Non Indicative Name / Real Life

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     Food 
  • Carl's Jr's 6 Dollar Burger originally launched for about $4 and was named in order to claim that it was of the same quality that you would pay $6 for in a sit down restaurant. Even with inflation most of the variations that have been introduced are $4.99. The Jim Beam Bourbon 6 Dollar Burger however is the only one currently that is $5.99. Over time, they have been phasing that name out in favor of "Thickburger" so that they don't end up with a "Six Dollar Burger" that costs more than $6 (and also to align their menu more closely with that of their sister chain Hardee's, which used the "Thickburger" name first).
  • "Hamburgers" are made of beef, not ham. They are so-named after the custom in German-speaking countries of naming snack foods after the town with which they're most closely associated (Hamburg, in this case). Also, "ham" is a joint (of pork), not a meat in its own right. Burgers which are actually made of pork are often called "baconburgers".
  • "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.
  • 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. Cassia bark is slightly thicker and keeps better than true cinnamon bark.
  • Historically, "mozzarella" was supposed to be made of water buffalo milk, while cheese made by the same process from cow's milk was called fior di latte (literally, "milk flower," itself pretty nonindicative). However, today it's taken as read, even in Italy, that what's sold as mozzarella is actually from cow's milk and thus technically fior di latte, although if it's sold as mozzarella di bufala or especially as mozzarella di bufala campana (which has the full force of The European Union's agricultural protection laws behind it), it is pretty certain to be a water-buffalo product.
  • 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 horseradish. On that note, wasabi is often called "Japanese horseradish" even though it's not a species of horseradish (although it is fairly closely related to horseradish).
  • Horseradish doesn't have anything to do with horses (the word comes from the Early Modern English usage of "horse" to mean "strong" or "coarse"), although it is related to radishes (being part of the family Brassicaceae, which includes mustard, cabbage, and, yes, wasabi and 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. They look Chinese, they sound Chinese, but they're actually an American invention of Japanese descent.
  • Scotch eggs, Scotch pies, and Scotch broth are not made with real Scotch. One is a hard-boiled egg encased in sausage meat and bread crumbs, the second is a mutton pie made with a particular kind of pastry, and the third is lamb/mutton broth with vegetables. (One supposes you could put Scotch whisky in any of these somehow, but it would probably ruin the dish.) 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.
  • The Nantucket Nectars juice company is based in Texas rather than Nantucket. Justified in that it used to be based in Nantucket, but was then bought out; they just kept the name.
  • New York Brand Texas Toast is neither made in New York or Texas, as the company behind it is based in Columbus, Ohio.
  • 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", also known as bull testicles.
  • Red Leicester is orange.
  • The sauces of classic French cuisine is full of these things: Sauce Allemande ("German sauce") isn't German.note  Sauce Espagnole ("Spanish sauce") isn't Spanish.note  Sauce Africaine ("African sauce") isn't African.note  "Crème anglaise" isn't English, or a cream!note 
  • Russian dressing, Italian dressing, and French dressing were all invented in the US. In fact in France you nearly always get oil and vinegar on your salad.
  • 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. Also, they were discovered by American soldiers serving in France during World War I and brought back to the States. 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. And Belgian fries doesn't have the right ring.
  • 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.
  • To add to the confusion, what we know as "English muffins" aren't English and aren't what what we normally call muffins. They were invented in New York City by Samuel Thomas, a British immigrant as a variation English crumpet. However, English muffins are popular in England, where they are simply called "muffins". The American kind, the sweet, cake-like pastries, are called "American muffins", which are American in origin. Due to Eagleland Osmosis, nowadays it's much more common in England for English muffins to be referred to as such, as 'muffin' is now used to mean 'American muffin'.
  • 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  product.
  • What are known in Britain as "Swiss rolls" are known in Switzerland as "roulades" and not associated with a particular country.
  • And there's the Neapolitan onion sauce known as Genovese.
  • German chocolate cake is not from Germany, but the US. It was originally made by Sam German.
  • 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, and many argue that they are actually more like udon).
  • 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, as it's very similar to the "white-cut chicken" of Cantonese cuisine). General Tso's Chicken was created long after Zuo Zongtang's note  death and possibly made its debut in America. To add even more confusion, the Hainanese have adopted General Tso's Chicken as their own, finding it tasty and figuring it was about time someone named a dish after Zuo Zongtang.
  • Texas Pete hot sauce is made in North Carolina.
  • Chunks of ice used in beverages are called ice cubes no matter what shape they're in.
  • 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 Porto). In fact, no Spaniard ever heard of this sauce.
  • The sandwich chain Subway is managed 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" for short) was created in Detroit, while another, very similar type called the "Michigan (hot) dog" was created in Western New York. (Of course, Western New York is nowhere near Coney Island, and indeed has a culture more similar to Michigan than to Brooklyn, but we're just getting ahead of ourselves there.) On top of that, Cincinnati has its own "coney", similar to the Michigan creation and topped with the city's unique style of chili (it involves cinnamon and sometimes cocoa). And just to make things even more confusing, a similar dish known as the "New York System wiener" (or "hot wiener") is from... Rhode Island.
  • Mongolian beef is an American Chinese dish, and is simply called "Mongolian" to sound exotic. Similarly, Mongolian barbecue was invented in Taiwan and, technically, isn't even barbecue.
  • Barley sugar note  does not usually contain any barley. According to some sources, including The Other Wiki, it used to be made with barley water and still is sometimes. Others say it's a mistranslation of sucre brûlé, meaning "burnt sugar".
  • A brand of sausages called "Welsh Dragon" was forced to change their name because the sausages didn't contain dragon meat.
  • "Welsh rabbit" is a slightly more complicated version of cheese on toast: the base is a cheese sauce (usually made with cheese, ale, and mustard), and the sauce is then either then poured over toast and (usually) browned, or served fondue-style in a pot with strips of toast. It has no particular connection to Wales (although it is popular there), and absolutely nothing to do with rabbits. The name might have started as a mildly insulting suggestion that the Welsh just think it's a rabbit, or that the comparatively poor Welsh would call a simple dish of cheese on toast "rabbit" to hide their poverty (rabbit being expensive meat). It may also have been a joke at the expense of the Welsh fondness for cheese (the subject of jokes since at least the 16th century). It was probably embarrassment at this that gave rise to the variant spelling "rarebit". It goes without saying that cheese on toast isn't particularly rare, either.
  • Bombay duck is actually a species of lizardfish.
  • Canadian bacon did not come from Canada, nor is it eaten there any more than in the US, where the term "Canadian bacon" is used. In Canada it is referred to as "back bacon". It may be that the term may have been inspired by particular type of back bacon known as "peameal bacon", which is covered in cornmeal (originally dried yellow peas) and seems to be from Ontario. Peameal bacon is very popular in its "homeland" around Toronto, though, with peameal bacon sandwiches being a major draw at the city's famous St. Lawrence Market.
  • Corned beef is prepared using granular salt, not corn. "Corn" actually refers to any small grain-like object (e.g., peppercorns), hence the corning of beef with grains of salt. This is actually only a non-indicative name for speakers of North American English as the rest of the English-speaking world refers to the plant corn as maize.
  • An "Everything Bagel" almost never includes every topping offered on a particular menu. Though recipes vary slightly from eatery to eatery, the traditional combination includes poppy seeds, sesame seeds, onion, and garlic; toppings like cheese, cinnamon, and raisins (offered at most bagel shops) are usually left off. The reason is pretty clear; you don't want clashing flavors.
  • The word "chocolate" comes from the Nahuatl "xocolatl", which means "bitter water". While it did describe what chocolate was like to Mesoamerican people (a drink made of unfermented cocoa seeds, which are bitter), what we know as chocolate today is usually neither bitter nor a liquid. However, anyone who has tried baker's chocolate will know that chocolate is actually inherently bitter, and it is only through copious amounts of sugar that modern chocolate bars lose this flavor. In fact, anyone who has tried dark chocolate will actually know that chocolate still has some bitter flavors.
  • Texas Roadhouse, a steakhouse chain, was founded in Clarksville, Indiana, directly across the Ohio River from its current headquarters of Louisville, Kentucky.
  • "Laverbread", a staple of the Welsh kitchen, isn't really bread as we'd understand it; it consists of laver (a kind of seaweed), boiled for several hours, then minced or pureed into a jelly, rolled in oatmeal, and then fried.
  • The French Dip sandwich is not French in origin. It was invented in Los Angeles by two different people (depending on who you ask, they're the original inventor). The only thing French about the French Dip is it's served on a baguette (although it is true that one of the possible inventors was a French immigrant). Interestingly, many aficionados of the sandwich as it is served at the two original restaurants would argue that the French Dips sold else where aren't really French Dips: while in most places, the sandwich has the hot roast beef in a baguette and served with a cup of the jus for the eater to dip the whole sandwich into, at both of the original places the bread is dipped in the jus first and then the beef is added, with the wet sandwich served to the consumer without a side of jus (because at that point it's overkill).
  • Wits in the US armed forces claim that "MRE" (Meal, Ready to Eat) is non-indicative in three ways, i.e. it's not a meal, it's not ready and you can't eat it. The first two accusations are in some sense correct (in that an MRE comes with a number of additions to make it a complete meal and that it does require some preparation like adding water and heating) but how true the third charge actually is varies from meal to meal.
  • Pork butt comes from the pig's shoulder area.
  • Bakeapples are fruit, but they're not apples, they're berries, and they don't even look or taste like apples. Other names for them are cloudberry, knotberry, knoutberry, aqpik, low-bush salmonberry (they have nothing to do with salmon, either), averin and evron.
  • Marshmallows (the confectionery) were originally made from marsh mallows, a species of mallow that grows in marshy terrain, but are now just made from sugar, gelatin and various other ingredients, making the name of the confectionery now an Artifact Title.
  • The chocolate bar known as Fry's Turkish Delight is made by Cadbury, a British company, though it does contain the delicacy known as Turkish delight, which may or may not have been invented in Turkey. It is the sole remaining product line preserved by Cadburys from their takeover of Fry.
  • Saltwater taffy got its name from being traditionally sold on the beach or boardwalk; it contains no more salt or water than any other candy that would use those ingredients and tastes neither salty nor watery.
  • Many dishes named after Italian city\regions were actually made by immigrants from that place, such as the Naeapolitan ice cream and the chicken\veal\meat parmigiana. Brazil has it even worse, with things such as the Calabrese pepper (no pepper is native to Europe).
  • Extra-virgin olive oil has (thankfully) nothing to do with whether or not someone has done inappropriate things with the oil or the bottle it's in. It's a measure of acidity, and it has to do with a) how the oil was obtained (only oils obtained by cold-pressing the olives can qualify as extra-virgin or virgin) and b) whether or not any chemicals were used to obtain the oil or to refine and process it. (Extra virgin and virgin olive oils cannot have any chemicals used in the process of obtaining the oil, and cannot be refined or processed with chemicals after the fact.) Furthermore, it is not uncommon for oils marketed as extra-virgin or virgin to not qualify in some way (ex. to have been refined with chemicals after pressing), or to be "cut" with lesser-quality olive oils. The best way to know for sure is by smell and taste: real extra-virgin and virgin olive oils have a distinct "fruity" smell and flavor to them, and cause a slight burning sensation when swallowed straight. (Color is also a good indicator, as the real stuff tends to be golden yellow or green in color, but this isn't as reliable as the smell-and-taste test.)
  • Someone who invites you to eat a "Dutch baby" is just a pancake enthusiast, not a racist cannibal. Probably. (Speaking of which, pancakes these days are usually cooked on a griddle, not a pan.)
  • A Uruguayan sandwich-style dish known as Chivito doesn't contain goat meat despite its name literally meaning "goaty". Instead being made of toasted bread with a thin slice of beef, mayonnaise, ham and several other ingredients. It was created as an improvised meal when a foreign patron ordered goat meat which the restaurant did not have, the dish become incredibly popular and was named after the incident.
    • A popular variation known as Chivito Canadiense (Canadian Chivito) is also from Uruguay; most Canadians have never heard of it. The key ingredient, however, is Canadian bacon (which, as mentioned, is only semi-non-indicative).
  • Peanuts are not really "nuts". Unlike almonds, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, macadamias, Brazil nuts, and other tree nuts, peanuts are legumes that grow in pods that contain several seeds. The pods of beans are soft and split as the seeds get bigger. This is in contrast to nut seeds which have hard outer shells and grow singly. Also, unlike nuts, which grow from trees, peanuts, like all beans, grow underground.
  • The Bakewell tart is named such because it was developed as a variant of the less well known Bakewell pudding, not because it actually originated from Bakewell. The Bakewell pudding, however, was first created in Bakewell.
  • Fish and chips are seen as this by Americans, as it has chips in the British sense, known in America as fries.
  • Plum pudding doesn't contain plums. It does contain raisins, however, which were called plums in Victorian times, hence the name.
  • Oranges aren't always orange. In many countries, oranges are green - even when ripe - and are sold that way in the shops. Most of the ones sold in America and Europe have been artificially "oranged" by being sprayed with ethylene gas.

