Non-Indicative Name

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Pedants have the option of calling it the cavy, but that name will never be as cute.

"I was just thinkin'. About goldfish. Even though they are called 'goldfish' they aren't gold-colored, are they? They are red, right? The 'blue light' on traffic lights too, aren't they green? Things like that make me sick..."


Have you ever noticed how sometimes, pickles are really salty?

That's the sort of thing this article would be about if it were a Self-Demonstrating Article. But it isn't. That would be silly.

In our everyday language we tend to use words that are representative of certain objects or characteristics. On the other hand, we have words or combinations of them whose real meaning has nothing to do with their name. These are known as misnomers.

Mostly for historical reasons the misnomer sticks and nobody—or almost nobody—bats an eyelid when it is used, since it is well accepted and people know what it means. A Cloudcuckoolander character and punster tropers are likely to hang a lampshade on these from time to time, complain that contents of the tin differ from the label (or that the tin itself is not made of tin), and that there's no baby in baby food.

If the name is itself an element of deliberate deception, it may be Double-Speak or a Super Fun Happy Thing of Doom. Fluffy the Terrible, Deathbringer the Adorable, and Ironic Nickname are subtropes of this. For series with nonindicative names, see Word Salad Title and Never Trust a Title. For songs, see Non-Appearing Title. Contrary to Exactly What It Says on the Tin. See In Name Only when this trope arguably applies to the title of a derivative work.

May result from an Artifact Title.

While explanations to misnomers are welcome and encouraged, please resist the urge to make a Justifying Edit.

Looking to have fun with misleading names? See I Thought It Meant, for misleading trope names, and I Thought That Was, for misleading work names.

Examples of Non-Indicative Name include:


  • A 1988 ad campaign for Red Rock Cider in the style of Police Squad!, complete with none other than Leslie Nielsen, ended with the slogan: "It's not red, and there's no rocks in it".
  • Many commercials for Apple Jacks cereal mention that "they don't taste like apples".
  • In April 2011 comedy and acrobatic troupe The Flying Karamazov Brothers were advertised in London under the slogan: "They're not Russian, they don't fly and they're not brothers."
  • Malibu Rum. According to the other wiki, it was originally made in Curacao, then in Barbados, and is currently made in Canada. It was never made in California and the ad campaign doesn't even pretend it was.
  • The Bavaria beer brand is and has always been Brazilian. The advertising campaign emphasizes this while ignoring the German-themed name.
  • Same with commercials for Rold Gold pretzels, which had someone noting that "They aren't rolled, and they aren't gold!"
  • Cap'n Crunch is not a Captain; the three bars on the sleeves of his uniform indicate that he is a Commander.

Anime and Manga

  • White Beard from One Piece doesn't have a beard. He does rock a magnificent mustache though, and in the original japanese, the word they use applies to facial hair in general.
  • In Pokémon, despite being called Sinnoh League Victors, Ash doesn't win the Sinnoh League. Takuto/Tobias does. Also, Nozomi (Zoey) wins the Sinnoh Grand Festival instead of Dawn.
    • At least the plural works there, though. Unlike Season 4 (Johto League Champions) which did not have The Silver Conference, (or even The Whirl Cup) and had only one regular seeking a Championship (which he doesn't get in the succeeding season).
    • Another really big one in Pokemon is Psyduck. A psychic duck, right? How complicated can it get? Well, Psyduck isn't actually a Psychic-type at all. Now, bear in mind that Psyduck is golden, and it evolves into Golduck. Golduck is blue.
  • How I Became a Pokémon Card does not relate to becoming cards in any way. It's a bunch of Slice of Life one-shots, and the name comes from the manga being drawn by people who draw the Pokemon cards and the fact each chapter comes with a Pokemon card.
  • Archer from Fate/stay night... is not an archer. He has a bow that he can use, but he's primary a swordsman. The same goes for Gilgamesh, the Archer from the previous Holy Grail War. Word of God has stated either could have gotten the title of Saber (in each Holy Grail War, there's the same set of seven titles the servants go by), but the Saber who is King Arthur fits it even better, and since they often used their swords as range weapons "Archer" was the next best fit.
  • Hidamari Sketch: The page quote is a drunken rant on various misnomers.
    • For those still wondering about it, The Other Wiki has an article on goldfish and most of them are effectively not golden.
    • The bit about blue lights is a reference to the Japanese language. The lowest light's color is often called "ao", which is an old Japanese word that refers to any color from blue to green. They now have specific terms for blue ("ao") and green ("midori") and a lot of shades in between, but "ao" still can be a number of colors. In this case, she's complaining about using the word "ao" when "midori" would be more accurate.
  • The manga series Blame! doesn't actually involve any finger pointing whatsoever. None. The lead characters rarely even talk. In fact, no one except the creator knows why the series has such an odd, misleading title.
    • It's theorized that the title is a misspelling of "blam!" - which would certainly fit all the gunplay that goes on.
      • As the title is pronounced Buramu!, the roman letter title is most probably this mistake. And yes, the guns kick ass.
  • From Azumanga Daioh:

