The Mystery of Misnomers

Image by Dwi Rizki Tirtasujana from Pixabay

This blog is based on a discussion on Mentza by @sumaiyavariava on misnomers. You can listen to the full conversation by clicking on the button below if you prefer to listen than read

Today, let us embark on a fascinating journey into the world of misnomers (not technically the only category we discuss here). These peculiar words and phrases have the power to mislead and confuse us, often presenting a different picture than what we expect. So, let’s dive in and unravel the mysteries of misnomers with a few examples, together! Download Mentza to participate in many such discussions in the Spoken English++ Learning Group

The Funny Bone: A Tricky Nerve, Not a Bone

One intriguing example of a misnomer is the “funny bone.” At first glance, you would think it’s an actual bone that tickles your funny bone. However, the truth is quite different. The funny bone is, in fact, a nerve located in your elbow. When bumped, it sends a tingling or sometimes painful sensation down your arm. So, next time you hear about the funny bone, remember that it’s not as amusing as it sounds!

Greenland and Iceland:

Nature’s Misleading Names Another captivating misnomer duo is Greenland and Iceland. When you hear the name “Greenland,” you naturally imagine a land brimming with lush green landscapes. But prepare to be surprised! Greenland is predominantly covered in ice and snow, making its name a misrepresentation. On the flip side, Iceland is known for its stunning green scenery, contradicting its icy-sounding name. These misnomers remind us that appearances can be deceiving.

Guessing the Meaning:

Word Play Without Google Now, let’s spice things up with a word-guessing game. I’ll provide you with a few words, and I want you to use your imagination without relying on Google. Ready?

  1. Bemused: When you hear this word, what meaning pops into your mind? Don’t worry about being right or wrong; just give it a shot. The actual meaning of “bemused” might surprise you—it refers to feeling confused or lost in thought, often accompanied by a puzzled expression. It’s a word that highlights the state of being mentally absorbed and uncertain.
  2. Terrific: How would you define “terrific”? Does it sound scary or exciting? Contrary to its initial impression, “terrific” is used to express something excellent, wonderful, or fantastic. It’s a word that denotes admiration and positivity, rather than fear or terror.

Misnomers have a way of challenging our assumptions and making language all the more interesting. So, next time you come across a misnomer, take a moment to appreciate the hidden surprises they hold. After all, in the realm of language, things are not always as they seem!

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