     Drinks 
  • The company that makes AriZona Iced Tea is based in New York.
  • Long Island Iced Tea is, um, not what you want to be drinking if you just fancy a cold cuppa. It is iced, though, and presumably from Long Island,note  so it's at least three-quarters accurate. It can taste a bit like iced tea with lemon, too, if mixed properly, but it still isn't iced tea and still doesn't contain any.
  • An egg cream contains neither eggs nor cream; it's made of milk, chocolate syrup, and soda water (it's basically a fizzy chocolate milk—it's Better Than It Sounds). 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.
  • A real life drink which aims to provide all the nutrients that one would ever need goes under the name "Soylent". It actually does not have much actual soy in it nor lentils - it's named after the fictitious meal from Make Room! Make Room!.
  • Ginger beer, Root Beer, Birch Beer, Ginger Ale and Butterbeer are all non-alcoholic drinks, though the first four were actually fermented like their more grown-up namesakes, and the last coincidentally shares its name with an actual Tudor-era drink based on heated up beer and butter). Now, most beverages sold as these drinks are made like any other soda-pop/fizzy drink these days; a flavored syrup dissolved in carbonated water. Finding these beverages in the original, brewed and fermented form is rare, although some places do make it and are gaining in popularity (e.g. Small Town Brewery's "Not Your Father's Root Beer," an alcoholic root beer that became popular in the United States c. 2015).
  • 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 most common variety of tea in the Western world, known as "black tea", is actually reddish. To be fair, the name refers to the color of the oxidized leaves, but is misleading when talking about the drink itself (which is called "red tea" in Asia).
    • A better example would be the grading system for tea leaves. "Orange pekoe" refers to whole, dried, unbroken tea leaves regardless of what color they are.
  • Fucking hell, a beer from The Berlin Republic, is not a "Helles" but a pilsener, nor does it have anything to do with the Austrian village it was named after.
  • Buttermilk contains less of the fats from which butter is derived than whole milk does. To be fair, though, it was historically the liquid left behind from milk after butter is churned, hence buttermilk.
  • Herbal teas are more properly called tisanes, not teas. True tea is the infusion of specifically the leaves of the Camellia sinesis plant. Also, the different varieties of tea, black, green, white, Oolong, Earl Grey, etc., are different preparations of the same plant.
  • "Energy" drinks would more accurately be called "stimulant drinks". In particular, low-calorie energy drinks contain little or no energy.
  • The Society for Creative Anachronism's Pennsic War has a drink called the "Strawberry Surprise", which consists of grain alcohol and pepper spray. The surprise is that it tastes nothing like strawberries and everything like PAIN.
  • So-called "zero sugar" or "sugar free" drinks actually contain small amounts of sugar.
  • White wine is actually more of a yellowish colour. This also extends to the grapes used to make it, which are referred to as "white" grapes despite actually being light green in colour.

     Government & Military 
  • A pretty sizable portion of United States 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. Of course, these "plainclothes" officers are different from the actual plainclothes officers, who are dispersed among the crowd, do not always wear black suits, and have other ways of keeping in contact.
    • Speaking of the Secret Service, they were originally founded as an enforcement arm of the Treasury Department, to combat counterfeiters (which they still do, to an extent). After the assassination of President William McKinley in 1901, Congress informally requested that the Secret Service provide presidential protection. A year later, the Secret Service assumed full-time responsibility for presidential protection. Despite this, the Secret Service were still part of the Treasury Department, and this is how it went until March 1, 2003 when they were transferred to the Department of Homeland Security.
  • In most countries, the "Interior Ministry" or "Interior Department" is responsible for administering the country's law enforcement, national security, elections, and immigration (among others). The United States Department of the Interior does none of that - they are responsible for federally-owned lands and resources like national parks, as well as federal programs related to Native American tribes. The previously mentioned duties are split between state- and local-level police departments, specialized federal law enforcement like the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Justice.

    The reason for this is that the US Department of the Interior was split off the US Department of State, taking over the State Department's former domestic duties, which amounted to, in essence, "everything that is not war (which was under the War and Navy Departments) or law (the Attorney General/Justice Department) or money (the Treasury Department) or the mail (the Post Office)". The odd thing was that, given how little the federal government had to do in the 19th century, none of this included any kind of policing (which was left to the states); the only things that needed a federal internal police force (as opposed to border guards) were the federal courts (which had the US Marshals to enforce court orders and provide security), security on the water (which was provided by what eventually became the Coast Guard, which was originally part of the Treasury Department because its main role was preventing smugglers from avoiding tariffs), and the prevention of counterfeiting (the Secret Service was established under the Treasury Department for this purpose).

    Later on, most of the other departments were split off from Interior or departments that split from Interior, but none involved serious law enforcement duties; these were mostly established under the Department of Justice, as the Justice Department, whose role was (and remains) litigating cases for the federal government, needed information gatherers to support its criminal litigation activities (this is where the FBI comes from), or under the Treasury, as they were originally intended to enforce tax laws (this is originally where the ATF comes from, although it is now under the DOJ). As a result, Interior never had much to do with policing—the only substantial law-enforcement arms it has are run through the National Park Service (park rangers and, in a few places like Washington D.C., New York, and San Francisco where there are national parks in urban environments, the U.S. Park Police)—and never got the general police job similarly-named departments got elsewhere.
  • The Railroad Commission of Texas is a powerful regulatory body that deals with the state's energy industry—oil and gas, certain mining operations (specifically coal and uranium), and some environmental laws. It does not, however, have any authority to regulate railroads.
    • Actually an Artifact Title—the body was founded in 1891 to regulate railroads, and expanded over time to also include the energy industry. It continued to regulate the state's railroads until 1984, when the federal government took over regulation of rail transportation.
  • At least two prominent historical Anarchist tracts were published under the title, "Down with the Anarchists!"
  • Selective Service, at least from the perspective of the person being selected, is neither selective nor a service.
  • The British "Special Air Service" (SAS) is actually part of the British Army, and not particularly involved in airborne operations (they can drop from both aeroplanes and helicopters, but it's not their primary task). It was named such at the unit's creation during World War II to make the Axis forces think it was a paratrooper regiment. For added fun, it was originally referred to as the "Special Air Service Regiment", in spite of not being, nor ever having been anywhere near, regiment strength.
  • 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".
  • At the time of SEAL Team Six's naming, there were only two US Navy SEAL teams - Commander Richard Marcinko intentionally named it "Six" to try to confuse Soviet intelligence into thinking there were more than that many such units.
  • Several of the United States District Courts have these names. Most prominent is probably the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, which is based in Los Angeles and whose jurisdiction is exclusively (or almost exclusively) in Southern California (depending on your definition of Southern California); the Southern District is based in San Diego. There are a few other choice ones; a good example would be the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, which, while indeed based further south of most of the State of New York (in Manhattan), it does not include the most southern point in the state (Staten Island, which is in the Brooklyn-based Eastern District of New York).
  • The Germans were incredibly fond of these as they started to subvert the Versailles Treaty. The "Troops Office" was ostensibly a human resources office and instead served as the high command until the Wehrmacht was formed. The next generation of U-boat crews were trained at the "Anti-Submarine Defense School" in Kiel, while the Luftwaffe readied its new pilots at the "commercial flying school" (which was run by German airline Lufthansa). It only got worse once the Nazis came to power, where a phone tapping headquarters was labelled as a "research office".
  • The House of Commons and Senate in Canada start every legislative session after the Queen's Speech from the Throne by introducing An Act respecting the Administration of Oaths of Office and An Act relating to Railways, respectively. Neither of these bills has anything to do with Oaths of Office or Railways. The text of both acts are nearly identical and basically say "We're discussing this bill to prove to that we're independent and don't have to follow Her Majesty's instructions if we don't want to. So there."
    • The Canadian practice stems from the practices of the British Houses of Parliament, where the Outlawries Bill (in the Commons) and Select Vestries Bill (in the Lords), which were at one point serious legislative proposals, have been used as totems of parliamentary independence for so many centuries that nobody is quite sure what the bills actually say anymore. There's a general consensus that the Outlawries Bill is a civil/criminal procedure measure intended to keep sneaky lawyers and corrupt/lazy local sheriffs from screwing you over if you failed to show up to court because they "forgot" to tell you you were being sued/prosecuted, but the details are sketchy enough that people still wonder about what the problem was and what the bill was supposed to do about it. The problem the Select Vestries bill was supposed to tackle (massive corruption in the Select Vestries, i.e. the Church of England councils that at the time handled both civil and church administration at the local level), is better understood, but how it was to do this is unclear, as the proposal does not at all resemble the way things actually ended up (with the abolition of the Select Vestries and the transfer of their civil and religious powers, respectively, to separate new bodies).
  • Low-level texts on The American Revolution often refer to the British Army's German auxiliaries as "Hessian mercenaries", neither of which is necessarily true. The British Army "borrowed" several regiments by entering into alliances with various German principalities in exchange for payment in cash or trade concessions (a somewhat shady but technically legal way of waging war). The Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel was one of these principalities, but not the only one. Moreover, the vast majority of Germans that fought for the British in America were not these, but rather loyal subjects of the Elector of Hannover, Duke Georg of Brunswick-Lüneburg, whose great-grandfather had inherited some islands off the coast of France when its council of nobles and leading commoners decided, after much deliberation, to prune the family tree of their royal family. As a result, Duke Georg was rather in the habit of calling himself "George III, King of Great Britain and Ireland..."
  • ISIS stands for the "Islamic State in Iraq and Syria", but the group has been denounced by Muslims around the world as contrary to the teachings of Islam note , and is not recognized by any other government as a legitimate State. They are in Iraq and Syria, though, so there's that.
  • Tanks were originally called land cruisers or landships, but the British government decided to call them "water tanks" during the development stage to fool any spies into believing that their purpose was to carry water around. The name "tank" stuck.
  • 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". And the current French word for "bullet" is balle.
  • German tank names:
    • Panzerkampfwagen VIII Maus. Now, with a name meaning "mouse" in German, you'd expect it to be a small light scout tank, right? Wrong. It is a 188-ton superheavy tank, the largest and heaviest tank ever built, with a 128mm and a 75mm coaxial gun, 200mm front/185mm side/160mm rear (with the turret having 240/210/210mm front/side/back respectively) armor. Who said Germans had a bad sense of humor? However this was done on purpose, so that the Allies wouldn't guess anything about the vehicle if they discovered the name, as the Germans had given away a couple of secrets earlier in the war by using code names that were too reflective of the actual devices or operations.
    • Landkreuzer P-1000 Ratte on the drawing board. A rat is slightly bigger than a mouse. The Ratte? Not so much. It was theoretically 1000 metric tons (in practice it would have been twice that) with two 280mm naval guns, a 128mm antitank gun, eight 20mm anti-aircraft guns and two 15mm heavy machine guns!
    • More "mundane" German AFV's got this naming treatment at the same time. Hummel means "bumblebee", and was the name initially given to a Self-Propelled Artillery gun. Rather amusingly in this instance, Hitler disapproved of the name because he felt calling an SPG "bumblebee" was a little inappropriate.
    • At the other end of the spectrum, Germany experimented with developing a small remote-controlled mobile bomb on tank treads. What did they call this little thing? Goliath.
  • A Claymore mine is not a sword.
    • Speaking of mines, the name originally referred, unsurprisingly, to mining, i.e. digging. An army could dig tunnels under fortifications to collapse the wall from below. Later, the tunnels were stuffed with explosives, and eventually the term began to refer to the explosive charge instead of the hole it was buried in. Now, it refers to many explosive devices that aren't even buried, like naval mines and the claymore.
  • Also, a Chicago Typewriter is not a typewriter, it is a nickname for the Thompson submachine gun (also known as the Tommy Gun). It was also not developed in Chicago, but Cleveland, Ohio. The "Chicago" in this instance refers to its use by gangsters in Chicago during the Prohibition era.
  • The Saturday Night Massacre was not a bloodbath. It was just the term used by political commentators to refer to President Richard Nixon's dismissal of the Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox, and as a result the protest resignations of Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus on October 20, 1973.
  • Reforms to the higher education sector in England proposed in 2017 involves establishing an Office for Students. It's not an university students' advocacy bureau; it's an unified higher education regulator.

