothic literature," and provided the basis for the "Goth" subculture.
Gothic to mean something dark, violent and sexual was used as a marketing ploy for "Gothic Novels" usually set in such buildings.
Harvard University's Statue of Three Lies has an inscription that reads "John Harvard, Founder, 1638". First, it's not a statue of John Harvard (they picked a random student to model as by the time they got around to commissioning the statue, no one know what John Harvard looks like any more), who wasn't the founder of Harvard anyway (he donated his entire personal library, and they named the school after him). And Harvard wasn't founded in 1638.
So all in all, Statue of Three Lies seems to be a pretty indicative name...
However, John Harvard is a Non-Indicative Name for the founder of Harvard, and "founder of Harvard" and the statue are both inaccurate descriptions of John Harvard, so those are both non-indicative.
Likewise, Yale's statue of Nathan Hale is not a statue of Nathan Hale at all but rather a statue of a member of the Class of 1914 whose pose was decided to be the most handsome. This did not stop the CIA from wanting to acquire that statue, though Yale was so proud of the statue that they only let the CIA make a cast of it.
Trickily, the 1638 doesn't actually refer to the founding of the University, but to the years John Harvard died. On top of this, it wasn't officially named Harvard University until 1780, 144 years after it was founded and 142 years after John Harvard's death.
"The "black boxes" that record measurements in airplanes are actually orange. If you called them orange boxes people would mistake them for fruit containers.
That, or they'd mistake them for collections of Half-Life spinoffs.
They might look black after being in burning wreckage for a while.
They're called Black Boxes because they were initially black ... until it was realised that it's hard to find a small black object in a smouldering heap of debris or under water.
Boxing rings are square.
Pro-Wrestling lampshades this by referring to their ring as "The Squared Circle"
Boxing gloves don't have individual fingers, so they're more like boxing mittens, aren't they? Don't say that to a boxer's face, though.
The letter W (doubleyou) is actually a double V. Usually.note It depends on what font you're using and whether it's upper- or lowercase. Sometimes it actually is a double U. In Classical Latin, U and V were the same letter, sometimes pronounced like a U and sometimes like a W (but never like a V, or a voiced F), and some languages (e.g., French, Danish, Swedish, Spanish) refer to the letter W as Double V. The reason English is different is that for some time v and u were pronounced differently depending on where in the word they were. If the word began with 'v' it was pronounced as we pronounce 'v'; if the word had a 'v' or a 'u' in it elsewhere it would always be 'u'. 'Have' would be written as 'haue', but 'value' would be 'value'.
The gas pedal in your car controls the flow of air, not gasoline. If you drive a diesel, it controls fuel pressure, but then the fuel's not gasoline. And for that matter, this so-called "gas" is a liquid. In modern electric cars, it controls the flow of electrons. Except in Britain, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland and Canada where it's called an accelerator, which is perhaps more accurate.
Although, if the gas pedal did indeed control the flow of fuel, it might be correct too, as what burns is a gas; liquid gasoline will not burn. It has to evaporate and mix with oxygen to burn.
The technical name for that pedal has always been the accelerator (or throttle) - even in the U.S. "Gas Pedal" is simply a long standing slang term for it. Even still, since the amount of fuel that reaches the engine is directly proportional to the amount of air - it's not really that far off.
And in any case, only North Americans really call it "gas", the rest of the English-speaking world calls it "petrol".
If the "Gas pedal" controls the flow of air, and air is a gaseous state of matter, then hasn't it gone all the way around back to being an accurate name?
Pencil lead is actually graphite. The first "writing rods" were made from lead by Romans, but when graphite pencils were invented later, the name stuck.
Banana Oil: It's not made from bananas, and it's not oil.
Despite being commonly known as a tidal wave, a tsunami has nothing to do with tides. It took the news focusing on an actual tsunami (that killed over 100,000 people in 2004) for "tsunami" to supplant "tidal wave" in everyday vocabulary.
But this leads to the referring to actual tidal waves as "tsunamis", which is also wrong.
Tsunami are not breakers or combers (as shown in movies) but just rapid increases in water level—like tides, but waaaay faster, hence the name. Remember, "tsunami" means "harbor wave" in Japanese.
The Panama hat is made in Ecuador.
The US five-cent piece, the nickel, is composed of three-quarters copper and only one-quarter nickel. In Canada it's even worse — it's 94.5% steel, 3.5% copper, with just a 2% nickel plating.
Also, the base metals which make up a US penny are worth more then one cent thanks to inflation and rising metal costs.
This has happened before, leading to formal restrictions: it's illegal to hoard US coins with the intent to melt them down into their component metals.
The name "nickel" is not particularly indicative of value; indeed, the original nickel was worth three cents, not five. "Dime" is slightly better, but only if you know its old French origins.
Space operas contain no singing at all. Neither do soap operas, and they aren't particularly clean, either (quite the opposite).
There was a time when this applied to everything on television, as most people still associated the medium with the old silent movies that were played to a musical score (the musical theme making it technically an opera). Soap operas were targeted at housewives, and so usually advertised for home cleaning products like soap.
And the fact that Procter & Gamble actually outright owned and produced a few of the shows such as As the World Turns until it ended.
Anybody studying (American) Civil War firearms would be surprised to learn that "minnie" balls: A: Were pretty darn big (usually .50 to .60 caliber) and B: Were conical-shaped (pointed cones). The first part of the name is a corruption of the name of its French inventor, Claude Minie (min-nay). The second, well it just rolled off the tongue—mini-cones doesn't have the same ring...
Relatedly, in English-speaking military parlance, plain solid ammo without hollow points, tracers, or incendiary loads is still called "ball", despite universally being either a cylinder with one rounded end (pistol ammo) or pointed (rifle ammo).
In fact, the word "bullet" comes from the French word boulette, meaning "little ball".
In the same way, Mini-guns are actually pretty big. They got that name for being rifle caliber (7.62mm), rotary guns as opposed to the standard Aircraft 20mm (Vulcan) cannon (cannon shells can explode, gun bullets don't... usualy).
A single action revolver requires two actions to fire.
The "single action" refers to the trigger, where it only releases the hammer. In a dual action revolver or pistol, the trigger can both cock the hammer and release it.
Compared to black powder, there's almost no smoke and shooting it repeatedly (as in, a company of soldiers, per side) doesn't blanket the battlefield in a haze. So, taking the name literally, it does smoke less than black powder.
Roller Coasters often have nonindicative names:
They are also sometimes called "Russian Mountains". Needless to say, in Russia itself, they are referred to as "American Mountains".
In Poland they are called "Mountain Rail" despite having nothing to do with the mountain, railway or cable cars that are sometimes called by that name.
Tanks get their name because, in World War One, the British factory workers assembling the first ones ever used thought (due to their rounded shapes) that they were working on water tanks.
On the other hand, the fact that other tanks generally carry a lot of stuff while military tanks carry a large amount of weapons and metal gives it some relation...
Some apparently had the word "Water Tank" written on their sides to let the enemy scouts believe that they were just armoured support-vehicles.
Another version has it that when someone who had accidentally been allowed to view them (at a distance) asked what they were, the reply was "water tanks for Mesopotamia".
A ten-gallon hat will hold less than one gallon of liquid.
Three quarts, to be precise. The word "gallon" comes from (what else?) the Spanish galon, a type of braid.
Somewhat common with military hardware, e.g. a Claymore mine is not a sword. Sometimes this is done intentionally: the term "tank" was coined by the British to mislead their enemies into thinking they were building water carriers, not armoured fighting vehicles.
It can generally assumed many names for them were based off the Rule Of Cool - the XM 8's name only indicates it's an American rifle (The 'M#' is a designation for many American service rifles), the X was probably just to sound futuristic-y.
"XM" is a designation given to experimental weapons that haven't been officially adopted yet. For example, a predecessor of the M4 carbine was the XM 177, which essentially became the CAR-15.
The X designation in general is used for any experimental project whether it's a gun or a fighter jet.
