A vegetable that is a fruit, a bear that’s a marsupial, a worm that’s a caterpillar. What are you talking about?
There is a special term for “wrongly named” things: misnomers. This is what we’ll be exploring today. Prepare to be amazed!
The bald eagle isn’t bald — it has white feathers on the head and is the only eagle unique to North America. Its wingspan can reach up to 7 feet and its main source of food is fish.
A prairie dog is not a dog, but a charming rodent typically found in North America. They are hard-working and family-oriented. They build burrows and deep tunnels and live in large colonies.
Many, many years ago, the Turks would import guinea fowl from East Africa to Europe. In European minds, the poultry came from Turkey, so it’s natural the bird was called the “Turkey hen” or “Turkey” for short.
When European explorers discovered North America, they ran into a bird very similar to the “Turkey” they knew. And so, the name remained. Voila!
A sweetbread is neither sweet nor has it anything to do with bread. It’s the thymus gland of an animal used for food. Doesn’t it look delicious?
A Turkish bath is not of Turkish origin — it is from Rome! The baths became well known in the Hellenic-Roman period, when they were called thermae, and it’s always been an upscale place for leisure, socializing and relaxation.
A cucumber is not a vegetable — it comes from the flower part of the plant and has seeds, which is why, botanically speakin, it is a fruit.
A guinea pig doesn’t come from Guinea nor is it not a pig. It’s a rodent. Studies suggest that guinea pigs were first domesticated more than 3,000 years ago.
A silkworm is not a worm — it’s a larva more widely known as a caterpillar. Silkworms only eat mulberry leaves. Among other interesting facts is that silkworms have been around for at least 5,000 years and now no longer exist in the wild.
A horned toad is not a toad — it is a type of lizard from North America. There are 13 different types, and many of them do look like baby dragons.
A banana tree is not a tree — it’s an herb since the stem doesnt contain the distinguishing woody tissue.
A koala bear is not a bear — it’s a marsupial, native to Australia. Koala mothers carry their babies in their pouches until they are about 6 months old.
A peanut is not a nut — it is a legume, which grows under the ground, like beans and peas.
A catgut, used for making strings, doesn’t come from a cat — in fact, it comes from sheep or horse intestines. It has been widely used in music industry for violins, guitars, and harps.
A jackrabbit is not a rabbit — it’s a hare. They are much bigger in size and have huge ears.
A firefly is not a fly at all — it is a bug, which sparkles in the dark. There are known to be 2,000 types of fireflies with a distinctive light pattern that helps them to find mates.
A shooting star is not a star — it is a passing meteorite entering the atmosphere. Nothing should stop you from making a wish though.
India ink is not from India — actually, it was invented in China. Because the British would buy it from India, who they actively traded with, the name stuck. Nowadays, ink is mostly used for drawing and outlining.
A Mexican jumping bean is not a bean, but a seed with a tiny moth larva inside. When the larva moves inside, so does the bean.
A shortbread is not bread — it’s a butter cookie. The recipe is easy, like 1,2,3: one part sugar, two parts butter, three parts flour.
Puss caterpillar or Megalopyge opercularis may look like an innocent furry ball and may have gotten its name from resembling a cat, but it is a dangerous creature. What looks like furry hair are, in fact, venomous spines. Many people were reported to be taken to the hospital after trying to pet it. Watch out!
As you can see, looks and names don’t always represent what things really are. If you know something else that is wrongly named, please share your stories. And stay on WeGoRo!