     Political Parties 
  • 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 first recorded instance of the nickname being used was a mere ten years after the party's official founding. That being said, the party's current demographics tend to skew towards older voters.
  • In America, Democrats are also republicans and Republicans are democrats too: the names are perfectly interchangeable. Both were chosen to connote ideas that the whole American nation could get behind (democracy and republicanism), and therefore are not in the least bit indicative of each party's ideology.
    • Some historical context helps. One of the oldest political parties in the United States (started by Thomas Jefferson) was originally called the Republican Party, and soon it came to be known as the Democratic Republican Party. In the 1820s it split into factions, one of which called itself the Democratic Party. Three decades later a new party called the Republican Party was born, and it consciously based its name on the Democratic Party's original name, partly to suggest that it was the true heir to the party of Jefferson. While the names of the two parties may seem like arbitrary labels today, even by the late 19th century the term "democracy" was more closely associated with the Democrats than with the GOP, and the distinction between democracy and republic was thought to have at least some connection with the differing values of the two parties.
  • In the range of political positions one can safely take in China without running into thoughtcrime, the meaning of "left" and "right" are not necessarily indicative. In China, the two terms is defined by how close that position is to the prevalent ideology during the Cultural Revolution, as the latter is seen to be extreme-left. While this would be correct on economic affairs, it would also mean social authoritarianism is defined as being "left", while elsewhere this would be seen as a right-wing position.
  • The Liberal Democratic Party of Japan is the nation's main conservative party, with ideology that tends to be quite similar to the US Republican Party. Its name is particularly confusing to most English-speakers because in the United States a "Liberal Democrat" is a member of the left-wing faction of the Democratic Party, while in the United Kingdom the Liberal Democrats are the most centrist of the three major parties.
  • The Liberal Party of Australia is the nation's primary conservative party. From an Australian perspective, this isn't quite so unusual, as "liberalism" in Australia normally refers to what most Americans would call "libertarianism".
  • Spanish "Partido Popular" (People's Party) is not leftist at all, being the main conservative/right party of said country. This happened in the past too when they were named "Alianza Popular" (Popular Alliance).
  • In British Columbia provincial politics, the main conservative party is called the British Columbia Liberal Party (or BC Liberals), which is considered further to the right on social and economic policies than the federal Liberal Party of Canada and arguably closer to the Conservative Party of Canada (though the party itself describes itself as a "coalition" of federal Liberals and federal Conservatives united in opposition to the provincial NDP — unlike in every other province, there has not been a viable, explicitly "conservative" provincial party in decades). Similarly, the Quebec Liberal Party leans to the centre-right, although it also acts as a catch-all federalist party, having been lead by a former federal Tory leader, and being the previous political home of the current leader of the federal New Democratic Party.
  • Many Portuguese parties have names leftier than their ideologies, especially 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 Centre – People's Party (CDS–PP) is the most right-wing party represented in 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 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 the 1980s, when the Soviet Union was slowly crumbling apart and "liberal" and "democratic" were buzzwords of instant political success.
  • The "Venstre" (Left) party in Denmark is the largest centre-right party. In the 19th century, it was the largest left-wing party, representing the interests of the liberal (in the sense of pro-democracy and capitalist) bourgeoisie, standing against "Højre" ("Right"), which represented the landed gentry and opposed democratic reform. Eventually, the rise of the Danish working classes led to the establishment of the Social Democrats, who were left of Left, and today Venstre usually finds itself governing in coalition with the descendant party of Højre more often than not. Norway has a centrist liberal party called "Venstre" (same meaning) of similar origins.
  • The Danish political party "Radikale Venstre" (Radical Left) is possibly the most centrist party in Danish politics. This is because it was the breakaway of the left wing of the aforementioned Venstre—but since Venstre was by then centre-right, its left wing was at most slightly centre-left and most typically just centrist.
  • Mexico's right-wing Institutional Revolutionary Party has a name containing contradictory terms, so does that of the left-wing Party of the Democratic Revolution.
  • France's "Radical Party of the Left" sounds like it should be more left-wing than the main centre-left party, the Socialist Party. While it is left-leaning it is actually one of the most moderate left-wing parties, being even closer to the political centre than parties that advocate social democracy. It is actually the left-wing splinter group of the "Radical Party"—today a centrist party that sat somewhat uncomfortably in the rightist coalition and actually split off with a number of other centrist parties in that coalition to form another moderate one.

     Items 
  • A minigun sounds like a Little Useless Gun but is in fact a very powerful multi-barreled, rapid fire gun. The name actually means that the gun is a scaled down (rifle caliber, 7.62mm) rotary gun of the standard aircraft 20mm (Vulcan) cannon (cannon shells can explode, gun bullets don't... usually), but it's still confusing to people who don't know. Lampshaded by Serious Sam:
    Sam Stone: "If this is a minigun, I wonder what a maxigun is!"
  • 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." By the same token, popular literature that involved dark, violent, and sexual themes was dubbed "gothic literature," and provided the basis for the "Goth" subculture.
  • In the series of woodblock prints, ''Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji" by Hokusai, there are actually 46 prints.
  • The letter W (doubleyou) is actually a double V. Usually.note  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. In modern electric cars, it controls the flow of electrons. Its official name is the "accelerator", which is a perfectly indicative 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. (Also, graphite looks more than a bit like lead; they both have the same dark gray color.) Writing with literal lead is a good way to get lead poisoning.
  • 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.
  • The Panama hat is made in Ecuador. Before the construction of the Panama Canal, many South American goods were shipped to the Isthmus of Panama before they were loaded on ships bound for other parts of the world. As a result, the hats were named for the point from which they were sold to North America and Europe, instead of their place of origin. The name "Panama hat" is known to have been used in 1834.
  • 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.
  • Genres of fiction called "operas" (such as space operas, soap operas and the now-obscure horse operas) typically contain no singing at all. The "opera" in the name refers to the formulaic and melodramatic storylines being considered similar to those found in operas. Also, "soap operas" were not about soap. The name refers to the kind of advertising on the original U.S. radio soap operas in the 1920s and 30s; because they aired during the daytime, these melodramatic serials usually aired commercials targeted at housewives, of which soaps and other cleaning products were most common.
  • Those unfamiliar with (American) Civil War firearms and slang would be surprised to learn that "minnie" balls: A: Were pretty darn big (usually .50 to .60 caliber) and B: Were conical (pointed cones). The first part of the name is a corruption of the name of its French inventor, Claude Minié (pronounced something like "min-nay" by Americans). The second, well it just rolled off the tongue—mini-cones doesn't have the same ring...
  • 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.
  • A ten-gallon hat will only hold three quarts of liquid.
  • The green room in show business is almost never actually green.
    • The green room at the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest was not only not green, but also not actually a room (it was a small part of a very large room).
  • "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.
    • Probably at least partly because of the above, the chemical symbol for silver is "Ag", from the Latin argentum — which actually means "white" or "shining".
  • The "Bush differential analyzer" performs integration, and does so entirely by synthesis.
  • Floppy disk 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 (which is about 1.41 binary megabytes).
    • 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. Well, the magnetic disc itself is floppy, but it is encased in solid plastic for protection.
    • 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 KiB.
  • 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.)
  • Duct tape is great for lots of things, but it stinks for sealing ducts.
  • 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."
    • As of Dec. 2013, there are rumors it may return.
  • India ink, or Indian ink, was invented in China. The name comes from the fact that materials used to make it were often imported from India.
  • Chinese checkers were invented in Germany, and they are not checkers. The name is a marketing term from the U.S.
    • The game of halma, which is similar (especially in game mechanics) to but not isomorphic with Chinese Checkers (it's played on a square board instead of a six-pointed star), is sometimes erroneously called "Chinese Checkers" by manufacturers, probably because they believe that to be the "English translation" of halma.
  • As some people remarked, "the glove box is the storage compartment in your car where you store anything except gloves".
  • Radio Times magazine also has TV times.
  • Credit cards, loyalty cards, and so on are made from plastic, not card.
    • Although, the first examples of general use credit cards, such as Diner's Club, were paper cards. Early store specific credit cards were metal plates embossed with the account holder's name (and possibly an account number of some sort) and were usually kept on file at the store.
  • Blackboard chalk is made out of plaster of Paris.
    • Which, incidentally, wasn't invented in Paris.
    • Many chalkboards are colored green but are still informally called "blackboards".
  • Rice paper is made out of tree pith.
  • RAID drives. RAID originally stood for "Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks", with the "I" now standing for "Independent", but since the point of a RAID array is fault tolerance, RAID drives are more expensive than ordinary hard drives of the same capacity as they are manufactured to higher standards.
  • The Turbo button on older PCs actually slowed down the computer to play games designed for slower computers.
  • An airplane's "black box" (the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder designed to theoretically survive any crash so as to provide info about the accident to investigators) isn't black — per regulations, it's bright orange to make it easier to spot in the wreckage of a crash.

     Law enforcement 
  • It's not uncommon in police departments for a detective to be assigned to cases beyond matters that their job title would suggest.
  • That season 3 subplot of The Wire where Bunk Moreland is saddled with tracking down Kenneth Dozerman's stolen police gun isn't far from reality. As shown in David Simon's book Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets, its TV series adaptation, and The Wire, the Baltimore Police Department's Homicide Unit does investigate murders and any other unexplained deaths that take place within Baltimore. But that's not all they do: they are also responsible for investigating all police-related shootings, and, because the homicide unit is generally regarded as containing the best detectives on the police force, they are often given high-profile cases which are not necessarily homicides.
  • In most police departments, the 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).