A flamethrower does not physically throw flame. It shoots it out of a hose.
The green room in show business is almost never actually green.
"Oxygen" is derived from a term meaning "acid-creating". This is completely backwards much of the time.
Platinum comes from the Latin word platina, meaning silver. They're two different elements. According to an essay by Isaac Asimov, this is because "platina" was Middle Spanish for "silver"; so when the Conquistadores found platinum in the Rio Pinto, they called it "platina del Pinto". Hence, in Modern Spanish, "platina" is platinum and "plata" is silver.
The "Bush differential analyzer" performs integration, and does so entirely by synthesis.
Floppy sizes are actually measured in metric - 3 1/2 inch, 5 1/4 inch, and 8 inch floppies are built to 90, 133 1/3 (yes, a third of a millimeter), and 200 mm specifications, respectively. Using the imperial measurements would put you within a few millimeters, but on equipment so precise, outside tolerance for all but the 5 1/4 inch.
Also, the size of the familiar 1.44 MB floppy is neither 1.44 binary megabytes nor 1.44 decimal megabytes. I.e. it is neither 1,509,949 bytes nor 1,440,000 bytes. The confusion stems from it being 1.44 thousand binary kilobytes, i.e. 1,474,560 bytes.
While 5 1/4 and 8 inch floppy disks are indeed floppy, 3 1/2 inch floppy disks have a more solid construction. They were occasionally called "stiffy" disks, but the name didn't catch on in most places.
The whole binary thing gives "kilobyte" and "megabyte," at least in older contexts, Non-Indicative Name status, since they contain, respectively, 2^10 and 2^20 bytes.
And, to further confuse things, most modern hard drive sizes are now listed in decimal gigabytes and terabytes, which makes the size 7% and 10% bigger respectively than the binary sizes.
Sadly for fans of unit confusion and class action suits against storage manufacturers, the confusion is being cleared up by the adoption of new units kibi, mebi, gibi and tebi, with abbreviations Ki, Mi, Gi, Ti, each of which represents an exact power of 2. Under this definition the floppy had exactly 1.44K Ki B.
Most "MOSFETs," or "metal-oxide-semiconductor field effect transistors," made in the last few decades have neither metal as their terminal, nor oxide as their insulator. The name comes from the early days, when the best way to get an insulating layer small enough was to oxidize a thin layer of the substrate, but more precise techniques have made this obsolete. Even the "metal," due to the complexities of IC manufacture, is usually a metalloid treated to act like a metal. Some call them "IGFETs," "insulated-gate field effect transistors," for this reason, but this hasn't really caught on.
The Yellow Cab Company in Washington, DC has its cars painted in a distinctive black and orange two-tone livery.
Pharmacology just about lives off of this trope. Rifampin, amantadine, cifedipine, digitalis - can you tell what any of those drugs do just by their name alone?
Cans are often called 'tins' because they ''used' to be made of tin, now it's usually non-indicative (and, if the tin is labeled as such, an aversion of Exactly What It Says on the Tin.)
In an article on Use It, Jakob Nielsen calls the Windows 8 operating system's name "a misnomer. 'Windows' no longer supports multiple windows on the screen."
Real Life - Living Things
Guinea pig (read above).
The guinea pig bears a porcine name in many European languages (and Chinese) - the German name (from which several other languages derived their name) is Meerschweinchen ("sea piglet"), the French sometimes calls it Cochon d'Inde ("Indian pig"), a Chinese name is hélánzhū ("Holland pigs")... apparently, guinea pigs came from everywhere but South America.
And even in South America, "Indian Pig" appears in both Spanish and Portuguese. (the name comes from both them being raised as foodstock like pigs, and coming from the Western Indies)
By the same token—although few realize it—turkey (the bird) was originally named after Turkey (the country). The bird is originally from North America (where wild populations are still quite common), but when the English got a hold of it, they called it the "Turkey fowl" (later shortened to "Turkey") because it was deemed as exotic as the Ottoman Empire.
Again, this pattern exists elsewhere. In French, it was originally called Poulet d'Inde ("Indian chicken"), which eventually morphed into modern "Dinde", which caught on in a few places (e.g. Poland and Turkey). The Greeks, oddly, call it gallopoúla, meaning "French chicken".
Arabic presents a rather interesting one, as it's called Dajaj Rumi: "Byzantine Chicken"—except not. Rum (also spelled Roum) is an old Arabic term for the part of the Byzantine Empire lying in Anatolia, so it refers to Greeks calling themselves Roman and living in what is now Turkey. About a bird from the Americas.
Unless you're in Morocco, where, thanks to French influence, it's dinde again (except that they pronounce it "dindi").
The Chinese avoid misidentifying the country, but come up with a pretty weird one: huǒjī, meaning "fire chicken". Although they claim to be referring to the bird's coloration, how you interpret a large, mostly brown-and-black bird as a "fire chicken" is anybody's guess.
The Vietnamese call the turkey "Western chicken".
In Portuguese, it's Peru - because the colonizers thought the bird came from the eponymous country (neighbor to its then-colony, Brazil).
In Turkey itself, it is called Hindi, "the Indian," or "the American bird."
Blueberries and cranberries are not "true" berries, but "epigynous" or "false" berries, as are bananas and watermelons. Strawberry, blackberry, boysenberry, mulberry and raspberry are not (botanically) even "false" berries. True berries include, as well as gooseberries and elderberries, tomatoes, grapes, eggplant, and pomegranates. This one came up in QI, and people will probably agree with Alan Davies that it's the scientists who are wrong, and the rest of them are right.
The eggplant itself is not really a plant of "eggs".
The first varieties of eggplants introduced in the United States were of a bright white variety shaped like an enormous lightbulb, thus suggestive of an egg. However, when the purple varieties were introduced, those became so popular that the white eggplants fell into obscurity, becoming only a farmer's market and seed catalog novelty.
Note that eggplants are called "aubergines" in much of the English-speaking world, and the most popular varietals are that colour - though not all of them are.
Antlion, mantisfly, dragonfly and mantis shrimp: There's no ant, lion, mantis, fly, dragon or shrimp in any of these.
There most certainly is ant in an antlion...if it has recently fed.
There is also certainly lion in antlion if it has recently been fed. Of course, we're talking bigantlions.
Rule of thumb for insects with common names of the form " fly": If the name is written as two words, like "house fly", it's a fly (i.e. a member of the order Diptera). If it's written as one word, like "butterfly", it's not a fly.
Hippopotamus means "river horse" but it's more closely related to swine and the other Artiodactyla—its closest living relatives are the whales. The term coming from ancient Greek makes this Older Than Feudalism.
Quoth P.J. O'Rourke: "Hippopotamus does not mean river horse but rather 'river first husband'."
These are -fish which are all invertebrate and thus not possibly fish.
Crayfish: A crustacean.
Starfish: An echinoderm.
Silverfish: A dark gray creepy looking primitive insect.
Cuttlefish: A cephalopod.
The name comes from their "cuttle" bone. That said, you can find plushies of cuttlefish.
Jellyfish: A member of the phylum Cnidaria. Not made of jelly either. It is squishy like jelly though... but don't touch it.
Shellfish: generic term for mollusks with a shell.
More recent terminology has most of these things renamed from "(X)fish" to "Sea (X)", so Starfish becomes Seastar, Jellyfish becomes Sea Jelly, etc. However, the "(X)fish" comes from the fact that the word 'fish' comes from a noun meaning "an animal that lives in water" and all these names were actually quite indicative because they do live in water. Except for silverfish, but that's another kettle of fish entirely.
Funnily enough, sea horses and sea dragons are fish—albeit extremely weird-looking ones.
Velvet worms aren't worms, and also aren't made of velvet (they are covered in a velvety coat of hair, though).
Ringworm is not only not a worm but not an animal. It's actually a fungus. Skin infections caused by it, however, do have a vaguely ring-shaped area of swollen skin on the edge of the infected skin.
