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Exactly What It Says On The Tin / Real Life

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Exactly What It Says on the Tin in real life.


  • Biologists aren't very imaginative either, so there are lots of species that do this. Like the brown long-eared bat, which is a brown bat with long ears.
  • The Welsh Corgi dog, consisting of two breeds, is this in the Welsh language they were named from. "Cor" is Welsh for "dwarf", "gi" is Welsh for "dog", and corgis are pretty notoriously short dogs with stubby legs.


  • The planet Earth is named after a synonym for the word "ground" because anyone on the surface is standing on exactly that.
  • The Moon is the only moon of the planet Earth. This is something of a reversal in etymology, though, as the term "moon" comes from the Moon of the Earth. Some people insist on calling it "Luna" - which still means moon. Contrary to popular misconception, the scientific name for the Moon in English actually is "the Moon", not Luna. (It is officially called "Luna" in Spanish, Italian, Romanian, and Latin—though hardly anyone talks astronomy in Latin, and in Spanish and Italian it takes the definite article "la" so it's more fully "la Luna" in both languages).
  • The Sun is the only star in the planet Earth's solar system. As with the Moon, the term "sun" to refer to whatever star is at the center of a given solar system is derived from the Earth's Sun. Similar to the Moon, the word "solar" derives from Sol, the Latin word for the Sun and was co-opted to refer to other stars long after it was discovered that they were more similar than we could have previously known.
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  • Astronomers aren't very original when it comes to naming their telescopes, leading them to name them exactly what they are. There's the Large Binocular Telescope in Arizona which is a binocular telescope that is indeed quite large, the Very Large Telescope in Chile which uses four telescopes to generate one very large virtual telescope, the descriptively named Thirty Meter Telescope in Hawaii, and the (canceled) Overwhelmingly Large Telescope. Parodied by xkcd. Radio astronomers follow the same pattern; arrays of telescope dishes have such creative names as Very Large Array, Very Small Array, and Square Kilometer Array. Many of them are just named after the mountain they're built on, or the nearest town.



  • German has a tendency to name certain things as something-"zeug". As "Zeug" means "thing", all of these literally translate as simple descriptions of what the word means. For instance...
    • "Drums" are "schlagzeug", literal translation: "hit-things".
    • "Flugzeug" = "Airplane" = "Flying thing"
  • If you know the Greek and Latin roots of words, you will see that a lot of words mean exactly what they're supposed to mean. For example, "phlebotomy", which comes from the Greek phlebo-, meaning "vein", and -tomy, meaning "cutting, incision" of an organ and "excision" of an object. Yep, that's pretty much what phlebotomists do.


  • Many disorders are this since it's helpful and descriptive. Sadly, they only qualify if you know what the medical Latin means. Similarly, many internal body parts are like this, too, making life much easier for anatomy and physiology students.
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome (ME), in which one is generally permanently tired with all or many of the effects that come with that.
  • Many enzymes have names that just describe their functions, with an added "-ase" suffix to indicate that they're enzymes. Examples include RNA polymerase (which produces RNA via polymerisation) and reverse transcriptase (which produces a DNA strand through reverse transcription). Some make it even clearer what they are and what they do, such as citrate cleavage enzyme.
  • A herbal supplement called "horny goat weed" is used to treat and promote exactly what you'd expect.


  • The Rocky Mountains of North America are mountains made out of rock.
  • And the Rio Grande (Spanish for "big river") is a big river that flows between the USA and Mexico.
  • The Grand Canyon is a really big canyon. The Red River, between Texas and Oklahoma, where the ground is red shale that colors the water a distinct red. Red Rock Canyon in Oklahoma where the sides are made of... well, the examples go on and on.
  • Southern Alberta's Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, where, according to Blackfoot legend, a young man made the... unwise... decision to stand beneath it to get a good view as buffalo were being jumped off it, and was then found under a pile of dead buffalo with, you guessed it, his head smashed in.
  • Polynesia means "many islands" in Greek. It is exactly that- many islands spread out across a large portion of the Pacific Ocean.
  • Micronesia means "small islands" in Greek. It is made up of several small islands scattered across the northern reaches of Oceana. The largest of the 2100 islands, Guam, makes up about 20% of the total land mass but is 1/5 the size of Rhode Island. This majority of the rest are less than a square mile each.
  • There is a great sandy desert in Australia. Its name escapes me for the moment.
  • The Central African Republic is a country in central Africa.


  • Blueberries are blue berries.
  • And blackberries are black berries. (A bit of a subversion, since botanically they aren't berries.)


  • In 1973, a Norwegian guy named Anders Lange founded a political party whose platform was based on a strong reduction of taxes, duties and public intervention. Its name? Anders Lange's Party for a Strong Reduction in Taxes, Duties and Public Intervention.
  • The Anti-Masonic Party was an American political party founded to oppose Freemasonry.


  • In 2000 Harry Markopolos wrote a report to the SEC entitled "The World's Largest Hedge Fund Is a Fraud". It was about Bernie Madoff's fund. It contained overwhelming evidence that... well, you know. The SEC still didn't get him for another 7 years.
  • The Other Wiki's article on apple sauce literally starts as "Apple sauce or applesauce is a sauce made of apples". It's not wrong.
  • From the "Only in Liberia" files, presenting General Butt Naked. He led a guerrilla faction that was, yes, butt naked, and led them, butt naked. How they knew he was a general without anywhere to hang his insignia, we don't know.
  • When defining new classes and methods in object-oriented programming it is advisable to follow this principle so that a reader of your code can easily get an idea of what it does. This is why you'll often see classes named Something Builder, Item Factory or Drawable Thing.
  • Many ITV franchises were named after the region they served, such as London Weekend Television, Yorkshire Television, Scottish Television and so on. The best example was the temporary franchise that was set up for Wales and the West of England in 1968 when TWW sold off the last few months of their contract to their successor Harlech before the latter was ready to broadcast: "Independent Television Service for Wales and the West."
  • The Wehrmacht had a penchant for this. Quite possibly the best example of it is the late-war design Focke-Wulf Ta 152H Höhenjäger, which was a high-altitude interceptor. Höhenjäger literally means 'altitude hunter'. note 
  • During the World Wars, the Italian Navy had a few vehicles like that, such as the MAS (Motoscafo Armato Silurante, meanting Torpedo-Armed Motorboat) and the Siluro a Lenta Corsa (Slow-Running Torpedo. It was the first working manned torpedo, fired like a normal torpedo but much slower to allow the crew to ride it to destination and do their job).
  • In the third century BCE, the Chinese invented a sword that was purpose-built to chop the horse out from underneath a cavalryman. They called it the zhanmadao, which means "horse chopping sword."
  • Simplified Chinese characters were created in The '50s as a simplified version of the older Traditional Chinese characters.


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