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The Complete Vocabulary Builder Workbook



How to pronounce misnomer (audio)

Dictionary definition of misnomer

A term or name that is incorrectly or inaccurately applied to something.
"She argued that the term 'instant coffee' is a misnomer as it still takes time to prepare."

Detailed meaning of misnomer

It is often used to describe a word or phrase that is commonly used to refer to something, but is not actually the correct or precise term for it. For example, calling a type of shark a "man-eater" when it doesn't actually eat people would be a misnomer. The term misnomer itself implies that a correct name exists but it is not used. Misnomers can also be a result of a change in the thing being referred to, such as a company that changes its products or services, but its name remains the same. Misnomers can cause confusion and misunderstandings, and it's important to use the correct terms when communicating to avoid confusion.

Example sentences containing misnomer

1. The term "jumbo shrimp" is a misnomer because jumbo implies large and shrimp is small.
2. He explained that the company's name was a misnomer as they did not actually produce any widgets.
3. She argued that the term "non-toxic cleaning products" is a misnomer as all cleaning products have some level of toxicity.
4. The term "artificial intelligence" is a misnomer as intelligence is a characteristic of living organisms.
5. He pointed out that the term "light beer" is a misnomer, as it refers to the calorie content, not the taste.
6. She argued that the term "free-range chicken" is a misnomer as the chickens are not truly free.

History and etymology of misnomer

The noun 'misnomer' has an interesting etymology. It combines the Middle French word 'mes-' meaning 'wrong' or 'badly' and 'nommer' meaning 'to name.' In essence, 'misnomer' signifies a 'wrongly' or 'badly' applied name. This term entered English in the late 16th century, and its etymology aptly reflects its meaning—a label or term that is incorrectly or inaccurately applied to something, often leading to misunderstandings or misconceptions. 'Misnomer' highlights the idea of a name that doesn't match the reality of what it is meant to describe, illustrating the importance of accurate and precise language in communication.

Quiz: Find the meaning of misnomer

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Further usage examples of misnomer

1. To call the leadership contest democratic is somewhat of a misnomer.
2. The term "vegetarian burgers" is a misnomer as they are not made from vegetables.
3. He pointed out that the term "virgin olive oil" is a misnomer as it is simply a grade of olive oil.
4. The term "fitness watch" is a misnomer as the device cannot actually determine a person's fitness level.
5. He pointed out that the term "smartphone" is a misnomer as the device can't be smart.
6. She argued that the term "diet soda" is a misnomer as it is still high in sugar.
7. Describing him as "silent" is a misnomer; he's quite talkative.
8. "Watermelon" is a misnomer for a fruit that's 90% water.
9. Using "beginner's luck" for skillful play is a misnomer.
10. The term "common sense" can be a misnomer in complex situations.
11. "Couch potato" is a misnomer for an active individual.
12. Calling him a "night owl" is a misnomer; he loves mornings.
13. "Softball" can be a misnomer for a fast-pitched sport.
14. "Cat nap" is a misnomer for his deep, hours-long sleep.
15. Using "fun run" for a marathon can be a misnomer.
16. "Baby grand piano" is a misnomer for its size.
17. Describing it as a "free gift" is a misnomer; gifts are free.
18. "Miniature horses" can be a misnomer for their size.
19. "Virtual reality" isn't an accurate misnomer; it's quite real.
20. "Civil war" is a misnomer for such a devastating conflict.
21. "Working vacation" can be a misnomer for constant work.
22. "Lead singer" is a misnomer; it's not always the leader.
23. "Fast food" is a misnomer for the long drive-thru wait.
24. Calling it a "butter knife" is a misnomer; it spreads more.
25. "Smartphone addiction" isn't always so smart; a misnomer.
26. "Military intelligence" is a misnomer; it's often contradictory.



mislabel, accuracy, correctness, propriety


Prefix mis-, Dialogue and Articulation, Words and Language, Language and Expression 1

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