     Living Things - Animals 
  • Guinea pig is not a pig (it's a rodent) and it's not from Guinea (it's from South America).
    • The guinea pig bears a porcine name in many European languages, Chinese and Russian - the German name (from which several other languages derived their name) is Meerschweinchen ("sea piglet"), Russian similarly morskaya svinka ("sea pig"), the French sometimes call it cochon d'Inde ("Indian pig"), Italians similarly call it porcellino d'India ("Indian piglet"), a Chinese name is hélánzhū ("Holland pigs")... apparently, guinea pigs came from everywhere but South America. English guinea pig fanciers, especially breeders, also use the name cavy, but outside of those circles no one knows what it means.
    • The Spanish term "conejillo de Indias" ("little rabbit of the Indies") is also iffy. Although the animal did originate in the Western Indies (which is what the Americas were called at the time), it's not particularly closely related to rabbits.
      • 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)
      • All of this goes to explain Frank Sidebottom's claim that they are worth £1.05. In other words, one pound and one shilling, or, in other words, a Guinea. Well, it's a sort of explanation.
      • Also, they kind of sound like high-pitched pigs.
  • As with the guinea pig, the muskrat isn't a rat at all — its nearest relatives are lemmings and voles.
    • Neither are moonrats, which aren't even rodents — their closest relatives are hedgehogs.
    • Field mice are not mice either. They're more accurately called the meadow vole.
  • 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 thought similar to the Guinea fowl: a bird imported to Europe from Africa via the Ottoman Empire, hence popularly called "turkey" before the North American bird was!
    • 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".
    • The Dutch took a similar approach, naming the bird kalkoen, named after the Indian city of Calicut (modern day Kozhikode). The Dutch name was later adapted in Danish, Estonian, Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish.
    • Arabic presents a rather interesting one, as it's called Dajāj Rūmī: "Byzantine Chicken"note —except not. Rūm (also spelled Roum) is an old Arabic term for the part of the Byzantine Empire lying in Anatolia; it is derived from "Rome," as the Byzantine Greeks who lived there called themselves "Roman." So Dajaj Roumi 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, they got close, but no cigar: they call it Peru, because the colonizers thought the bird came from the eponymous country (neighbor to its then-colony, Brazil). Although the bird is native to the Americas, it is from North America: the birds had been brought to Peru from Mexico (either through pre-Columbian trade with Mesoamerican civilizations like the Aztecs and the Mayanote  or by the Spaniards).
    • In Turkey itself, it is called Hindi, "the Indian," or "the American bird."
  • 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 big antlions.
    • 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 horses are in the order Perissodactyla, while the hippo is in the order 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'."
    • The word "hippo" therefore literally means "horse".
    • In Afrikaans, it is seekoei, "sea cow" - wrong in both family and water body inhabited.
  • These are -fish which are all invertebrate and thus not possibly fish.
    • Crayfish: A crustacean. The name evolved from French écrevisse.
    • 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.
    • The sandfish, although a vertebrate, is a desert-dwelling lizard.
  • Velvet worms aren't worms, and also aren't made of velvet (they are covered in a velvety coat of hair, though).
  • 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 sparrowhawks and pigeonhawks 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.
  • Puffinus puffinus is the scientific name for the Manx shearwater bird.
  • White tigers have black and white fur.
  • In the human body, the small intestine is much longer than the large intestine. The names come from their width, not their length. (to the point in many languages their names are actually "thin" and "thick" intestine)
  • The funny bone is not particularly amusing, and is technically not even a bone, as it's the idiomatic name for the ulnar nerve located in the elbow. It does cause a funny (as in strange) sensation when you hit it, though. It's most likely called that what with being at the joint of the ulna and humerus.
  • Sea cucumbers are animals, not squash.
  • 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 "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.
  • From QI:
    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. They are also called brown rats, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Both the black and the white rhinoceroses are gray. Its not really known where the term came from, but its suggested that white rhinos got their name from a mis-translation of the dutch word "wijd" meaning "wide" (referring to the shape of its mouth). Black rhinos are so named to differentiate them from the white rhinos.
  • Most anteaters eat nothing but termites. They do eat ants, it's just that termites are easier to find.
    • 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.
    • Electric eels are a species of knifefish, making them more closely related to catfishes than to true eels.
  • The Cane Toad is occasionally referred to as the Marine Toad and has the scientific name Rhinella marinanote , 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).
    • In English, quolls have also been referred to as "spotted marten", "spotted opossum" (although opossums aren't even dasyurids), "native cats" and "tiger cats" (although they resemble cats only in size and personality, and look more like very large rats with polka dots). The name "quoll" is from one of the Aboriginal lannguages, and was reintroduced in the 1960s.
    • Similarly, in Chinese, the word for kangaroo, dài shǔ, literally translates as "sack rat" or "bag rat", in reference to the (female's) pouch, and an alleged rodent-like face.
  • 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.
  • Most animals with "crabeater" in their name only consume crabs occasionally or hardly at all.
    • Crabeater macaques eat mostly fruits and seeds.
    • 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.
    • In England, 'ladybugs' are called 'ladybirds'. They are not birds, and only half of them are female.
  • 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 boreoeutherian mammals (to give you an idea, humans are more closely related to mice than either is to bats).note  Nor are bats bald.
    • Likewise, the German for "bat" is "fledermaus" - "flying mouse".
    • Same in Russian, the two-word term for "bat" literally means "flying mouse". Now imagine some of the older translations of Batman movies (e.g. Batman's "flying mouse car").
  • "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. To make things even more confusing, not only do the theropods ("beast-feet") not only have birdlike feet, they actually include include all birds (birds are descended from maniraptoran theropod dinosaurs).
    • Similarly, ornithischian (bird-hipped) dinosaurs were not the ancestors of birds, which in fact are descended from saurischian (lizard-hipped) dinosaurs. In fairness, the ornithischians' hips really were birdlike, and the similarity is the result of convergent evolution; indeed, birdlike hips evolved among dinosaurs not once, not twice, not three times, but four times.
  • Scientific names of fossil organisms can become non-indicative artifact titles if Science Marches On.
    • The suffix -saurus comes from the Greek word for 'lizard', but many dinosaurs and other forms of prehistoric life unrelated to lizards have that suffix in their name. A famous example is Basilosaurus ("king lizard"), which turned out not to be a lizard at all but a whale. It's also unrelated to "thesaurus" even though both are Greek words.
    • Pentaceratops ("five-horned face") in reality only had three horns. The other two are actually its large epijugals (those bumps on the side of its head, at the base of the frill) which in older pictures were made to look like genuine pointy horns.
    • Oviraptor, which means "egg thief", was first discovered as a skull laying atop a nest of what were at the time believed to have been Protoceratops eggs back in the 1920's. Its large beak was thus interpreted as a tool used for cracking open eggs, and from there the assumption was made that Oviraptor mostly ate the eggs of other dinosaurs. It's specific name, philoceratops, which means "lover of ceratopsians" also plays into this theory. But it was later discovered that the eggs in question were Oviraptor eggs, and the adult dinosaur likely died while incubating them. While there is nothing to indicate that Oviraptor didn't eat eggs, the theory that they were a cornerstone of its diet and behavior has since been discredited. One theory is that they may have subsisted on a diet of shellfish, and a mostly intact skeleton was discovered to have the remains of a small lizard where its stomach would most likely be.
  • As explained by Russell Coight, "As their name implies, saltwater crocs are found in salt water, but they are also found in freshwater, which is not what their name implies. It just goes to show, they're not to be trusted."
  • Koalas are nicknamed "Australian sloths" because of their behaviour, but they are completely unrelated to sloths.
  • Sinosaurus triassicus is a Jurassic dinosaur.
  • Black mambas are gray, but this name is only confusing, not truly wrong. The word "mamba" means mouth, and the inside of a black mamba's mouth is black, although the rest of the snake isn't. Ironically, green mambas are green, but their mouths aren't!
  • A firefly. Not only does it not actually emit fire, it's not even a fly. It's actually a winged beetle that produces a cold light due to a type of chemical reaction, now believed in order to attract mates.
  • Two-toed sloths are better termed "two-fingered sloths" since they have three toes on each hindfoot.
  • Great white sharks are mostly gray, but they do have a white underside.
  • The Goliath Birdeater was only once observed to eat a bird, and many other tarantula species with the name "birdeater" have never been observed eating birds. To top it off, most of the "birdeater" species of tarantula aren't any more closely related to each other than any other species of tarantula; it's just a fancy way of saying they get really big.
    • Many species of tarantula are named after minor aspects of their coloration which some don't even retain into adulthood. For example the Salmon Pink Birdeater would be better described as the "jet black with some salmon pink highlighters spider that does not eat birds."
    • None of the tarantula species that actually do eat birds have birdeater in their name as they are rather average in size as far as tarantulas go.
    • And on top of that, even the name "tarantula" is misleading. The first spider to be called a "tarantula" was Lycosa tarantula, also known as the "tarantula wolf spider", which was named after the Italian town of Taranto. It was then applied to any large, unknown species of ground-dwelling spider, which naturally applied to many of the spiders found in the remote corners of the New World. Eventually, this was narrowed down to the infraorder Mygalomorphae and further down to the family Theraphosidae. Not only is their namesake thousands of miles away across the Atlantic ocean, but wolf spiders and tarantulas don't look anything like each other.
  • Tarantula hawks are not hawks or even birds, they are wasps. The name is intended to be more poetic.
  • Cockroaches are insects that have nothing to do with cocks or roaches. The name comes from Spanish cucaracha.
  • Some have fewer, some have more, but no centipede actually has 100 legs. Similarly, the most legs any millipede has is 750, still some way short of 1000.
  • Jack rabbits are not actually rabbits they are a species of hare.
  • Vultur gryphus is the Andean condor, not the griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus).
  • Olive warblers aren't olive-colored, nor are they warblers. The warbler part was a case of Science Marches On, since they were originally thought to be warblers, but the olive part really has no excuse.
  • Treeshrews aren't shrews (they're more closely related to primates) and are mostly terrestrial.
  • Plantain-eaters mostly eat figs.
  • Fossa fossana is the Malagasy civet, not the fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox).
  • The extinct Smilodon is often called "saber-tooth tiger", but they were as much related to tigers as today's domestic cats.
  • Vampyroteuthis infernalis, better known as the vampire squid, is not a squid nor an octopus. It is in fact the only surviving species of the cephalopod order Vampyromorphida. They also do not suck blood, instead eating bits of organic matter and small invertebrates.
  • The paper nautilus is an octopus.
  • Spanish fly (Lytta vesicatoria) is a beetle, not a fly.
  • Glass snakes and slow worms are not snakes and worms, respectively. They are both types of lizards with reduced or absent limbs.
  • Varanosaurus (literally "monitor lizard") was more closely related to mammals than to lizards.
  • Megaloceros, the Irish elk, is actually more closely related to fallow deer than to elk. Also, it lived throughout Eurasia rather than just Ireland.
  • Russian Blue cats are blue-grey in colour, not pure blue.
  • Red pandas are not pandas. They're more closely related to weasels, raccoons and skunks.
    • In this case the name is because it was once thought that they were related. Pandas formerly were believed to not be true bears and that they were more related to raccoons. Pandas and red pandas have similar cute bodies and faces and they also both have a bone protrusion on their wrists that they can use like thumbs and they also both eat bamboo so it is easy to see how they could have been mistaken for relatives.
  • A water bear is not an aquatic ursine mammal, but another name for a tardigrade, a water-dwelling, eight-legged, segmented micro-animal. They're also known as moss piglets, which is also non-indicative, as they're not related to pigs either, and they probably don't live in moss.
  • Waterscorpions are not scorpions, they're insects, though they do superficially resemble scorpions. Their proper name is nepidae and they're also called needle bugs or water stick insects.
  • Manatees are also known as "sea cows" - even if the most marine they get is coastal - or in Portuguese, "bullfish", fitting the "-fish" even if it's a mammal. That's also true of the order name Sirenia, as it was mistaken for a mermaid.
  • Black bears aren't always black. They come in brown, red, blond, blue, and even white, too.
  • Red foxes aren't always red either. The silver fox is a variety of red fox that is neither red nor silver. It actually is mostly black with some white blended in.
  • There also are several canines that have fox in their name that are not actually foxes. This includes the crab-eating fox, the island fox, the grey fox, all of the South American foxesnote , and the bat-eared fox, although the bat-eared fox is very closely related to true foxes. note 
  • Flying foxes are actually large fruit bats. They get their name because their heads resemble that of a fox's, including an elongated muzzle and triangular ears.
  • The Raccoon dog, also known as the Tanuki, is neither a raccoon nor a dog. It actually is very closely related to true foxes. It gets it name from it having markings and behavior similar to a raccoon. Tanuki is often incorrectly translated as Raccoon.
  • The bala shark is actually on the opposite end of the spectrum - it is a minnow, not a shark.
  • Sockeye salmon do not wear socks. When engaged in a salmon run, salmon (having no legs) don't "run", they rush.
  • Fainting goats are goats with a disorder that causes them to fall over when they are startled. They aren't actually fainting as they aren't losing consciousness, but are just suffering brief paralysis.
  • The geoduck (pronounced "gooey duck"), also called the mud duck, isn't a duck. It is a species of clam. A better name for it is king clam or elephant-trunk clam (the "trunk" is actually a siphon).
  • You'll sometimes hear hyenas called "hyena dogs". Hyenas are actually more closely related to cats.
  • The Pharaoh Hound has nothing to do with Ancient Egypt. Its name was the "Maltese Rabbit Dog" until the late 1960s. A British fan of the breed renamed it a more "romantic" sounding name as he thought the original name didn't fit the breeds elegance enough. As their original name implies, the breed originates from the Malta region. The new name comes from images of Pharaoh Hound-like dogs on Ancient Egyptian carvings and paintings. It was assumed that these were Pharaoh Hounds due to their similarities and due to trades between the region, however there is no evidence of the fact besides "These dogs look like those dogs."
  • Killer whales (Orcas) are not whales — they're the world's biggest dolphins. The term is actually a mistranslation of the Spanish "asesina ballenas" — whale killer, which, given the predator's hunting skills and prey of choice, would be 100% accurate.

     Living Things - Other 
  • Very few things referred to as berries actually are, and a few things that aren't called berries should be. Strawberry, blackberry, boysenberry, mulberry and raspberry are not (botanically) even "false" berries. True berries include, as well as gooseberries and elderberries, tomatoes, grapes, eggplant, watermelon, 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. (Some of these, or very similar ones, do still exist. One, aptly named "Easter Egg," even produces fruit about the size (and shape, and color) of an actual chicken 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.
    • 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. The name comes ultimately from Arabic "al" (the) plus baigan, the name of the vegetable in most of South and West Asia, making "the aubergine" yet another redundancy.
  • 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, bell pepper) 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. In fairness to Columbus, however, small chilis do look a bit similar to long pepper, which was popular in Europe at that time.
  • 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.
  • Spanish moss is neither Spanish nor a moss, but a bromeliad related to pineapples.
  • Cyanobacteria used to be called "blue-green algae", but because their cells are bacteria-like in anatomy, they are obviously no longer called "algae".
    • Similarly, archaebacteria are no longer considered bacteria. Which makes the name brilliant.
    • 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 fungi at all, but protists.
  • 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 Don't 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 are 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 note ).
    • 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  and granatumnote ).
    • They are superficially similar enough to both that the name is understandable.
  • 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.
    • They are at least fruits, although how this is supposed to distinguish them from grapes is anybody's guess.
  • Poison ivy is not ivy, poison oak is not oak, and poison sumac is not (ordinary) sumac (but see below). 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 all be considered species of sumac or a separate genus of their own. (Either way, poison sumac is not the same as the kinds of sumac used as a tart spice in Middle Eastern cooking.)
  • The name "Rose of Sharon" has been applied to several species of crocus, tulip, lily, and hibiscus; it's basically every type of flower except a rose.
  • French marigolds are not from France, or anywhere near there. African marigolds, similarly, have nothing to do with Africa. Both of these marigold varieties are native to the Americas.
  • Horse chestnut is not closely related to chestnut (it's far closer to maple that to true chestnut), nor it has anything to do with horses (except that the name possibly comes from the Old English use of "horse" to mean "coarse").
  • The century plant blooms every five to ten years in favorable climates, and at least every sixty years even in poor conditions.
  • The spurge-laurel, which is neither a spurge nor a laurel.
  • The Jerusalem cherry has nothing to do with Jerusalem, or any part of the Middle East, for that matter. It is native to Peru. It is also not related to cherries; it's more closely related to the cherry tomato. (Although unlike the tomato, the Jerusalem cherry's fruits are mildly poisonous.)
  • The bacteria Haemophilus influenzae does not cause the disease influenza. The bacteria was originally isolated from an influenza patient and the illness was mistakenly attributed to it (influenza is actually a viral disease).
  • Banana trees aren't actually trees. They are a type of herb.

     People 
  • 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."
  • The name "Pennsylvania Dutch" (descended from German, not Dutch immigrants) and nicknames like "Dutch Schultz" (of German-Jewish descent) are actually subversions of this trope. The English word "Dutch" was taken from the German word for "German" ("Deutsch" in Modern High German, "Dütsch" or "Düütsch" in Modern Low German), which in itself is derived from the Germanic word for "people" also present in names like Theodoric, Detlef and Dieter). In the middle ages and early modern times, the English word "Dutch" referred to all kinds of German-speakers from the Holy Roman Empire, and one even distinguished between "High Dutch" (High German) and "Low Dutch" (Low German and the dialect that later became what is now called the Dutch language). Later on, "Dutch" came to be narrowed down to the Dutch living closest to Britain, i. e. the inhabitants of the Low Countries, the northern provinces of which formed a nation of their own as the United Provinces of the Netherlands and officially left the Holy Roman Empire in 1648. So it is actually the current primary meaning of Modern English "Dutch" (pertaining to the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the West Germanic language spoken there and in Belgium) which is non-indicative. In Dutch the word "duits" means "German".
  • If an Amish person calls somebody "English", they mean "non-Amish". It has nothing to do with England.
  • "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".) They are only petite in comparison to standard runway models, who are generally around 6 feet tall.
  • "Plus size" models usually wear US clothing sizes 8 to 12. Most clothing manufacturers start plus sizes at size 14.
  • 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.
  • Legendary film director Norman Jewison (In the Heat of the Night, Fiddler on the Roof) was raised, and still is, Protestant.
  • The surname Ashkenazi is a Sephardi Jewish name.
  • 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.
  • "Caucasian". Where to start? Casual definition now regards the word to mean someone who have refined facial structure, body shape, skin color, and hair, etc, etc, or worse, using it to mean someone with a European descent only. As opposed to simply mean, y'know, someone from...the Caucasus.
    • The word ceased to be a scientific term for race long ago. Nowadays, the word is only used in linguistics, mostly to denote such language families as "Northwest Caucasian" or "Northeast Caucasian" for the lack of a better word. This creates a somewhat awkward situation as the speakers of those languages are culturally closer to Central Asians and Middle Easterns, not to mention being mostly Muslims, all of which are characteristics of what "Orientalism" supposed to mean. They're Orientals, and thus not Europeans, and thus not Caucasians. Therefore, the Caucasians are not Caucasians.
  • Dutch DJ Afrojack is not named Jack, nor does he have an afro.
  • 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.
    • This can itself be problematic, since strictly speaking, "native American" means anyone who was born in the Americas. One episode of The Simpsons played with this confusion. Also played absolutely straight in a Orson Scott Card story, in which aboriginal Americans refer to those descended from settlers as "Europeans".
  • The Nez Perce Indians take their name from a French phrase meaning "pierced nose", but they have never traditionally pierced their noses for ornamentation. They got the name because Lewis and Clark's interpreter confused them with a different tribe (likely the Chinook tribe) that did pierce their noses.
  • Played straight by half of pretty much everyone. Almost every name - first, middle, and last - is derived from words native to that area or the area the family comes from. Some are obvious, (Faith, Summer, etc.) and others require some digging (Tristan - sadness/rioting). How applicable a particular name is varies from person to person.
  • In 1958, Robert Lane and his wife, African Americans living in a housing project in Harlem, decided to name their newborn son Winner. Three years later, they had their seventh and last child, also a son, and he decided to give him the name Loser. Fast forward 40-plus years. One of the two earned a scholarship to a prep school, graduated from a well-regarded college, and became a distinguished NYC cop. The other's main claim to fame is a very long criminal record, with more than 30 arrests and likely quite a few convictions. As you might guess from its listing in this trope, the cop is Loser (more often "Lou") and the criminal is Winner.
  • Actress Kim Director has no directing credits.