Another notorious misnomer from Columbus is naming the capsicum (chili, bellpepper) genus "pepper", having nothing to do with the piper family (black and white pepper).
The Spanish word for many species belonging to the Capsicum genus (among many others from "chile" to "ají" or "guindilla" for the different species of plants and varieties of the language) is "pimiento", and "pimienta" for the ones in the Piper genus. It's a pity words have no grammatical gender in English.
Supposedly it's the result of another attempted mistake cover-up by Columbus, since nearly the whole point of his expedition was to bring back piper peppers.
Sweet potatoes are only distantly related to the common potato, and have even less genetic relation to yams, despite the terms being synonymous in the US.
The titmouse is a bird.
Tits are birds, not mammals, thus don't have tits.
Same with boobies.
They're still not mice.
The Java Sparrow is not actually a sparrow, but an estrildid finch (family Estrildidae), while true Old World sparrows are in the family Passeridae and true New World sparrows are placed in the family Emberizidae with juncos, towhees, and Old World buntings, with New World buntings being in the cardinal family (Cardinalidae).
The Bald Eagle is not at all bald, barring a disease or parasites causing it to lose feathers. The name actually comes from an older homograph that meant "white-headed."
The American Kestrel and the Merlin, both falcons (family Falconidae, both in the genus Falco), were originally called Sparrow Hawks and Pigeon Hawks by older sources. The change in name was because they are not hawks (family Accipteridae), either by the Old World definition (genus Accpiter) or the New World definition (genus Buteo).
The Mourning Collared Dove (Streptopelia decipiens) is not too closely related to the American bird called the Mourning Dove (even though it used to be called the African Mourning Dove), which has the scientific name of Zenaida macroura and is more closely related to the White-winged Dove (Zenaida asiatica) and the species of the Zenaida genus simply called the Zenaida Dove (Zenaida aurita). However, at least they are both in the dove and pigeon family (Columbidae). On the other hand, the Rock Pigeon's old name of Rock Dove was not inaccurate — doves and pigeons are synonyms, but larger species tend to be called pigeons, including the Rock Pigeon (hence the name change).
The Congo worm is an aquatic salamander with tiny, ineffectual legs from rivers and marshes of the Southeastern United States.
The slow worm is a European legless lizard. It's not particularly slow, either.
Horseshoe crab: It's not quite a crab but more closely related to arachnids, and only horseshoe-shaped if you stretch the definition a good bit.
Hermit crabs are also not true crabs, nor are coconut crabs, the latter of which which are actually biologically more like giant hermit crabs that, as adults, literally outgrow the need for abandoned shells.
Spanish moss is neither Spanish nor a moss, but a bromeliad related to pineapples.
Puffinus puffinus is the scientific name for the Manx shearwater bird.
White tigers have black and white fur.
Cyanobacteria used to be called "blue-green algae," but because their cells are bacteria-like in anatomy, they are obviously no longer called "algae."
Originally, archaebacteria were thought to be bacteria because they had bacteria-like cells. Genetically, though, they are more related to eukaryotes (i.e., people, mushrooms, trees and amoeba), than they are to true, or "eubacteria."
Slime molds are not a kind of mold. They're no longer even classified as fungus at all, but protists.
In the human body, the small intestine is much longer than the large intestine. The names come from their width, not their length.
Sea Cucumbers are animals, not squash.
Peanuts are in fact legumes, not nuts. Also, from The Other Wiki: "The word pea describes the edible seeds of many other legumes in the Fabaceae family, and in that sense, a peanut is a kind of pea."
This explains why for allergics, on some packs with peanuts there's still printed on "May contain nuts." In fact, they're required to list peanuts and nuts separately, but things with peanuts often get that label, because they packaged in a factory that also does nuts.
Cats Dont Dance has Woolie talk about how the peanut is neither pea nor nut, and briefly suggests the name "pea legume" before dropping the matter.
Another name for them is "goober peas", which is the closest to having it right.
A coconut is not a nut either, but if somebody has a allergy to nuts and nut oils, they will also be allergic to peanuts and coconuts. Even though we've just explained why this shouldn't work.
Pineapples are not the fruit of pines. Those are called pine cones, which used to be called pine apples and lent their name to the tropical fruit due to the superficial similarity. Neither pineapples nor pine apples aren't apples, either; "apple" used to refer to any type of fruit (ref. the equally non-indicative French name for potatoes, pomme de terre/dirt apple *
which, for that matter, aren't even fruit anyways...now hush
Pomegranates are also not apples, and neither are they grenades—although frankly, the "grenade" bit is because early grenades looked rather like pomegranates (the name comes from the Latin pomumnote Apple and granatumnote "Seeded").
They are superficially similar enough to both that the name is understandable.
The Polar Bear is not (as you might think) Ursus arctos (that's the Brown Bear, or grizzly), but Ursus maritimus. On a similar note- the Arctic as a region is named for the bears (the Ursa constellations), not the other way around.
"Ursus arctos" is effectively "bear bear", the first in Latin and the second in Greek. The Antarctic, on the other hand, is aptly named, since it comes from the Greek for "no bears".
Not quite, the intention was more like "Opposite of the Bears" (in the same sense as 'antipodal' means the opposite side of the planet). The Greeks were well aware that the Earth was round, and reasoned that since the climate was cold at the north end, it should also be cold at the south end since the same factors prevailed.
Rich Hall: I think it's evil to put a food in front of any bug. To name it, like, a "butterfly". 'Cause I would eat butterflies when I was a kid, because I thought they had butter in 'em. And honey bees. And a hamster. 'Cause, you know, you're four years old; you don't know better... and we were poor.
The Australian Shepherd dog breed is actually American. The Bombay cat breeds are a similar case, with one being American (again) and the other being British.
The Norway rat originated somewhere in China. A double example, as its Non-Indicative Name was bestowed by someone who mistook Danish ships, on which he thought these rodents had stowed away and spread throughout Europe, for Norwegian ones.
Grapefruit. Well... it's orange, sour, and the size of a cannonball. At least on the tree, they grow in bunches that resemble bunches of grapes.
Canada geese aren't Canadian (although they can be found there). Blame a Mr. John Canada.
Canada lynx, on the other hand, are (even though they turn up in the United States, too). Go figure.
The White Rhinoceros is actually gray. The White in this species' name is from the Dutch word wijd, which means wide. It refers to the White Rhinoceros's wide lip compared to the Black Rhinoceros's pointed lip. The original meaning was subsequently lost in translation.
Most anteaters eat nothing but termites.
In Finnish, the word for anteater is "muurahaiskarhu", which means "ant bear". The creature is obviously neither an ant nor a bear.
The hagfish, aka the "slime eel", is a jawless chordate, meaning it's less closely related to genuine eels than you are.
The Cane Toad is occasionally referred to as the Marine Toad and has the scientific name Bufo marinus, but when this species reaches adulthood it only goes into the water during the mating season.
The Danish language loves to give most marsupials names of completely non-related mammals that they may something be similar to and sometimes not are, coupled with "marsupial". Examples are "marsupial rat" (opossum), "marsupial mouse" (several small dasyurids like dibblers and kowaris), "marsupial marten" (quoll), "marsupial anteater" (numbat), "marsupial badger" (bilby/bandicoot), "marsupial fox" (brushtail possum), "marsupial squirrel" (most species of possums) and "marsupial flying squirrel" (sugar glider).
Similarly, in Chinese, the word for kangaroo, "dai shu," literally translates as "sack rat" or "bag rat," in reference to the (female's) pouch, and an alleged rodent-like face.
Poison ivy is not ivy, poison oak is not oak, and poison sumac is not sumac. All three are more closely related to one another (and to mangoes and cashews) than any are to what they are named after—except for sumac, which is so closely related to all three of them that botanists argue about whether they should be considered species of sumac or a separate genus of their own.
