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A misnomer is a word or term that suggests a meaning that is known to be wrong. Misnomers often arise because the thing received its name long before its true nature was known, or because the nature of an earlier form is no longer the norm. A misnomer may also be simply a word that is used incorrectly or misleadingly.[1] "Misnomer" does not mean "misunderstanding" or "popular misconception",[1] and many misnomers remain in legitimate use (that is, being a misnomer does not always make a name incorrect).

Sources of misnomers

Some of the sources of misnomers are:


Older name retained

Similarity of appearance

Difference between common and technical meanings

Association with place other than one might assume



  1. 1 2 Garner, Bryan (2009). Garner's Modern American Usage (3rd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. p. 542. ISBN 978-0-19-538275-4.
  2. Leitner, Gerhard; Sieloff, Inke (1998). "Aboriginal words and concepts in Australian English". World Englishes. 17 (2): 153–169. doi:10.1111/1467-971X.00089.
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