     Places 
  • 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?"
  • A pizza place in Columbus, Ohio is called Catfish Biff's, "We ain't got no fish!"
  • Likewise, the infamous Café Mountain in Nagoya, Japan, despite hailing from a country full of mountains, is not located anywhere remotely near any of them.
  • 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 Mecklenberg County, the county that contains 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.
    • Indianapolis Motor Speedway is not located in Indianapolis, Indiana proper, but an enclave within the city known as Speedway. Given that the city of Speedway is surrounded by the city of Indianapolis, this example splits hairs somewhat, but still.
  • Many pro sports teams are not based in the cities they represent, but bordering suburbs.
    • The NFL has several examples.
      • The Washington Redskins currently play at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, and have their offices and practice facilities in northern Virginia.
      • The New York Giants and New York Jets don't play in New York City OR New York State (unless they're playing the Buffalo Bills on the road); their shared home ground at MetLife Stadium (and the former site of its predecessor, Giants Stadium) is in East Rutherford, New Jersey (this has led combative New Jersey governor Chris Christie to refer to the Jets as the "Jersey Jets" on at least one occasion). Both teams did originate in New York City, however,note  making their names Artifact Titles.
      • The Buffalo Bills play in the suburb of Orchard Park.
      • The Miami Dolphins do play in a city with the word "Miami", but it's Miami Gardens.
      • With the opening of Levi's Stadium, the San Francisco 49ers now play in Santa Clara, which is closer to San Jose than it is to San Francisco.
      • The Dallas Cowboys haven't played in the Big D itself ever since they left the Cotton Bowl in 1971 (Texas Stadium was in Irving, the current one is Arlington).
    • The NBA lost its most recent example of this trope when the Detroit Pistons moved in 2017 from The Palace of Auburn Hills in the city's far northwest suburbs to Little Caesars Arena in Midtown Detroit.
      • However, its sister league, the WNBA, has one or two as of its next season in 2018, depending on how many hairs you split. There's no doubt about the Dallas Wings, who play in Arlington. The hair-splitting comes with the team that's moving to Las Vegas for the 2018 season. Assuming that it will use the "Las Vegas" name, it won't play in the city limits, but rather next door in the unincorporated community of Paradise. That said, however, all locations in Paradise have a Las Vegas mailing address, and most locals call the entire built-up area "Las Vegas" regardless of city limits.
    • Major League Soccer has just as many examples as the NFL.
      • The Chicago Fire play in Bridgeview, Illinois.
      • The New York Red Bulls, like the Giants and Jets, play in New Jersey, but have their own home stadium in Harrison.
      • The Philadelphia Union play in Chester, Pennsylvania.
      • FC Dallas plays in Frisco.
      • The LA Galaxy play in Carson.
      • Real Salt Lake play in Sandy (although "Salt Lake" could just as easily refer to Salt Lake County or the Great Salt Lake as well as Salt Lake City).
    • Finally averted by the team now known as the Arizona Coyotes in the 2014 offseason. They had been playing as the Phoenix Coyotes in the suburb of Glendale since December 2003. (The Coyotes had played in Phoenix from 1996, when they arrived from Winnipeg, until moving to Glendale.)
    • Zig-zagged by the Cleveland Cavaliers. They originally played in the Cleveland Arena until it was torn down in 1974, then they played in Richfield, almost an hour south, for 20 years. However, Gund Arena (now Quicken Loans Arena or "The Q") was built in downtown Cleveland in 1994, and the Cavs have been playing in Cleveland proper ever since.
    • Also zig-zagged by the San Jose Earthquakes of MLS. They started out playing at Spartan Stadium on the campus of San Jose State University. After the 2005 season, the team left for Houston (becoming the Dynamo), but left their history behind for a new ownership group that emerged in 2007. When the Quakes resumed play in 2008, they played most of their home games in Santa Clara, with occasional big games in other Bay Area cities, but none in San Jose proper. Finally, in 2015, they returned to their namesake city with the opening of Avaya Stadium.
    • The Atlanta Braves' 2017 move to SunTrust Park in Cobb County played with the trope. While the Braves no longer play in the city proper, the new stadium has an Atlanta address.note 
    • Inglewood was home to the Los Angeles Lakers and Kings (at the Forum) and will be that for the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers once their stadium is ready.
  • 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 - it attracts the north poles of compass magnets.
  • 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 (or Linda Richman), 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. Yet they still referred to themselves as the Roman Empirenote , although others generally called them by names such as "Empire of the Greeks".
  • 7-Eleven's name originally referred to them being open between 7 AM to 11 PM, but now most locations are open 24/7, so it's become an Artifact Title.
  • 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".
  • The Democratic People's Republic of Korea is not democratic, it's not ruled by the people, it's not a republicnote  and it doesn't even cover the whole of the Korean Peninsula, making the name a quadruple whammy.
  • 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 Pleasant Grove neighborhood in Dallas County is anything but pleasant most of the time. A Mesquite high school teacher once compared a video of the Chinese military firing their automatic weapons to "Pleasant Grove on a Saturday night".
  • 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, but is in Winston-Salem, which is over 100 miles away. 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 originally 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 Arizona Cardinals play. It's also not even in Phoenix, but Glendale.
  • The same is true of Cooley Law School Stadium. Law schools do not field official intercollegiate athletics teams (some have unofficial club softball teams, but that's it). Instead, the law school just bought the naming rights to the stadium where the Lansing Lugnuts (a minor-league baseball team) play (it was previously Oldsmobile Park; since Oldsmobile no longer exists, they needed to change the name, and the law school stepped in).
  • Italy's Naples and Russia's Novgorod are among the oldest cities in their respective countries. Both of their names mean "new city".
  • Pont Neuf ("brand-new bridge") in Paris is the oldest bridge of the city.
  • New College is actually the oldest extant college in Oxford University.
  • Kyoto (literally "capital city") is no longer the capital of Japan. It is, however, the capital of the Kyoto Prefecture.
  • 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. Originally, Rhode Island referred only to a moderately large island in Narragansett Bay. The mainland settlements were known as Providence Plantations. Officially, "Rhode Island" is the island, and the formal name of the state is "Rhode Island and Providence Plantations". In general usage, "Rhode Island" refers to the state, and the island is known as Aquidneck Island.
  • 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.
  • The country of Greenland is icy (with some green spots), while neighboring Iceland is green (with some icy spots).
  • 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—that's why it's called the Kansas City Shuffle.)
  • Orange and Orange County in California in modern times. They used to grow oranges there.
  • The Canary Isles are named after a seal (origin. lat. Insula Canaria or "isles of seals"). The name of the bird is derived from the name of the isles.
  • 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 Iowa city of 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.)
  • Somewhat similarly to Yeovil Junction, New Jersey Transit's Secaucus Junction station, while actually within the formal boundary of Secaucus, but pretty far away from everything of significance in Secaucus, and also not actually a formal railroad junction: trains can't switch between lines there. That said, it was built with the specific purpose of allowing passengers to change trains, and in fact has no less than eight lines (and potentially as many as eleven, depending on how you define a "line") serving it.
  • Despite its name, the majority (55%) of The London Underground tracks aren't actually underground. Some stations even have platforms above street level.
  • About 40% of the New York City Subway's tracks are aboveground.
  • The Chicago L isn't entirely elevated. Every line has segments of tie-and-ballast running, a few lines have grade crossings, and the Red and Blue Lines run in subways through downtown Chicago (although they have elevated segments outside of downtown).
  • On a similar note; the Rotterdam Metro runs mostly above ground, on elevated rails and stations and a significant part of it's infrastructure isn't located in Rotterdam. Not that Metro (short for "metropolitan") actually indicates above or below ground.
  • And for Hamburg: the train is called U-Bahn (sub-train), it's company Hochbahn (high-train) and the actual location... varies, even on the same line.
  • 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 whopping 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.
  • The Niagara Peninsula is not actually a peninsula, but rather an isthmus.
  • 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".)
  • Almost anyone titled Prince/Duke/etc. of some place that isn't an independent nation probably doesn't even have the nominal authority that the ruler of a typical constitutional monarchy has. For example, the Prince of Wales has no particular authority or responsibilities in Wales beyond what he has across the kingdom as a whole, which officially isn't much but in practice is a pretty impressive amount of fundraising and awareness campaigning for various causes.
  • Every now and then, you will find a ring road that's actually a half-ring.
  • A common joke in the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte is that the borough of Funcionários ("workers") is populated by millionaires, and Milionários ("millionaires") is filled with workers.
  • We should note, at this juncture, that "Upper" and "Lower" is a common subversion of this trope: although seemingly nonindicative, the terminology fits because usually "Upper" and "Lower" regions refer to where they are on a river: "Upper" being upstream and "Lower" being downstream, irrespective of where they are in respect to the cardinal directions (north, south, east, and west). Because water always flows from higher elevation to lower elevation, this generally means that "Upper" regions are geographically "above" the "Lower" ones from an altitude standpoint.
    • The German states of Saxony and Lower Saxony do not border each other, and Saxony is southeast of Lower Saxony, with Saxony-Anhalt located between them and bordering both. Of course, Lower Saxony is downriver of Saxony on the River Elbe.
    • Upper Canadanote  was upstream of Lower Canadanote  on the St. Lawrence.
    • Upper Egypt is south of Lower Egypt, but this makes perfect sense because the Nile flows from south to north; Lower Egypt is downstream of and thus below Upper Egypt.
  • There is a town named North in the center of South Carolina, which itself is generally considered part of the Deep South of the US.
  • East Palo Alto, California is not the eastern part of Palo Alto. It's a separate city located due north of Palo Alto.
  • The Sea of Galilee referred to in The Bible is actually a freshwater lake that feeds the Jordan River. It's called (the equivalent of) Lake Kinneret in Hebrew and Lake Tiberias in Arabic.
  • Metropolis, Illinois is actually a pretty small town.
  • There are three towns in New Jersey that have the word "mount" in their names, but are not located in mountainous terrain. Mount Ephraim has no high land whatsoever, Mount Holly is on a plateau if anything, and though Mount Laurel is home to quite a few hills, none of them actually qualify as mountains. Mount Olive and Mount Arlington are on elevated terrain, however, although nothing that can really qualify as a mountain, whereas Mountainside is by the side of the Watchung Mountains. The highest point (called High Point) in all of New Jersey is only 1,802 feet above sea level.
  • The borough of National Park, New Jersey, is neither in or near a national park. The nearest national park to the borough is Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, 200 miles away.
  • The state of Nevada is named for the Sierra Nevada, which is in California. Also, the name means "snowy" in Spanish (from the original meaning of "snowy mountain range" above). The state's landscape is predominantly desert and semi-arid.
  • If you go to Applebee's don't try to order baked apples as one of your sides because they don't have them. It's named after the applewood they use for their grill.
  • Wall Street Pizzeria in Franklin, Tennessee known for their slogan "The best pizza NOT on Wall Street".
  • Manhattan College in New York City. It's in the Bronx, having moved from Manhattan nearly 100 years ago.
  • Ninety Mile Beach in New Zealand is in fact fifty-five miles long. This case is justified, as it was measured by men on horse back who failed to account for the sand slowing down their horses, so the trip took the length of time it would to ride ninety miles.
  • The town of Herne Bay in England is on the seanote , but on a stretch of coastline that is perfectly straight. It was originally a fishing village simply called Herne, but when it was developed as a seaside resort somebody decided that adding the word Bay would make the place sound more interesting. (Slightly justified in that the village of Reculver, a few miles to the east of Herne Bay, is on the western edge of an about-10-miles-long bay, at the eastern edge of which can be seen Birchington, on the outskirts of Margate.)
  • 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.
  • Many Interstate highways are fully contained within a single state, such as Interstate 4 across the middle of Florida from Daytona Beach to Tampa, Interstate 16 across Georgia (connecting Savannah to the inland cities of Macon and Atlanta), or Interstate 96 across Michigan (Detroit to Muskegon). This is also true of the three Interstates in Hawaii, as well as most 3-digit loops and spurs from parent routes. This is justified, however, as these roads are built to "interstate standards" (fairly exacting engineering standards dictating everything from the width of lanes to how much the road can bend to what you can build them out of) and are part of the Interstate Highway System (or more formally, the "Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways").
  • Northwestern University is in Chicago, which most people nowadays don't think of as being Northwestern.
    • However, it's more of an Artifact Title. Illinois is part of the former Northwest Territory; when the school was founded in 1851, that region was often called the "Old Northwest" to distinguish it from the recently acquired Pacific Northwest.
  • The luxury jewelry store Gearys Beverly Hills is owned by Thomas Blumenthal, grandson of Fred Meyer. It was founded by city councilman H.L. Geary, but was bought by the Meyers in 1953.
  • The modern Madison Square Garden is not on Madison Square. Neither was the third MSG, for that matter.
  • Airports are known for taking the name of the nearest big city they service, rather than the city they are located in:
    • Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport is a half-aversion: it's in the City of Romulus, which is not Detroit but is still in Wayne County.
    • Michigan's MBS Airport, despite the name standing for the "Tri-Cities" of Midland, Bay City, and Saginaw, is in none of the three. It's in Freeland, which is near all three towns.
    • Narita International Airport was once known as New Tokyo International Airport, despite being a good 60 kilometers east of Tokyo. The current name averts this trope, as it straddles the border between Narita and Shibayama.
    • Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport is not in Paris (the city is even a no-fly zone) but in the northeastern suburbs, straddling the lines between three départements, none of which is Paris.
    • Toronto Pearson International Airport is not in Toronto (expect for the tip of one runway) but in the neighbouring city of Mississauga.
    • San Francisco International Airport is not located in SF proper; it's on unincorporated land near Millbrae about ten miles south.
    • Downplayed with Ninoy Aquino International Airport aka Manila International Airport; on one hand, it's not located in Manila proper, but in Pasay City just south of Manila, but on the other hand it's still within the Metro Manila / National Capital Region area, as well as Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport (formerly known as Barajas Airport); it is located in the Barajas district, that was until Madrid absorbed it in the 50's an independent village.
  • A minor example is Stoke Mandeville Hospital, a hospital in England devoted to spinal cord injuries and most notable as the birthplace of the Paralympics. Although named after the village of Stoke Mandeville, it's actually located in the adjacent town of Aylesbury.
  • Alligator Rivers is in Northern Australia. It contains many crocodiles, but no alligators for over two thousand miles.
  • Australian chain Just Jeans now sells other kinds of clothing, rather than just selling jeans.
  • The Kalahari Desert is actually a savanna.
  • The great sea battle between the Royal Navy and Imperial German Navy of 1916 did not occur neither at Jutland (Jylland in Danish) nor at Skagerrak Strait (the German name of the battle). It was waged in the North Sea, albeit close to both the coast of Jutland and mouth of Skagerrak.
  • Several of the largest naval battles in human history took place in the Pacificnote  Ocean during World War II, along with numerous smaller battles in WWII and several other wars.
  • Salto de Angel, or Angel Falls, world's highest uninterrupted waterfall, with a height of 979 m, is not named because of its angelic beauty and heavenly majesty or other religious reason. The waterfall was discovered by bush pilot Jimmy Angel who made a forced landing nearby and reported of the waterfall when he returned to the inhabited world.
  • There are many, many places in the state of Massachusetts that qualify.
    • The town of Franklin is not in Franklin County, but Norfolk County. In fact, it takes a drive of at least 2 hours and the crossing of anywhere from two to three other counties to get from one to the other.
    • Speaking of Norfolk County, it's south of Suffolk County, and has been ever since 1793, when it split off from Suffolk County (which is now just Boston and three neighboring towns). There was, however, a previous Norfolk County which existed between 1643 to 1679 that was actually to the north of Suffolk County.
  • Highways can get a lot of this.
    • Massachusetts Route 28 is a North/South highway. From its starting point on the very tip of Cape Cod (Provincetown) MA-28 North actually heads south, before turning west. Once it gets off Cape Cod it does turn north, though, so this trope doesn't apply for the entire length of the road.
    • Any highway in the US that uses sequential numbered exits instead of mileage-based exit numbers (where the exit number coincides with the nearest mile marker) can get this if infill exits are opened at a later date.
      • Exits on the Massachusetts Turnpike are numbered sequentially, but exits added later on have letters after their name, so, for example, exit 11 is actually the 12th exit.
      • The Georgia 400, connecting Atlanta to the suburbs of north Fulton County and Forsyth County, still uses sequential-based exit numbers on the controlled access portion between Buckhead and Cumming, unlike the Interstate highways in Georgia, which converted to mileage-based exit numbers in 2000.
  • Some ski resorts' chairlifts can have misleading tower numbers if additional lift towers are added as the result of modifications. For example, the Independence SuperChair at Breckenridge Ski Resort in Colorado was extended in 2008 to incorporate it into a new Peak 7 base area. The lift's loading terminal and first two towers were moved downhill by several hundred feet. Because none of the towers above tower 3 were moved, an additional tower had to be added to bridge the gap from tower 2 to tower 3. Rather than go through and renumber all of the towers, the new tower was numbered '2A'. Thus, tower 23 is actually the 24th tower.
  • Keystone Ski Resort's Summit Express lift is so named because it runs to the summit of Dercum Mountain, Keystone's front side. It is not Keystone's highest offloading chairlift altitude-wise, as the chairlifts on North Peak and the Outback offload at higher altitudes.
  • The American South is not made up of the entire southern part of the United States. In fact, it only occupies the southeastern region, and specifically does not include the southernmost state of Texas (even though Texas did secede with the rest of the Southern states during the American Civil War.) Everything west of Texas up to around California is the American Southwest, and Texas is basically considered its own cultural/geographical region.
    • The exact boundaries of the South are still much debated. Many still consider Texas to be a Southern state. It's classified as one by the US Census—though, to be fair, the Census also includes in the region Maryland and Delaware, which virtually no one today considers part of the South. Definitions of the "Deep South" are even more bizarre and inconsistent, since Florida is rarely called the Deep South even though it is geographically to the south of all the so-called "Deep South" states, and furthermore, the region of Florida that is most often thought of as "Southern" is North Florida.
  • The town of North East, Pennsylvania is located in the northwestern corner of the state (it is in the northeast part of Erie County, however).
  • West, Texas is located in north central Texas. It was named after its first postmaster, T.M. West.
  • Hill County, Texas isn't located in the Texas Hill Country and is largely flatland. As with the above example, it's actually named after someone (early Texas settler George Washington Hill).
  • While the very term "Jew" is a geographic term (referring to a person from the Kingdom of Judah), the modern Jewish state shares its name not with that kingdom, but with Judah's rival, the Kingdom of Israel, inhabited by those Israelite tribes whose territory was specifically not in Judah (and whose exile and assimilation ultimately erased their status as a distinct nation). This is because the state references the Land of Israel on a whole, from which both kingdoms were carved.
  • Panama City, Florida.
  • There's also Benin City. It's located one country over in Nigeria. And this time around, there is no Benin City actually in Benin. And actually, it's the country whose name is nonindicative; the city came first. The country was named after the Bight of Benin, a body of water near both the city and the country (and named after the city/the city's former empire).
  • There are many airports that have three-letter IATA designations that bear no connection to the airport's current name or metropolitan area.
    • Orlando International Airport has the IATA code of MCO, since it used to be known as the McCoy Air Base.
    • O'Hare International Airport in Chicago has the IATA code of ORD, a holdover from when it was known as Orchard Field Airport.
    • Most of Canada's major city airports have such codes. Pretty much the only one that doesn't apply is Vancouver International Airport (YVR). Notable cases include Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) and Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL).
  • The identifier numbers on airport runways are based on the magnetic azimuth of the runway's heading in decadegrees. If there is more than one runway pointing in the same direction (parallel runways), each runway is identified by appending Left (L), Center (C) and Right (R) to the number to identify its position (when facing its direction). This only works, though, for up to three parallel runways. At large airports with four or more parallel runways, it's common for some of the runways to have their identifiers offshifted by 10 degrees from their actual direction to avoid confusing pilots or air traffic controllers. For an example, O'Hare International Airport has five runways on an east-west alignment. The runways to the south of the terminals use 10/28 identifiers, and the ones north of the terminals use 9/27 identifiers.
  • The University of South Florida is in Tampa, roughly in the middle of the length of the state (less than one degree of latitude south of Orlando, home of the University of Central Florida). At the time it was founded, it was the southernmost college in the state university system. Even that justification is the artifact; four different universities in the state university system in Florida are further south than USF.note 
  • Dollar stores in general. What with the inflation, you are not likely to ever find a store where nothing costs above a dollar (and when it does, there's the sales tax). The same goes for several fast food dollar menus, which are lately changing to "value" menus instead.
    • Retailers like Dollar General and Family Dollar aren't dollar stores at all.
  • A bordello in Berlin note  is named "Artemis". You fail Greek mythology forever.
  • The city of Morgan Hill, California is indeed located at the base of a prominent hill. However, the city itself was named after Hiram Morgan Hill, a Missouri businessman who established a weekend home there in the late 19th century (around which the town grew). The hill is named "El Toro" (partly because it looks like a reclining bull, and partly because local legend holds that author Bret Harte was chased down it by a bull).
  • The central-southern part of Middlesex County, New Jersey has four municipalities with variants of the name "Brunswick": the City of New Brunswick (which is the county seat), and North Brunswick, East Brunswick, and South Brunswick Townships. You would expect North Brunswick to be north of New Brunswick, East Brunswick east of it, and South Brunswick south of it, right? Wrong. All three of the townships are south of the City of New Brunswick.
  • North Bergen, New Jersey, which is located near the southern tip of Bergen County.
  • Bernards High School in New Jersey must be located in Bernards Township (Basking Ridge), right? Wrong, it's actually in the borough of Bernardsville right to the west. The Bernards Township high school is called Ridge High School, home of the Red Devils (despite green being their official color).
  • Neptune City and Surf City, New Jersey, are both technically boroughs.
  • The Spanish Riding School is in Austria, the horses are a Slovenian breed and the architect is an Austrian. Some of the horses used to create the were breed were from Spain though.
  • The Royal Mews in London haven't been actual mews (used to house hawks and falcons) for almost five hundred years. Instead, the royal family keeps their horses, carriages, and motorcars there.
  • Shippea Hill, Britain's least-used railway station (only on average 1 passenger per month in 2016), is below sea level, nor are there any hills to be seen when there; it's in the middle of a fen. The reason for the name is that the station is used mainly for freight traffic from the surrounding potato farms, and the farmers pressured the rail company for a name change because they could get better prices if their buyers believed that the spuds came from hill soil rather than fen soil.
  • The Pacific Garden Mission is located 2,000 miles from the ocean in an industrial section of Chicago. The name derives from its original location, a former Chicago bar called the Pacific Beer Garden.
  • In Melbourne, Australia, West Richmond railway station is almost due north of Richmond station (however, it isn't as far north as North Richmond station)