The dinosaurs Procompsognathus, Proceratosaurus and Protarchaeopteryx are not particularly close to Compsognathus, Ceratosaurus or Archaeopteryx, instead being relatives of Coelophysis, Tyrannosaurus rex and Oviraptor, respectively.
Crabeater seals eat krill.
The Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) is smaller than the African elephant (genus Loxodonta).
Half of any population of ladybugs or damselflies will be male.
The equivalent for "bat" in French is a phrase which could be literally translated by "bald mouse". Bats and mouse aren't related, except for being two mammals.
Likewise, the German for "bat" is "fliedermaus".
It's actually "Fledermaus". If it was "fliedermaus" it would be a mouse living in (or being made of) lilac. (Which doesn't make "Fledermaus" an indicative name at all...)
"Bombay duck" inhabit the waters near Bombay. So what's the problem? They live in the sea, not on it, because they are a kind of fish.
Ultrasaurus, while still large compared to modern land animals, was actually rather small for a sauropod dinosaur.
For that matter, sauropods ("lizard-feet") don't have lizard-like feet at all. Neither are the feet of ornithopods ("bird-feet") particularly bird-like — actually, the most defining feature of ornithopod dinosaurs wasn't their feet, but their beaks.
Scientific names of fossil organisms can become non-indicative artifact titles if Science Marches On. A famous example is Basilosaurus ("king lizard"), which turned out not to be lizard at all but a whale.
"Lake trout", a deep-fried dish commonly sold by street vendors in Baltimore, isn't trout, and it isn't fished from lakes. It's actually whiting, a cheap bottom-feeding fish that's trawled just off of Maryland's coast. For discussions on this, watch a few episodes of The Wire.
And what is traditionally sold in British fish'n'chip shops as "rock salmon" (or just "rock") is a whitefish unrelated to salmon. Probably why it's now often called "huss".
Most of what's sold in American grocery stores as cinnamon sticks are actually the bark of the Cassia tree. They're closely related and taste similar, but not identical.
Most of the mozzarella cheese on the market is actually imitation mozzarella, as true mozzarella must be made from water-buffalo milk. Cow milk is much cheaper.
Most of what is packaged as "wasabi" in American and European shops is usually not true wasabi due to cultivation difficulties. It's actually mostly horse radish. On that note, wasabi is often called "Japanese horse radish" even though it's not a species of horse radish.
In Germany and Austria, there is a food called Leberkäse, which literally means "liver-cheese". It normally has neither liver nor cheese in it, unless you order a special type of it that way ("Leberkäse mit Käse" or "liver-cheese with cheese"), and is commonly translated into English as "meatloaf".
Chinese fortune cookies were invented in the United States.
Scotch eggs, Scotch pies, and Scotch broth are not made with real Scotchnote Although one supposes Scotch could theoretically be added to the broth, only a Lethal Chef with no respect for fine spirits would do that. (One is a hard-boiled egg encased in sausagemeat and breadcrumbs, the second is a mutton pie made with a particular kind of pastry, and the third is lamb/mutton broth with vegetables.) These three (along with the whisky) are among the few cases in which the correct adjective is "Scotch" rather than "Scottish".
Scotch eggs, contrary to the name, are not Scottish but an English snack, most probably inspired by an Indian dish.
On a related note, butterscotch has nothing to do with Scotland (it most likely got its name from the fact that before it fully cools, the candy is "scotched" or scored to make it easier to break up). The misnomer is even worse in Canadian French, where it's known as caramel écossais or Scottish caramel.
Mince Pies (the English kind) are pastries made with a filling of mincemeat. Originally the mincemeat was made up of meat, various fruits and preserves. Nowadays though, most mince pies don't contain any meat (unless you make your own at home) but the filling is still referred to as mincemeat.
AriZona Iced Tea is based in New York.
Chinese Hoisin (meaning 'Seafood') Sauce doesn't actually contain any seafood. Also, judging from The Other Wiki's description, it doesn't seem to be used on seafood, either.
Salad cream isn't intended specifically for salads (it's essentially a non-thixotropic version of mayonnaise, hence intended for the same broad range of uses) and (unlike mayonnaise) isn't particularly creamy.
Many steakhouses in Colorado serve "Rocky Mountain Oysters" — which are, in fact, bull testicles.
Red Leicester is orange.
Red Rock Cider was once the subject of an advertising campaign pointing out that 'It's not red, and there's no rocks in it'.
The "cacahuate japonés" (literally, Japanese peanut) snack was not invented in Japan, but in Mexico. The creator was a Japanese immigrant, though.
The sauces of Classic French cuisine is full of these things: Sauce Allemande ("German sauce") isn't German. Sauce Espagnole ("Spanish sauce") isn't Spanish.note The sauce contains tomatoes; supposedly, it was invented for some Spanish dignitaries, who had brought tomatoes—a crop from their New World colonies—to France. Sauce Africaine ("African sauce") isn't African.note It's Sauce Espagnole with Africanesque spices. "Créme anglaise" isn't English, or a cream!note It's a sort of custard, and given that the English do like custard and make it well, that's fair.
Russian dressing, Italian dressing, and French dressing were all invented in the US.
Head cheese does not contain any dairy. It does, however, contain meat and gelatin from a pig's head.
Grape Nuts have nothing to do with grapes. Or nuts. They contain dextrose, sometimes called "grape sugar," although dextrose is more commonly known as glucose, which means "grain sugar".
For the longest time Apple Jacks had no apple taste at all. In fact, there was an awkward period of advertising where commercials had people surprised that Apple Jacks didn't taste like apples, when the cereal at the time actually DID taste like apples, and even contained apple ingredients.
French Fries actually came from Belgium, or perhaps Spain. There's some debate as to which. To those thinking it's about the style of cutting, the original verb meaning to cut in that style of cutting is to julienne (and yes, it is from France); the use of "Frenching" to refer to this comes after and because of French fries.
Also, they were discovered by American soldiers serving in France during World War I and brought back to the States.
The Other Wiki claims the phrase comes from the style of frying. That is, "french fries" are potatoes cooked in a French manner. Apparently they were known at least as early as the Revolutionary Era.
French Bread in Brazil is actually bread they themselves created when asked for bread "like the ones in France" by the time of the first World War.
An egg cream contains neither eggs nor cream. It does, however, resemble a creamed egg (creamed meaning "frothy.") Some researchers believe that early versions of the drink did indeed have both egg and cream as ingredients, as a cheaper variation on the then-recently-invented milkshake. According to this theory, the "New York Egg Cream" then removed egg and cream because they're expensive ingredients.
It's so common that "Nationish X" is not what Nation calls X (e.g. French Toast, French Cricket), that "English Muffin" could be regarded as a surprising aversion. What Americans call an "English Muffin" is precisely called a Muffin in England. This is the round bready object that splits into two and toasts well. The situation has become confused because what Americans call Muffin (the thing a bit like a cupcake without icing) is now well known in England and actually probably more common due to being a staple of coffee shops - but both types are simply called Muffin. This importation is quite recent. In Agatha Christie's "At Bertram's Hotel" (1965), Lady Selina Hazy complains at being served an American Muffin in America, obviously never having seen that item under that name in the UK, and also unaware that she could have got what she wanted by asking for an English Muffin.
Britain has or had a lot of "American-Style X" brand names that had little to do with any real American style. And then there's the fact that Danish pastries are known in Denmark as 'Viennese bread'... In a twist, neither name for Danish pastries are entirely non-indicative: Danish pastries are something of a speciality of Denmark, might have originated from Vienna, and is classified as a Viennoiserienote French for 'things from Vienna' product.
Ginger Ale tastes neither like ginger nor ale, but more akin to lemon-lime.
Ginger beer, root beer, birch beer, and butterbeer are all nonalcoholic.
And there's the Neapolitan onion sauce known as Genovese.
German chocolate cake is not from Germany, but American. It was originally made by Sam German.
For an actual German chocolate cake, by which we mean the cake is actually from Germany and also happens to be a chocolate cake, you'll want a Black Forest cake instead. (Yes, like the one in Portal.)
On that note, Black Forest cake is not made of black trees. It was invented in the Black Forest, though.
And that forest has the usual green and brown colour tones.
Worse, it's called Selva Negra (Black Jungle) in Spanish.
To make it even worser, the Black Forest (Schwarzwald) is actually a mountain range, like "Bayrischer Wald", "Böhmer Wald" or "Teutoburger Wald". But "Schwarzgebirge" or "Schwarzes Gebirge" sounds too much Mordor.
Sweetbreads are meats - specifically, the thymus glands of cows, pigs or sheep. Sweetmeat is a synonym for candy.
Yakisoba's name seems to imply a connection to soba, but it is actually quite different; soba is a native Japanese type of noodle while yakisoba has more in common with Chinese noodles, as ramen does. Authentic yakisoba resembles chow mein and is essentially the Japanese take on the dish (similar to how gyoza is the Japanese equivalent of the Chinese dumpling jiaozi, or potstickers as they're often called in English).
There's a debate on whether or not Okinawa Soba should be considered soba (Okinawa soba noodles are not buckwheat, as required to be considered soba)
A lot of Chinese cuisine, especially Straits Chinese cuisine, have non-indicative names for various reasons. Some because the dish has a poetic name, usually for delicacies like "Buddha Jumps Over the Wall" (a type of shark's fin soup). Some due to poor translation such as Bak Kut Teh ("Meat Bone Tea") not actually being a form of tea or "Carrot Cake" which is not actually made from carrots but from radishes ("white carrot" in most Chinese dialects) nor is it a "cake" as most people would recognize it. Some cases are historical, the "Hainanese chicken rice" you find in South-East Asia does not actually come from Hainan, China but rather was pioneered by Hainanese immigrants (although this one is in some dispute).
Texas Pete hot sauce is made in North Carolina.
Most ice cubes are not cubic but a variety of other 3-dimensional shapes.
Dubliner cheese is actually made in Cork.
Molho à Espanhola ("Spanish-style sauce") is not Spanish, but Portuguese (it was invented in the northern city of Oporto). In fact, no Spaniard ever heard of this sauce.
The sandwich chain Subway's is owned and operated by a holding company called Doctor's Associates Inc., the founder named the company because he was trying to earn enough money to pay for his medical school tuition. The company is not affiliated with any medical organization or personnel (although one of the cofounders had a doctorate, in physics).
In a bizarre double-example, one variant of the chili dog called the "Coney Island hot dog" (or "coney dog") was created in Detroit, while another type called the "Michigan hot dog" was created in New York.
Real Life - People
Girl Writes What is a middle-aged woman, not a girl, and she posts videos where she talks instead of writing (unless you count her blog).note She got her start posting on Reddit, which is where she assumed her moniker However, she titles her videos with exactly what she'll be talking about.
Farid al-Atrash was a composer, virtuoso oud player, and top-notch singer, and was one of the biggest names in Arab music in general and Egyptian music in particular for much of the 20th century. His sister Amal (better known as Asmahan) was also a noted singer and actress. Their last name means "the Deaf."
Pennsylvania Dutch have German descent, not Dutch. The German word for German is "Deutsch," which sounds like Dutch.
They return the favor to outsiders who call them "Dutch", referring to non-Amish as "English" regardless of nationality or ethnicity.
"Petite models" are between 5'6" and 5'8" — not only quite a bit taller than the usual definition of "petite," but above average in most countries (the average American woman is between 5'4" and 5'5".)
"Plus size" models usually wear US clothing sizes 8 to 12. Most clothing manufacturers start plus sizes at size 14.
Alexander ("I defend" "man") the Great is known for being quite aggressive towards mankind, rather than defending it.
Stand-up comedian Larry the Cable Guy won't fix your cable box...and his real first name isn't Larry. In fact "Larry the Cable Guy" is more or less a character played by comedian Dan Whitney that has completely taken over his stand-up act. His middle name is Lawrence though.
Suggested to be the case of H. P. Lovecraft, who was never known to craft anything romantic and a rumored Asexual.
Joe the Plumber, made famous by John McCain's 2008 run for president in the United States, was not a licensed plumber (he operated under his employer's license, as is legal in his state). Also, his first name was Samuel.
People whose first name is also the title of an occupation which they don't hold: Major, Judge, etc. Applies to other languages as well, such as Amir/Amira which is Arabic for prince/princess.
You will never meet a black person or white person whose natural skin tone literally matches either the background or the font used on this page. On that note, it's a safe bet that most people who identify themselves as "caucasians" don't actually hail from the Caucasus mountain range in Eastern Europe.
In an unbelievable case of being both a Meaningful NameAND a Non-Indicative Name, Viking chieftain Erik the Red earned his nickname not because of his bloodlust (he was kicked out of both Norway and later Iceland for multiple murders), but because of his long flaming red hair and beard.
Dutch DJ Afrojack is not named Jack, nor does he have an afro.
Blake Lively tends to be more reserved, both in her acting and in real life.
There are two kinds of Indians. People from India, and the natives of the American continents. This is largely attributed to Columbus mistakenly thinking he landed in India through what he thought was an undiscovered sea passage, when he had in fact landed in what we now know as the Caribbean. People tend to refer to them now-a-days as Native Americans, both to keep from offending anybody and to end the confusion. Speaking of, "West Indians" are from the West Indies, a series of islands in the Caribbean sea, not the western part of India.
While the word "Amazon" is often used to describe a large, usually buxom, woman, one possible etymology of the word comes from the Greek for "without breasts" (because mythological Amazons were said to have cut off their right breasts in order to throw their javelins better).
The Danville, California family restaurant Pete's Brass Rail & Car Wash. As the menu says, "There is no brass rail, there is no car wash, and who the hell is Pete?"
They, as citizens of Danville, should be asking, "Who the hell is Dan?"
A pizza place in Columbus, Ohio is called Catfish Biff's. Their slogan: "We ain't got no fish!"
The NASCAR track known as the Charlotte Motor Speedway is located in the city of Concord, North Carolina, which is not even in the same county as Charlotte. It is, however, just across the county line from the county that has Charlotte. Not only that, but the Charlotte city limits are only a few miles away. As Charlotte is by far the more well-known city, well...
Similarly, the Milwaukee Mile is neither located in the city of Milwaukee (although West Allis, where the track is actually located, is still in Milwaukee County) nor is it a true mile.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is not located in Indianapolis proper, but an enclave within the city called—wait for it—Speedway. Given that the city of Speedway is surrounded by the city of Indianapolis, this example splits hairs somewhat, but still.
Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House, which many people take as meaning they held the surrender meeting in a courthouse. In fact, that was just the name of the town (really not much more than a hamlet, which didn't actually have a courthouse), and the ceremony was held in a civilian dwelling.
Also from the Civil War, the Battle of Chancellorsville was actually fought in a forest. Notable because another battle was later fought on the same ground and is known as the Battle of the Wilderness.
This happens a lot with battles. Historians are uncertain exactly where the Battle of Bosworth was fought, but the one thing they all agree on is that it wasn't very near the town of Market Bosworth.
The North Poles (Magnetic and Geographic) are situated in the Arctic Ocean, international waters. This hasn't stopped cities being named North Pole in Alaska, New York, and Western Australia.
Also, the North Magnetic Pole is magnetically south.
The Holy Roman Empire pretty much owns this subcategory. It was an agglomeration of semi-independent duchies, principalities, marches, counties, baronies and city-states, plus a kingdom or two, in Germany and Central Europe with Rome under its protection. To borrow a quote from Voltaire, it was neither Holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire.
The other Roman empire, for that matter, lasted over 650 years after losing Rome for the last time (when it turned to the Franks, giving the HRE its name), having controlled it on and off from 536-800.
7-Elevens are likely to be open 24/7.
This is an Artifact Title, since 7 AM to 11 PM used to be the store's regular hours before they expanded to being always open.