     Sports 
  • The annual championship series of North American-based Major League Baseball played since 1903 between the American League (AL) champion team and the National League (NL) champion is called "The World Series" - though in fact one or two places other than the United States and Canada exist in the world, and some of them even play baseball.
    • The Little League World Series, on the other hand, does involve Little League teams from around the world; it's the "Series" part of the name that's non-indicative, since it's a full tournament, and not just one series of games between two opponents.
  • In the middle ages, the rough-and-tumble village sport called "football" was the only ball game where players were allowed to kick the ball, although players also handled the ball and other players. The theory that the word originally referred to "any ball sport played on foot rather than on horseback" remains unproven and very unlikely. Polo is the only important ball game played on horseback, and by the time the British in India started playing it there already were already several ball games played on foot in English-speaking countries which were not referred to as "football". For these the common factor was that the ball was propelled only by hand (e. g. bowls, skittles) and/or a hand-held implement (e. g. tennis, golf, lacrosse) and playing the ball with the foot constituted a violation of the rules (hence the "leg before wicket" rule in cricket). In the 19th century football became formalized and split into several forms, the most popular of which ("association football", "soccer") forbade the handling of the ball once it was in play (except by the goalkeepers). In some other forms handling the ball became so predominant over kicking it, that e. g. in American football the ball normally put into play by some variation on a kick by one of two players; depending on the situation, this may be a "kicker", who kicks the ball off from a tee on the ground either to initiate play with the "kickoff" or to score a field goal or point after touchdown (PAT), or a "punter", who begins with the ball in his hands and drops it to kick it a shorter distance when the team is on its fourth down and would benefit more by making the opposing team's next drive harder than by attempting to advance the ball itself. Both the kicker and the punter are off the field most of the time and will only be brought on for special plays; indeed, these players and those who go to assist them are called "special teams."
  • The Big Ten Conference in collegiate athletics was rendered non-indicative when it added an eleventh member in 1990. The number eleven was hidden within the logo to represent the true number of schools. In 2012 a twelfth school was added and the logo was changed again, giving up on even alluding to the true number of schools. Now the letters "I" and "G" in "Big" are subtly altered and recolored to look vaguely like the number "10". Oddly enough, they had once been the Big Nine, when The Ohio State University joined during a period when the University of Michigan was an independent, becoming the Big Ten for the first time when Michigan re-joined the conference, and reverting to the Big Nine from the time the University of Chicago dropped out until Michigan State University joined.
    • Since the defection of Nebraska and Colorado in 2011, the Big 12 has had ten teams. So, at that time, the Big Ten had 12 teams and the Big 12 had 10 teams.
      • And in 2014, the Big Ten went up to fourteen members (with the addition of Rutgers University and the University of Maryland).
    • Also in 2014, the Atlantic 10 Conference went up to 14 members with the addition of Davidson College. In fact, the last time the A10 had exactly 10 members was 1991... and the conference even had 16 members in the 2012–13 school year before three schools left.
  • Jason Kidd, who retired from the New York Knicks at the end of the 2012–13 season and is now the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks, was born on March 23, 1973, making him 40 years old when he retired from play.
  • 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.
  • Similarly, the San Francisco 49ers don't play in San Francisco proper. They did from 1946 to 2014 (at Kezar Stadium and later at Candlestick Park) but relocated to Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, about 50 miles south. This is the result of failed negotiations with the city of San Francisco for a new stadium in SF proper. The team has been headquartered in Santa Clara since 1988, so the name had actually been Non-Indicative for a while.
  • 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.
  • Cincinnati 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 had teams from both the U.S. and Canada for almost all of its history, which makes it international rather than national.
    • 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 American, and the league's headquarters are in New York City; 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.
    • Major Junior Hockey. The Canadian Hockey League has American teams. Breaking this down:
      • The Ontario Hockey League has teams in Michigan and Pennsylvania.
      • The Western Hockey League has five teams on the US side of the border, four in Washingtonnote  and one in Oregon. In fact, the US teams are all grouped in the "U.S. Division".
      • The LHJMQ (Quebec Major Junior Hockey League) has teams in all three of the Maritime provinces. It once had teams in the other province of Atlantic Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as the US state of Maine.
    • The East Coast Hockey League had teams in the Western U.S. before renaming itself as the ECHL (just the initialism, no words).
    • Both versions of the International Hockey League, at times, included teams from the U.S. only.
    • Similarly, the National Rugby League, Australia's top tier Rugby League competition, includes one team from New Zealand.
    • Australian rugby union followed suit in 2017, when the National Rugby Championship added a team from Fiji.
  • 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 West 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 East 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.
      • And during the 1950's when they changed their name to the Redlegs during the Red Scare, they made it clear they weren't a team made up of Communists.
      • The Cleveland Browns' dominant uniform color is orange (as on their helmets; their home jerseys are brown, however, and their away jerseys are white with brown lettering and numbering). 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.
    • Since 2004, it's been a single Canadian team with 29 American teams.
    • 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 realignment in 2002 mostly fixed these issues, but intentionally left a few teams in odd places for historical reasons. Dallas is still in the NFC East because of their traditional rivalries with the New York Giants, Philadelphia, and Washington, for example.
  • For at least the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 seasons, the Winnipeg Jets played in the NHL's Southeast division. Justified, as they were the Atlanta Thrashers the previous season. (And in a weird adequacy, the city is in 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.
    • Extensive realignment for the 2013-14 season resolved these issues. Though the Nashville Predators are still in the West (like the Tennessee team of the NBA, the Memphis Grizzlies), and the new Atlantic Division is a misnomer at its finest: only Boston and the Florida teams are by the ocean (and in Tampa's case, it's the Gulf of Mexico).
  • In the NBA, the Oklahoma City Thunder play in the Northwest Division, despite being much closer to teams that play in the Southwest Division (whose name can also be non-indicative with two teams playing east of the Mississippi). Justified, as they were initially the Seattle SuperSonics.
  • The World League of American Football (WLAF) flip-flopped between playing it straight and aversion. Originally (1991 & 1992) it featured teams from 5 countries and 2 continents (aversion), when it was revamped in 1995 it only featured European teams (straight) before being renamed the NFL Europe (aversion). At the end even the NFL Europe name was a bit of a misnomer as the 6-team league featured 5 German teams with a sole Dutch team keeping it from turning into NFL Germany.
  • 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.
  • Formula One has a few instances of this. The Luxembourg Grand Prix was in Germany, the San Marino Grand Prix was in Italy, and the 1982 Swiss Grand Prix was held at a track near Dijon, near the Franco-Swiss border. Though to be fair on that last one, Switzerland had banned motorsport in the country in The '50s.note 
  • In American football, "touchdown" does not require you to touch the ground with the ball. Rugby League and Rugby Union's "try", however, does.note 
  • The "rugby punt" in American football (where the punter kicks while running) was actually introduced to the sport by imported Australian Rules Football players.
  • Minor league baseball's "Pacific Coast League" now includes teams as far off the Pacific coast as Nashville, Tennessee. Even this league's "Pacific" divisions include Salt Lake City, Albuquerque, and El Paso (though that team was in Portland only a few years ago).note 
  • The UEFA Champions League. It isn't a league, and most of the teams competing in it aren't champions. Oh, and there's no apostrophe in "Champions" for some reason.
  • During the era when NASCAR's top circuit was known as the Sprint Cup Series, none of the races could be considered sprints. Sprint is the telecommunications company that sponsored the series from 2008 to 2016.
  • And Dale Earnhardt's famous "pass in the grass" wasn't actually a pass - he was ahead and was preventing himself from being passed.
  • The Third Saturday in October football match between the Alabama Crimson Tide and Tennessee Volunteers hasn't usually taken place on this day since 1992.
  • In shooting, a clay pigeon is a target shaped like a frisbee.
  • Millwall FC are no longer in Millwall; they moved to New Cross decades ago. Where their original ground was is now Millwall Park. When the Docklands Light Railway was being built, using the trackbed of the disused line which once carried supporters to/from Millwall home games, the idea of naming the adjacent station "Millwall Park" was rejected due to possible confusion; it was named "Mudchute" instead.
  • Arsenal FC haven't been in their original home of Woolwich since 1913, moving first to Highbury and then in 2006 to Holloway.
  • Chelsea FC have never been based in Chelsea as it has always been a posh district. Possible reasons for their name are (1) "Chelsea" sounds more upmarket than "Fulham" (in the same way that Clapham Junction was called that instead of the more accurate Battersea Junction), or (2) there was already a Fulham FC.
  • Olympique Lyonnais no longer play in Lyon, but instead in the adjoining suburb of Décines.
  • Each of New Zealand's five Super Rugby teams has a name that references its home city. For example, the Hurricanes hail from Wellington, aka "the Windy City". One problem: a hurricane, by definition, is a tropical cyclone formed in the North Atlantic. New Zealand is in the South Pacific.
  • The Argentina national rugby union team got its nickname, Los Pumas, from its crest, which depicts a jaguar instead of a cougar.
  • In Cricket, a team is "all out" when all but one of the players are out (the last player standing can't continue without a batting partner).
  • Brazilian association football team Santos is known by his supporters as "Fish" given their mascot is a... whale. Then again, to quote a comedian from the country: "whales live on the water and die outside of it, they're just fish that drink milk!"
  • Boxing rings are square.
  • Boxing gloves don't have individual fingers, so they're more like boxing mittens, aren't they? The term "boxing mitt" is reserved for the pads that coaches wear on their hands for boxers to punch at.