Battersea Funfair was an amusement park, not a funfair. Recently (March 2010) there have appeared in London (UK) adverts for a so-called "travelling theme park", which is a contradiction in terms; the amusement industry definitions are that if it travels it's a fair, whilst if it stays in one place it's a park. (A fairground stays in one place, but the collections of rides it hosts are temporary, hence still fairs.)
And while we're on the subject of Battersea... the place is mostly known to British people for two things: Battersea Power Station and Battersea Dogs (and Cats) Home (and formerly Battersea Park, which hosted the "funfair"). Both of which are in Nine Elms (next door to one another, and quite near the Park), which is a good mile away from Battersea and is a grim industrial area, while Battersea is rather posh. Oh, and Nine Elms doesn't have any elms in it. It used to have elms, but there don't ever appear to have been nine of them. Right, rant over.
A demilitarized zone is supposed to not allow military activity. The Korean Demilitarized Zone (between North and South Korea), as the Wikipedia article goes, is "the most heavily militarized border in the world". You know that mined field from Die Another Day? It really exists.
Well, all the weapons are lined up on the outside of the border, the inside of the DMZ is more peaceable, discounting all that landmines and infiltration tunnels, that is.
And since we are on the subject of Korea, The Democratic People's Republic of Korea is not democratic, it's not ruled by the people, it's not a republic and it doesn't even cover the whole of the Korean Peninsula, making the name a quadruple whammy.
As a general rule, the more a country's official name proclaims to be for the people, the less likely it is democratic. It's not a hard-and-fast-rule, though - the People's Republic of Bangladesh, for instance.
The University of Texas at Dallas is not actually in Dallas (save for a couple of buildings), but is instead mostly located in a suburb of Dallas, Richardson.
The University of Dallas, a small Catholic liberal arts institution, is in Irving. It is a mile or so from the site of the old Texas Stadium, where the "Dallas" Cowboys used to play.
The State University of New York at Buffalo, is mostly not in Buffalo, but rather in the suburb of Amherst.
Grand Canyon University is in Phoenix, which is a four-hour drive from the Grand Canyon. It's something of an Artifact Title, since the school was originally located in Prescott, Arizona. But that's still only about two hours closer to the canyon.
The (rather fancy) Glaswegian restaurant The Ubiquitous Chip is so called because, for the first thirty years of its existence, it - almost uniquely among Scottish restaurants - didn't sell chips. It now does, but only at lunchtime, and they are described as "hand-cut".
Wake Forest University is actually not located in the town of Wake Forest, North Carolina, it is in Winston-Salem, which is over 100 miles away from there. It was located in Wake Forest for its first 122 years but moved in 1956. The university actually predates the town by 46 years and the city was even original named the Town of Wake Forest College
University of Phoenix Stadium is not where the University of Phoenix plays sports. As a matter of fact, it is a for-profit college with no intercollegiate athletics program; it just bought the naming rights to where the Cardinals play. It's also not even in Phoenix, but Glendale
Italy's Naples and Russia's Novgorod are among the oldest cities in their respective countries. Both of their names mean "new city".
Similarly, the Pont Neuf ("brand-new bridge") in Paris is the oldest bridge of the city.
Kyoto (literally "capital city") is not the capital of Japan.
Tokyo Disney Resort is not located in Tokyo proper; it is located in Chiba, just east of Tokyo. The Tokyo Game Show is held at the Makuhari Messe, also in Chiba.
In a similar fashion, Disneyland Paris isn't located in Paris but in a suburb 20 miles to the east of the city.
The Seibu (西武, 西 meaning "west") department store is on the east side of Ikebukuro station. The Tobu (東武, 東 meaning "east") department store is on the west side.
Rhode Island is part of the mainland United States. See the Other Wiki for some theories on how it got this name.
University buildings may fall into this trope over time. For instance, the Old Horticulture Building at Michigan State University houses...the Department of Romance and Classical Studies (that's "Romance" as in "Romance languages"). Yes. Horticulture is housed in the Plant and Soil Science Building, which actually is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
Any institution with multiple functional parts that persists for a long time and tends to grow will do this. Governments often avoid this simply because they tend to name buildings after people, rather than the functions housed in them, although the US Capitol Building has an Old Supreme Court Chamber, and an Old Senate Chamber, and the City of Toronto, Ontario, Canada has the Old City Hall building (all three of these being Exactly What It Says on the Tin).
The country of Greenland. If you look on a map the entire land mass is white.
And Iceland is green.
Sort of justified that the Vikings wanted to make Iceland sound like a horrible place to be and Greenland sound like a good place to be so that the Europeans would opt to go to Greenland first.
The Kansas City you're most likely talking about is in Missouri. (There is a Kansas City in Kansas right across the river, but it's smaller.)
This is an example of cultural linguistics; the "two Kansas Cities" are regarded as two because they're "separated" by the state line. In Europe they would be regarded as one because they're contiguous.
The Canary isles are named after a seal (origin. lat. Insukaria Canaria or "isles of seals")
There are several English 'forests' where there are few, if any, trees to be seen. Large tracts of Dartmoor Forest in Devon, Macclesfield Forest in Cheshire and the Forest of Bowland in Lancashire are bare open moorland with trees confined to the occasional river valley. In English law a forest was simply an area to which Forest Law applied, in other words a royal hunting ground.
The Quad Cities straddling the Mississippi River are actually five cities. There used to be four, but when the city Bettendorf joined the name had grown too well-known to alter.
The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Located in Humlebæk, Denmark. According to its wikipedia article, "The name of the museum derives from the first owner of the property, Alexander Brun, who named the villa after his three wives, all named Louise."
The small town of Arkport, New York, has no ports to speak of.
Yeovil Junction railway station is outside the boundaries of the town of Yeovil, and you cannot change trains there (although you can sometimes get a bus from there to Yeovil's other railway station, Yeovil Pen Mill, which is on a completely separate line). Again, an Artifact Title - before the Beeching cuts, there was more than one railway line regularly serving Yeovil Junction.
Likewise, Clapham Junction railway station is about a mile from the nearest part of Clapham — it's actually in Battersea. It was given its name because at the time the station was built, Battersea was regarded as a seedy and run-down area, whilst Clapham was seen as trendy and upmarket (as it was again in the 1980s, when the Duchess of York lived there), so the railway company stretched a geographical point.
The Jewish Autonomous Oblast of Russia. At the time of the establishment of the oblast (1934), 16% of the population was jewish. In 2010, this number had dwindled down to a whooping 1%, a mere 1,600 people, with only a fifth of those being practicing jews.
Coronado, California is also known as Coronado Island, even though technically it's a peninsula.
Stansbury Island in the Great Salt Lake is only an island when the lake has unusually high water levels. Otherwise it's a peninsula. When water levels get low, the lake's major island, Antelope, also becomes an extension of the mainland.
A country ruled (or, more often these days, nominally ruled) by a monarch is always called a "kingdom" even if the monarch is a queen. (However, if the monarch is a prince or princess, the country is a "principality" — the Disney Wiki gets this one wrong regarding Sugar Rush.)
Every now and then, you will find a ring road that's actually a half-ring.
Real Life - Misc.
Much like the Holy Roman Empire above, someone observed that the British official known as the Lord Privy Seal is neither a lord, nor a privy,note that is, a toilet nor a seal.note that is, a pinniped. Funny, although not strictly accurate given that the office can and often has been held by peers of the realm (i.e. lords). The name originates with the guy who kept the monarch's private (privy) seal for documents; today, it's generally a Cabinet position for a "Minister without Portfolio" typically given to the Leader of the House of Commons or Leader of the House of Lords. (In fact, the joke is so old that it's now a euphemism for the B Roll Rebus in parts of England.)
A pretty sizable portion of American Secret Service agents aren't exactly very secretive about who they are, since their job hinges upon being recognized as security enforcers by the public. Granted, they do have undercover operatives, but they also have a uniformed division, and even their plainclothes operatives are instantly recognizable by the black suits and earpieces that they wear.