     Computers and Programming 
  • Although internet service providers used to be one-stop shops for all things internet — internet access, Usenet access, email, web-page hosting etc. — nowadays (at least in Britain) they only provide internet access. If you want any of the other services, you go to a specialist provider.
  • Software with "DVD" in the title (PowerDVD, DVD Fab, DVD Audio Extractor...) can usually handle Blu-Rays as well.
  • Most internet RFCs are no longer Requests For Comments, but full-blown specifications of how things must work in order to ensure compatibility. Those which are actually requests are called "draft RFCs".
  • The JavaScript programming language has absolutely no relation to the Java programming language: it was originally named LiveScript but was renamed JavaScript at the last minute simply because Java was popular at the time.
    • While the BASIC programming language remains mostly true to its word, Microsoft's dialect is anything but.
    • Objective-C and C# are not compatible in any way with C (or C++) and both languages have much different higher level concepts. Their only relation to C is that they use similar syntax, as well as the former's ability to use C or C++ code in the same program.
  • Adobe Photoshop is commonly used to edit photos, and to create digital art. The latter was an unintended side effect though.
  • Adobe Acrobat has nothing to do with the circus.
  • Similarly, "Melbourne Draw" for the ZX Spectrum was a paint (bitmap-editor) program, not a draw (vector-image-editor) program. It was named after "Draw", the (demonstration of a) vector-image-editor program on the "Horizons" tape which came free with every Speccy.
  • The computer architecture Reduced Instruction Set Computing does not mean it has less instructions than Complex Instruction Set Computing (though it often does anyway), nor does it mean it doesn't include "complex" operations. The "reduced" part originally meant that the time it takes to do an instruction has been reduced. However, RISC processors often implement some operations, notably floating point and some math operations, that are actually more complicated or take longer than some CISC processors.
    • Even though modern ones include an FPU, the floating-point instructions of a CISC chip don't include "complex" instructions in the mathematical sense, that is, involving the square root of -1.
    • The Very Long Instruction Word (VLIW) architecture isn't actually a really long, single instruction, but a culmination of multiple smaller instructions sent as a single unit.
    • A bit of a stretch, but graphics processing units do more than just process graphics. In fact, the world's most powerful supercomputer is made up of an array of computers with a single processor and multiple GPUs, and they don't produce any graphics at all (well, unless they're modeling something).
  • The kill command on most Unix operating systems does not simply kill processes; instead it can be used to send any signal to a process. Besides, the default signal sent when the corresponding parameter is ommited is SIGTERM (which instructs the process to close on its own) instead of SIGKILL (which forcibly terminates the process).note 
  • In all but the oldest versions of MS-DOS and Windows, COMMAND.COM is actually an .EXE and has its old name for backwards compatibility. The latest versions of Windows change the name to CMD.EXE.
  • British ISP Freeserve would more accurately have been called "ridiculously-expensive-serve"; although their advertising gave the impression (without actually stating) that they were "free" in the sense of "no cost at all", they were actually "free" in the sense of "no subscription charges" — they ran on the pay-as-you-go model, which (as is often the case) proved to be the most expensive way of doing it. One (subscription-based) rival proudly proclaimed itself to be "cheaper than free".
  • In the 140 named HTML colours, "lightpink" is darker than "pink" (gamma values of 205 and 212 respectively).
  • Up to and including version 3, the "Windows Operating System" was an MS-DOS application. It didn't become an OS in its own right until version 4 (Windows 95).

     History and War 
  • A number of wars are referred to by either incorrect or misleading names.
    • "Civil war" generally does not mean a war fought politely, or between civilians. It refers to a war fought between factions of the same country. There have been many such. (See also "civil dispute" or a "civil disturbance" which aren't terribly polite either.)
    • 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.
    • The Hundred Years War lasted 116 years (with some interruptions).
    • 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."
    • The Seven Years' War 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 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. Though the name still makes sense if taken to mean "a war fought on the Korean peninsula".
    • During the American Revolution, the Battle of Bunker Hill was fought on Breed's Hill. Bunker Hill was the original target for both sides, but the Americans moved over to Breed's Hill upon realizing it was in a more defensible position, and it was there that they made their stand against British forces. However, the original name would be the one that stuck.
    • The Wars of the Roses are a flowery name for a series of civil wars in England between the rival branches of the House of Plantagenet; the House of Lancaster and the House of York. Their house symbols were a red rose and a white rose respectively, hence the name.
  • In Russia, the February and October revolutions of 1917 respectively took place in March and November. This was because Russia was using the Julian calendar at the time, which was 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar (and will remain that way until 2100).
  • Events of the Night of the Long Knives lasted 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).
  • There was another "Night of the Long Knives", but it took place in the UK, in 1962, had nothing to do with the Nazis and nobody died. It was the term adopted by those critical of Conservative Prime Minister Harold Macmillan's removal of over a third of his own Cabinet.

     Diseases and Medical Conditions 
  • Syphilis, the XXX disease. Please insert for XXX the nation note  your nation is currently hating. (This fun game largely went out of style with the advent of modern antibiotics.)
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease does not affect one's teeth, but one's feet. The "Tooth" refers to one Dr. Howard Tooth, one of the three doctors who discovered the disease.
  • 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 common: they both have excessive urination as one possible symptom.
  • Diabetes mellitus is often called "sugar" diabetes (presumably to distinguish it from diabetes insipidus, although the latter is less common so there's not much potential for confusion), but any sufferer knows that it's all carbohydrates that are the problem, not just sugar. Starchy carbs such as white bread are more harmful than sugar.
  • 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.
  • A Napoleon Complex is in reference to Napoleon Bonaparte, who was actually of average height by modern day standards. The confusion came because the inches the French used were larger than the inches the British used, along with Napoleon often being painted surrounded by rather tall soldiers which made him seem shorter by comparison.
  • The Florence Nightingale Effect, in which nurses fall in love with their patients, was named after a nurse who not only did not fall in love with any of her patients, but lived her entire life as a Celibate Heroine.
  • 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 Alfonso XIII of Spain, making it massive news for the Spaniards, and also because the country was neutral in World War I, and thus was not subjected to wartime censorship.
  • Hayfever is not an allergy to hay, nor does it cause a raise in body temperature.

     Misc. 
  • Renaissance Festivals are often modeled after England in the Medieval period.
  • One of the most popular traveling acts on the Renaissance Festival circuit is a comedy trio called "The Tortuga Twins".
  • 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 (NOT to be confused with Arabic-Indic numerals, which are different).
  • Exploding head syndrome. Does not involve explosions.
  • 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. Shanghai, according to ZUN, "is a multicultural city where the East and the West meet," while Alice (as in Alice in Wonderland) suggests fantasy elements. Thus Shanghai Alice fits the overall theme of Touhou Project. There's still only one member, though.
  • 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 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.
  • The school colors of Green High School (near Akron, Ohio) are orange and black.
  • Oktoberfest is held in September in most areas.
  • 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.
  • Georgia College and Longwood University in Virginia have an event each semester right before finals called Midnight Breakfast. It starts at 10pm and goes till 11:45.
  • Scorpion Racing is a Canadian manufacturer of dirt bike parts that has nothing to do with racing scorpions.
  • 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. And people named Young can be as old as anyone else. There were people called Bloggs long before there were blogs.
  • The word denude means actually making something nude. Declothe also means that.
  • 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.
  • Many retail stores start their "Black Friday" event well before Friday now and can last as long as the following Sunday. note 
  • "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 Australian Vaccination Network was told in December 2012 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 ax, 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. (Now, they do sometimes light fires, but those fires are lit to prevent worse fires, so it's not quite the same flavor.)
  • 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. They used to be, however; the Romans changed the beginning of their year from March to January sometime in the 2nd or 3rd century BCE.
  • Magnetic Video originally started out as an audio duplication facility. The company wouldn't start duplicating videos until several years after its founding, though even before then founder Andre Blay wanted to start a home video venture.
  • In psychology and anthropology the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis suggests that language defines the limits of thought. Dr. Sapir and Dr. Whorf never worked together, nor did either of them propose such a hypothesis, probably because neither of them ever believed anything like that.
  • Anti-Semitism refers to prejudice towards ethnic Jews, but not all Semitic peoples are Jewish. Indeed, the single largest population of Semitic-speakers are Arabs, who (for very painful reasons) are among the most likely to be labeled "anti-Semites." Some prefer to write "antisemitism" in an attempt to remove this implication.
    • The term "anti-Semitism" is credited to a 19th-century German named Wilhelm Marr who created a club called the Anti-Semitic League. This was a time when (a) there were few Arabs in Europe (b) racial theories that grouped humanity into broad subdivisions with immutable traits were widely regarded as scientifically sound. Because of this, Europeans who disliked Jews used the term "anti-Semitism" to give their prejudice a veneer of respectability that, say, "Jew hatred" did not carry. This all sounds rather odd to modern ears, given how much of a taboo the term "anti-Semitism" became in the 20th century, but it's important to understand that the term has always been a euphemism for prejudice against Jews; it has never referred to an ideology of opposing Jews and Arabs as a single group, nor has it ever been common practice to refer to anti-Arab bigotry as "anti-Semitism." (Indeed, history's most famous anti-Semite Adolf Hitler didn't have any particular problem with Arabs and even referred to them as "honorary Aryans.") One of the reasons the non-hyphenated version of the term (which is actually how it was originally spelled in German) has increasingly caught on is because there has long been a tendency among people accused of anti-Semitism (fairly or not) to try to deflect the issue by saying "I can't be anti-Semitic, because I like Arabs."
  • The Apollo space program sent men to the Moon, not the Sun. Presumably "Artemis program" didn't have the same macho ring to it.
  • Tardar Sauce, the real-life Grumpy Cat, actually has a nice demeanor in Real Life.
  • Chances are you have a credit card that belongs to HSBC, which stands for Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation. The bank is British in origin and though it did used to have its headquarters in Hong Kong, it is now located in London. The current HSBC is the result of a merger between the original HSBC (which was a Hong Kong corporation) and the (British) Midland Bank, which as the name says was based in the Midlands, not London.
  • The video game company California Dreams was based in Poland.
  • The word "homophobia" means "hatred of homosexuals", not "fear of homosexuals", as its name might suggest. It's also worth noting that the Greek prefix "homo" actually means "same", not "homosexual"; the word should technically mean "fear of sameness" or "fear of one's own kind", the latter definition having some interesting implications.
    • The use of the -phobia suffix to denote prejudice or bigotry against a social group goes back to the 19th century, with terms like Anglophobia, Francophobia, Judeophobia, and Negrophobia, but in recent decades its use has increased, with homophobia and Islamophobia being the most notable coinages. While none of these are phobias in the traditional clinical sense, the use of the terms stems from a common belief that bigotry is to some extent rooted in fear. This is especially the case with homophobia, where there's a widespread idea that hatred of gay people is often (if not always) an overcompensation for latent homosexual feelings.
  • The term "metrosexual" actually has only tangential relations to one's sexuality. This is because it is Portmanteau of "metropolitan" and "homosexual". It refers to men who take a lot of care in their appearance, based on the presumption the gay men are supposedly like this. It's been historically used to distinguish men who merely "act gay" and men who are gay, though as stereotypes about homosexuals fade it will probably go back to its original definition and have nothing to do with sexuality anymore.
  • Noon comes from a Latin word meaning "9th hour", supposedly since days started at around 3AM.
  • The Fundamental Theorem of Algebra, which states that every polynomial of degree n has exactly n complex roots (counting multiplicity), was named before the far more expansive field of abstract algebra was developed, and furthermore, cannot be proven using algebraic techniques alone. It is therefore neither fundamental, nor a theorem of algebra.
  • The word "literally" has been abused so much that many of the world's English dictionaries have accepted that it also means "you don't really mean it, you were just exaggerating/making a metaphor" (which is the opposite of the word's meaning).
    • Similarly, "hi-fi" has been abused so much (being applied to decidedly low-fi equipment, and even to sound generators (such as musical instruments) which have no "fidelity" to qualify) that it now means nothing more than "this device makes some kind of sound".
      • Averted by "wi-fi"; although created in imitation of "hi-fi", this term deliberately has no meaning other than "wireless connection".
      • Through similar abuse, "HD" is in danger of going the same way.
  • Television networks Global, Rede Globo, and Telemundo, whose transmitters only respectively reach Canada, Brazil, and the United States.note 
  • Sonic! Software Planning was a unit of Sega that developed the early Shining Force games but had nothing to do with any Sonic the Hedgehog games.
  • Several things conventionally described as red— flames, foxes, "red" hair— are more likely to be orange. The color name "orange" did not enter the English language until the 17th century; established locutions didn't change. note 
    • The eye colour described as "blue" is usually a light grey.
  • Hollister Clothing Co. is named after a surf shop near Hollister Ranch which doesn't actually exist. Not to mention, it could be confused for Hollister, California which is a small farm town.
  • "G-force" is neither a force (it's the sum of all "fictitious forces" caused by inertial stress during acceleration relative to a freefalling reference frame, including the "centrifugal force") nor is it necessarily correspondent to gravity. (Objects on the ground experience 1G, because the ground exerts a force preventing them from falling toward the center of the Earth. Objects in orbit experience 0G even though gravity is still in effect, as all parts of the object is in freefall and thus experience no inertial stress.)
  • Only two physicists christened the Hanbury-Brown-Twiss experiment: Hanbury Brown and Twiss. The confusion is caused by the first dash, so the rest of the name is accurate.
  • The adjective "motheaten", used to describe fabric that's been noticeably gnawed by bugs, is technically inaccurate. Adult moths don't eat fibers; most, in fact, have no capacity to eat at all (which is why they only live for a few days). They only eat fibers in their larval stages, when they're more commonly known as "worms" or some variation thereof. "Wormeaten" would be closer to the truth.
  • As any hairdresser will tell you, a "permanent" wave is only temporary.
  • The name of the gnuplot (the name isn't capitalized) plotting software seems to imply a connection with the GNU Project, but the name is completely coincidental. However, the GNU Project did sell disks and tapes containing it alongside its own software before the proliferation of affordable Internet access (particularly broadband) made physical distribution unnecessary.
  • Despite the misleading name, Anton LaVey's Church of Satan does not actually endorse or condone the worship of Satan, and it officially rejects the very existence of Satan (as well as the existence of God). Philosophically, the Church is actually an atheistic organization, incorporating a hefty dose of Skepticism and Ayn Rand-style Objectivism into its doctrine. The name has more to do with the fact that the Church sees itself as the ideological inverse of Christianity, hearkening back to the old meaning of the Hebrew term "Satan", meaning "Adversary" or "Opposer". Where Christianity preaches faith, charity, goodwill and self-discipline, the Church of Satan preaches rationality, self-interest, and self-gratification.
  • Video game publisher U.S. Gold was actually British. The name was only chosen because the company initially localized American video games for the European market, although they later branched out into home computer ports of arcade games from Japanese companies (namely Capcom's and Sega's) and eventually worked on original games.
  • A great deal of formal/informal scientific principles or laws named after people (i.e. Pythagoras' Theorem, Benford's Law, even The Bechdel Test) weren't originally invented/discovered by those people (Pythagora's Theorem was already known to the Babylonians, Benford's Law was originally discovered by Simon Newcomb and the Bechdel Test was actually created by Alison Bechdel's friend Liz Wallace). This is known as "Stigler's Law of Eponymy"... which also happens to be an example of itself, since the eponymous Stephen Stigler attributes Robert K. Merton with its "discovery".
  • The Tri-State Tollway in northeastern Illinois functions as a bypass around Chicago. Contrary to what its name suggests, it does not have segments in Indiana or Wisconsin.
  • Heartburn is caused by gastric acid irritating the esophagus, so has nothing to do with the heart. It is a (chemical) burn, but not one resulting from fire.
  • In the United States Interstate Highway system, east-west highways are assigned even numbers and north-south highways are assigned odd numbers. This numbering system holds true even if the local direction of the route does not match the compass directions.
    • Interstate 94 is an east-west highway from Billings, Montana to Huron, Michigan. However, from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Lansing, Illinois (just south of Chicago), a distance of about 117 miles, the highway operates on a north-south alignment as it follows the west shore of Lake Michigan. Here, signs for "east"bound I-94 translate to "south", and "west" translates to "north".
    • Interstate 90 is this trope through the parts of the Chicago area where it overlaps with Interstate 94 (the Kennedy and Dan Ryan Expressways). In fact, it has a second segment where it operates on a north-south alignment even though it has an east-west designation: from about Portage, Wisconsin to Rockford, Illinois.
    • Interstate 95 is the east coast highway from Maine to Florida. Through Connecticut, though, the highway has more of an east-west routing to follow the north shore of the Long Island Sound.
    • Through Virginia, Interstate 64 runs almost exactly the wrong way in the Hampton Roads region, where sections that once were labeled "east" running almost due west have had these labels removed due to confusion in the Norfolk, Virginia area.
    • While in many cases, this is due to relatively short deviations, compared to the overall routing of the highway, it is not always the case. For example, Interstate 26 from Kingsport, Tennessee to Charleston, South Carolina is labeled east-west as its number suggests, but it carries a more generally north-south routing. Interstate 24 from Pulley's Mill, Illinois to Chattanooga, Tennessee by way of Nashville has an east-west designation but a more northwest-southeast routing.
    • Diagonal highways can end up with either an odd or an even number. For instance, there is a 145-mile section of overlap between east-west Interstate 20 (which runs between Kent, Texas and Florence, South Carolina) and north-south Interstate 59 (between Chattanooga, Tennessee and New Orleans, Louisiana) from Meridian, Mississippi to Birmingham, Alabama. The overlap segment runs on a northeast to southwest diagonal.
    • Though on a north-south alignment, Interstate 25 has a 45-mile segment where it runs on a northwest-to-southeast diagonal between Santa Fe and Las Vegas, New Mexico, where it crosses Glorieta Pass.
  • On a related note, U.S. Route 101 is normally a north-south freeway but becomes east-west when passing through Los Angeles County. However, the road signs in Los Angeles still refer to it as "101 North" and "101 South," even though you're actually traveling west and east, respectively.
  • In Jamaican slang, the term "rude boy" does not mean an impolite young man. It's actually a subculture, consisting of young people who listen to ska and rocksteady music (and later reggae) and wear sharp suits, thin ties, and pork pie or Trilby hats.
  • When a "mandatory evacuation" is ordered ahead of a disaster like a hurricane or a wildfire, it is not actually mandatory. It does not mean "you will be arrested if you don't evacuate". What it actually means is "it is highly recommended that you should leave this area as quickly as possible, since evacuation routes become severely congested during mass exoduses." That said, while the police won't arrest you for refusing to heed a mandatory evacuation ordernote , be aware that you should be prepared to be self-sufficient for the first 72 hours after a storm.
  • "Monochrome" pictures are actually of two colours, not just one; usually black and white, or sepia and white for an antique look, but can be any two. This is explained by the fact that when printing, white isn't considered a color and is instead considered empty space. When you are printing "light blue", what you're really doing is printing a little bit of blue on a white surface.
  • If you hear astronomers talk about "Sagittarius A-star," they're not talking about a star as you'd probably think. Sagittarius A* is the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way. Black holes are stars and not actually holes, which is its own case of this trope.
  • The Metric System uses the prefix "milli" to represent thousandths of a unit, not millionths. This is because a million (from the Latin for "thousand") refers to a thousand thousand, not just a thousand.
  • A so-called "Test Tube Baby" wasn't actually born in a test tube. And contrary to the beliefs of misinformed anti-science groups, it does not mean that a baby was artificially created in a laboratory using Frankenstein methods. The technique is more properly known as "in vitro fertilization". The ovum (egg) is temporarily removed from the mother and fertilized outside the womb (hence the term in vitro). It is returned to the mother's uterus after the fertilized egg begins to undergo cleavage (formation of embryo). Also, the in vitro work is usually done in a petri dish, not a test tube. The term "test tube" probably caught on with the popular media because the mainstream may not know what a petri dish is but everyone associates test tubes with "Science!" Although the technique of recombinant DNA (DNA that has been formed artificially by combining constituents from different organisms) now exists, it did not exist in 1977 when the first test tube baby was conceived. Also, it is used mostly for creating resistant crops and strains of bacteria that secrete human hormones (such as insulin). It has never been used to create a human from scratch. Given the enormous size of the human genome compared to plants and bacteria, that would be a very large undertaking.
  • "Plow steel," at least when labeled as such, is almost exclusively used for making... wire rope.
  • Astronomers refer to the nuclear processes that take place within stars as "burning", even if they are totally unrelated to "burning" in the sense of a chemical combustion.
  • The so-called "golden spiral" sometimes seen (especially on YouTube videos about the "golden ratio") isn't a spiral, or any other kind of unified curve; it's a series of quarter-circles joined together. At the large scale it looks like a spiral, but close examination (or numeric analysis) shows that there are discontinuities of slope where the arcs join. The confusion is made worse by the fact that it is a close approximation to a real golden spiral — but it is not possible for a real spiral to pass through the points where successive squares meet. (The "golden ratio" itself almost is this trope, as it's an algebraic irrational number; it only escapes qualifying because a ratio doesn't need to be between integers.)
  • In 2017, Nationstar Mortgage changed its name to Mr. Cooper. While there likely are men with a surname of Cooper working for the company, none of them have been founders, owners, CEOs, or anyone else influential enough to have the company named after him.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/NonIndicativeName/RealLife