One might also be forgiven if they thought the Secret Service was a clandestine special operations unit or a secret police unit. They are neither. They started off as a counter-counterfeiting organization, but are most famously known for protecting the President and other people important in the U.S Federal government. Adding to the confusion is that the British Government also has a "Secret Service", the Secret Intelligence Service, often mistakenly called "MI 6", which is an intelligence agency, analogous to the United States' Central Intelligence Agency.
Manhattan's proposed Park51 community center, which was dubbed "The Ground Zero Mosque" by many in the American media, is not a mosque, and it's not located at Ground Zero. It's an Islamic Community Center with facilities open to the general public, and it's two blocks away from the original site of the World Trade Center.
Renaissance Festivals are typically modeled after England in the Medieval period or the Elizabethan period (sometimes a combination of both), but they have next to nothing to do with the culture of Renaissance Italy.
On that note, one of the most popular traveling acts on the Renaissance Festival circuit is a comedy trio called "The Tortuga Twins".
The Oedipus Complex is named after a character that didn't have it: Oedipus didn't know that the man that he murdered was his father or that the woman that he married was his mother, and was revolted by both revelations. Moreover, he wasn't in love with his mother, and he didn't hate his father—he killed his father after a chance encounter with him (because his father tried to run him off the road with a chariot), and he only married his mother (the queen) as reward for slaying the Sphinx and replace the missing king.
When a foreign language has a word that looks like the English, but turns out to mean something completely different. These are false friends, or, in French, faux amis.
Spanish Protip: A guy cannot say "Estoy embarazado" since embarazo means pregnancy, not embarrassment. Okay, Mr. Seahorse can but that's it! Girls are also recommended to not say it unless they've recently been knocked up.note By which we don't mean "awakened by someone tapping at their door."
Similarly, "excitado" does not mean "excited". It means "sexually aroused".
Possibly by chance, both German and Spanish have similar traps. "Ich bin heiß"/"Estoy caliente" don't mean "I am at a high temperature". They mean "I am sexually aroused". *
In German, you'd say "mir ist heiß". In Spanish, you either say "quema" (it burns) or "tengo calor" (meaning "I feel hot", literally "I have heat"... which isn't synonymous with "I have the hots", making this a recursive false friend).
Likewise, "ich bin kalt" and "Soy frígido/frígida" means "I am sexually frigid" whilst "I am (feeling the) cold" is "mir ist kalt"/"tengo frío".
Bizarro means brave, not weird or strange (though many Spanish speakers forget this). Egregio means illustrious or distinguished, but you can still drink up if you want. "Egregious" used to mean the same thing in English too.
It still does; it's just changed from "exceptionally good" to "exceptionally bad".
The Slovak and Czech term for "(economic) competition" - "konkurencia/konkurence" - sounds awfully similar to the English word "concurrence", which, of courese, means "parallel progress". The terms clearly stem from the same roots of international vocabulary, but have likely experienced quite a big shift in the semantics of said vocabulary...
People have drawn the wrong conclusion about Romans for years because of the word "vomitorium." It sounds like a place to unload some food and drink during a really long party. In reality, it's a stadium exit - because a properly-designed one will spew people out rapidly once the games are over.
False cognates are words that looks similar and have similar meanings, but are completely unrelated. Not the same as false friends (which can sometimes be cognates).
Another: in Finnish and Japanese, "matto" means a carpet or a floor rug. It's even pronounced the same way. There are in fact twohypotheses proposing a genetic relationship between Finnish and Japanese, but the etymology of this specific word has nothing to do with that.
And another: in Mbabaram, an extinct Australian Aboriginal language completely unrelated to English, the word for "dog" is "dog".
The Indonesian word 'air' means water in English.
The word "yama" means "mountain" in Japanese and "pit" in most Slavic languages.
The word inflammable, that misleadingly means the same as flammable. We owe that to the Latin language, since it comes from the verb inflamare. Raise the subject in public and make sure to get marshmallows.
Dr. Nick: "Inflammable" means "flammable"?! What a country!
For those who are curious, the word you would use to indicate that something is not prone to catching fire is "nonflammable". You may believe such a word to be superfluous, but believe us, we've tried.
And on that note, the word "invaluable" actually means "very valuable" (as something "invaluable" cannot be valued, i.e. is beyond price/is priceless).
An "outstanding" project or assignment, likewise, can either mean one that's impressively well-done, or disgracefully overdue.
And as noted above, "egregious" (literally "outstanding") started off as meaning "outstandingly good", then for a while was used to mean that or "outstandingly bad" (to the confusion of George Orwell, who accused a writer of using the word "wrongly"), and has now settled down in the "bad" meaning.
"Mist" means "dung" in German, as the Rolls-Royce company learned only just in time. The English word was borrowed from German, and originally referred to the steam rising from a fresh dungheap; in time, only the romantic light-fog association remained, whilst the decidedly unromantic origin was forgotten.
A number of wars are referred to by either incorrect or misleading names.
The Social War was not a Roman civil war, but a war against the subject Italian cities. Socii was Latin for 'allies,' and the name was just carried forward. The same applies to an earlier conflict between Athens and its allies.
Generally, "civil" wars aren't fought with any noticeable politeness.
The Hundred Years War lasted 116 years.
And the Eighty Years War lasted for 68 years of fighting, but 80 from beginning to end. The Twelve Years' Truce separated two lengthy periods of warfare. Also, only one of the parties involved (The Netherlands and Spain) considers it a war.
The French and Indian War was not France vs. the indigenous peoples of the American continent. The French and Indians fought together against the British. (There were Indians on the British side too.) Dave Barry Slept Here refers to this confusion, further asserting, "The British didn't even realize they were suppose to be in this war until several years after it started, by which time the French and the Indians, totally confused, had inflicted heavy casualties upon each other."
It should also be noted that the French and Indian War was actually just one theater of a larger conflict known as the Seven Years' War, which lasted nine years... in America; in Europe the war started after a two year delay.
Some historians have called the period of fighting between Britain and France from roughly 1689 to 1815 (including the Seven Years' War) the "Second Hundred Years' War." Actual length, 126 years.
La Guerra de los Pasteles (literally the War of the Cakes) was fought because of complaints made by a French baker whose property was damaged during previous battles in Mexico.
The baker was among one of the many complainers who got their property damaged among the conflicts. Now is told he may not even existed so...
The War of 1812 lasted three years (from January 1812 to February 1815). At least it began in 1812.
The Korean War began as a war between North and South Korea. When it ended, it was largely a war between the United Nations and China.
Arabic numerals are from India. They got the name because Europeans learned them from Arabs.
Arabs call them Hindu numerals.
They're also sometimes known as Hindu-Arabic numerals.
And the European, Arabic and Indian sets of numerals are all somewhat different.
Team Shanghai Alice. It is not based in Shanghai and only contains one member, whose name isn't Alice. And... okay, technically Touhou does have a character named Alice (who owns a puppet named Shanghai), but this is probably unrelated.
The correct legal definition of "assault" doesn't actually refer to assaulting anything, but making a threat (if they carry is out, it's battery). The phrase "assault and battery" has blurred the line in the public eye, so that many people think that assault is battery. But they are, in fact, different things.
Also, while "battered" is commonly understood to refer to serious physical harm, "battery" legally means any unwanted physical contact. Breathing on someone might even qualify.
Adding to the confusion, these definitions are only universal in the civil law of torts; criminal assault and criminal battery have a bewildering array of definitions across the common-law world (with the US—where each state has its own definition—providing the bulk of the confusion).
The Underground Railroad was underground only in the political sense (secret) and was not a railroad.
Of course, openly calling it the "Slave Escape Network" would have hamperered its operations.
The Guilford College Yachting Club is home to the "geek club" centering itself on sci-fi, gaming, and anime - they put on a con called "What the Hell Con" which has an incredibly indicative name. Legend has it that the geeks took over a real club about boats and need the longevity of the club's name to get the level of funding they need.
The linchpin of Einstein's two theories of relativity is that certain things (like the laws of physics and speed of light) are not relative to your frame of reference.
The Scripps National Spelling Bee has had contestants from outside the US since 1997.
Selective Service, at least from the perspective of the person being selected, is neither selective nor a service.
The school colors of Green High School (near Akron, Ohio) are orange and black.
The Spanish Flu of 1918-1919 originated in the American Midwest. It was called Spanish Flu because Spanish newspapers were the only ones reporting about it freely. This was because the disease nearly killed King Alphonse XIII of Spain, making it massive news for the Spaniards, and also because the country was neutral in World War One, and thus was not subjected to war-time censorship.
None of the races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup could be considered sprints. Sprint is the telecommunications company that sponsors the series.
And Dale Earnhardt's famous "pass in the grass" wasn't actually a pass - he was ahead and was preventing himself from being passed.
RPG no longer describes most of the video games the label is attached to anymore, and makes even less sense when spelled out. Even before game-makers were jumping on the bandwagon to add RPG Elements, the meaning had been diluted for over a decade by JRPG's, so few reviewers bother to challenge them with: "What makes this a Role. Playing. Game?"
Besides, early RPGs were actually simple adventure games heavy on tactical combat with no actual role-playing in the strict sense of this word. They were, and for the most part, still are devoid of elaborate dialogues and reactive world typical for the real RPGs.
The months September through to December are so called because they were originally the seventh to tenth months, in the pre-Julian calendar which only regularly had ten months (likewise July and August were back then called "Quintilis" and "Sextilis" respectively).
Georgia College has an event each semester right before finals called Midnight Breakfast. It starts at 10pm and goes till 11:45.
The British "Special Air Service" (SAS) is actually part of the British Army. It was named such to make the Axis forces think there was a paratrooper regiment. They do make drops from helicopters, though.
The U.S Army's 10th Mountain Division is also a rather non-indicative title, or at least today's 10th Mountain. The original was genuinely specially trained to fight in mountainous terrain, but was reorganized into the 10th Infantry Division after the war, before getting deactivated in 1958. In 1985, a new light infantry division was named the 10th Mountain Division to tie into the historical 10th Mountain, but their training and role is more generalized. They even joke about it, with the division's unofficial motto being "We Don't Do Mountains".
The Danish political party "Radikale Venstre" (Radical left) is possibly the most centre-oriented party in Danish politics.
Same thing with the french Radical party (it's in the center). It only got this name historically in the 19th century when it was radically in favour of laicity and republicanism, and the name stuck. And the left radicals are just its center-left wing.
'Radical' doesn't mean leftwing, though, it just means in favour of radical action and/or change.
Even more confusingly, the "Venstre" (Left) party in Denmark is the largest right-wing party. In the 19th Century, it was the largest left-wing party but in the early 20th century it was pushed aside by the Social Democrats, so it shifted to the centre and ended up being allied with its former conservative opponents. Norway has a centrist party called Venstre (same meaning) of similar origins.
And let's not even get started with the contradictions inherent in Mexico's right-wing Institutional Revolutionary Party...
One of the most exaggerated examples is the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia is a pretty-much radical far right party advocating Pinochet-esque dictatorship. Or rather was; nowadays they are more or less political clowns and no one takes them seriously.
The origin of this party's name is that it was formed in 1980s, when the Soviet Union was slowly crumbling apart and "liberal" and "democratic" were buzzwords of instant political success.
Rationalization doesn't usually involve very much reason or rationality at all.
Scorpion Racing is a Canadian manufacturer of dirt bike parts that has nothing to do with racing scorpions.
Tap out, which is the name of a submission combat sport, would probably be confused for a harmless children's game if somebody didn't even know what the actual sport was about.
The permafrost, which is perpetually frozen soil in the Arctic, is not really permanent at all, as proven by climate change especially in some worst-case scenarios.
The Afrikaans language is not native to Africa; it's a Germanic language derived from Dutch. It is spoken in the country of South Africa, but nowhere else on the continent.
The late Randy Pausch's "The Last Lecture" was the last lecture he gave as a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, but not the very last lecture in his life. He gave a lecture on time-saving at the University of Virginia, where he formerly taught, two months later.
The Catholic Church. "Catholic" means "all-encompassing". Nowadays, it most certainly is not. This stretches back to the 11th century, where they continued calling themselves "the Catholic Church" when the Eastern Orthodox Church split off.
Most surnames come from nicknames that described someone's appearance, recent family lineage, birthplace, occupation or personality. These nicknames got turned into surnames that get passed down to people that they no longer describe. We all know Smiths who aren't smiths and MacDonalds whose fathers aren't named Donald.
The word denude means actually making something nude. Declothe also means that.
Many Portuguese parties have names leftier than their ideologies, specially the main ones: the Social Democratic Party (PSD) is actually the centre-right party and the Socialist Party (PS) is actually just centre-left, while the Social and Democratic Center (CDS) is the most right-wing party elected to parliament. This is because they were formed after a revolution against a fascist dictatorship, a time when everyone was left (compared to the last 40 years of ruling government) and anything that was right was "salazarist" (as in "Salazar" the dictator of said fascist state).
The name of the PSD is actually something of an Artifact Title, since it originally wanted to represent the social democratic ideology (although in a version created by its founder named "Portuguese Social Democracy"), but was quashed in this dream by the PS, who were always supported by the German Social Democrats. It was during Cavaco Silva's term as a prime minister that the PSD definitely became Portugal's main right-wing party.
The word "Socialist" in the name of the PS refers to "democratic socialism", which in practice is not different from social democracy (the actual ideology of the party).
In a seemingly non-indicative description, Antarctica is considered a desert simply because the only qualification for a desert is its lack of precipitation. Antarctica on average gets 8 inches on the coast, much less inland. Which also puts Antarctica the largest desert in the world, not the Sahara.
Conservative ideology in many Western countries is usually referred to as Classical Liberalism, so not entirely false.
Australia also has the Labor Party, who are noted for many things but hasn't drawn most of its politicians from the ranks of labourers in donkey's years -
Similarly, in Japanese politics, the Liberal Democratic Party is the conservative party.
Events of the Night of the Long Knives last three days instead of a single night. The Night of the Long Knives was a series of murders commanded by the heads of the Nazi Party; said murders resulted from gunshots instead of stabbing. The name of the event is actually taken from a song of the Sturmabteilung (the official victim of this purge).
Many retail stores start their "Black Friday" event on Thursday night.
Nor it is restricted to black people. People of all races can look like idiots to save money
"Reality television": the term is probably derived from the idea that professional actors aren't used, and the drama isn't scripted—but the situations are often so contrived or manipulated by the producers that this term can be seen as a misnomer, and misleading if it's relying on the inherent virtue of the word "reality" to appeal to viewers.
The "Grand Old Party" (AKA the Republican Party) is not the oldest party in American politics. That would be its main rival, the Democratic Party.
The Australian Vaccination Network was recently (December 2012) told to change its name to something that clearly reflects its anti vaccination agenda or be shut down.
A fireman works for the fire department, his boss is a fire chief, he will ride around in a fire truck, use a fire hose, a fire axe, and hangs out in a firehouse with a fire dog. None of these things are on or project fire, but are instead associated with putting fires out.
The months of September, October, November, and December aren't the 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th months respectively... even though that's their numeral prefix. The original Roman calendar had only 10 months, until Julius Caesar and Octavius Caesar Augustus got months named after them.
The above is slightly misleading; the two new months were not July and August, but January and February. July and August were renames of Quintilis ("fifth") and Sextilis ("sixth") respectively.
Diabetes insipidus and diabetes mellitus are unrelated; the former is caused by hormones or overactive kidneys, the latter is at least four different types of pancreas-related problems. They are named after the one thing they have in commom — they all have excessive urination as one possible symptom.