Osaka: Okay, so, you know how we write "dolphins" as "sea pig"?
Sakaki: Uh-huh.
Osaka: But we use the same character for "pig" in "river pig" and somehow it comes out as "puffer fish", but they live in the sea.

    • Suddenly the "ocean bacon" (meant to be a random word combo and Noodle's Berserk Button) in the Gorillaz book makes a lot more sense...
    • The anime adaptation's title is victim to this. "Azumanga Daioh" is a compacted version of "Azuma's manga for Daioh magazine." The anime, being an anime, is of course not a manga. Of course, "Azuanime Daioh" (or for that matter "Azuanime TVTokyo") just doesn't sound as good. Thus, its full title is Azumanga Daioh: The Animation.
      • This is even lampshaded in one of the episode previews.
  • Princess Mononoke: She is neither a princess, nor is her name Mononoke. She also isn't the main character or the center of the plot. The Japanese Titel Mononoke Himeis more obvious about it being an epithet for San, but she is still only one of the four major secondary characters Ashitaka meets during the movie.
  • Prime Minister Honest from Akame ga Kill! was anything but honest. He was a lying bastard and a cruel man.
  • The weapon names in Tokyo Mew Mew are usually at least straightforward puns, but the Mew Berry Rod is too small to be a rod and not intended to be used by Mew Berry. And what's the "tone" in Mew Mint's Mintonarrow supposed to mean?
    • And the StrawBellBell (or whatever) didn't even have a bell originally.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha:
  • There's a manga entitled Yandere Kanojo, which you would expect to be about dating a lovesick girl, especially due to its female lead's first appearance carrying a bloody baseball bat. Not so, as the "yan" in the title is for "yankee" - his girlfriend is a deredere juvenile delinquent.
  • The "Hidden Villages" in Naruto aren't really at all hidden, being rather large, populated, and with open roads leading to and from it. In fact they are required to have their locations know to the public or else no one would know where to go to hire them as mercenaries. The only one that's really "hidden" is the Hidden Sound Village, but that's not a village, but rather a series of labs and bunkers. Mist came somewhat closer, as its valley is perpetually covered in a thick mist, but it's too large to effectively hide.
    • The Hidden Waterfall Village is shown in the Non Serial OVA to be actually hidden, since it's the smallest and weakest village, and if its location was widely known, any of the other villages could crush it easily.
    • A rather blatant example: Kabutowari is a hammer and axe linked by a cable. It's referred to as the "bluntsword" and counts as one of the Seven Swords of the Ninja Swordsmen of the Mist.
  • There is a species of Digimon called "Flymon" even though they're really closer to bees.
    • But bees can fly, so perhaps it's just named after its primary style of locomotion.
  • The towering sumoesque Big Guy in Berserk is named Pippin.
  • The fourth Black Jack OVA is called Anorexia: The Two Dark Doctors. The patient does not have anorexia. She has a parasite that makes her involuntarily vomit whenever she eats.
  • The Japanese title of the fourth Dragon Ball movie is "Super Saiyajin da Son Gokū" (Super Saiyajin/Saiyan Goku), during which Goku takes a form that was supposed to be a Super Saiyan, but since it was made before the manga reached the point where Goku became one, it's not what most people would recognize as such (there's no change in eye or hair color, and it's a completely Unstoppable Rage instead of Tranquil Fury). The form was later ret conned by a sidebook to be a "false" Super Saiyan form.
  • In Kore wa Zombie Desu ka?, Haruna has a Finishing Move called Mystletainn Kick, which consists of bisecting the opponent with her chainsaw (which at the very least is called Mystletainn). Everyone on the receiving end responds with "That's not a kick!"
  • Justin Law of Soul Eater has an attack named "Law Abiding Silver Gun", which is not a gun but a guillotine blade . The name makes no sense except as a Shout-Out to B. Ichi, which had a weapon of the same which was a gun.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya: The "Endless Eight" story arc does, in fact, end.
    • It could be referencing how the arc felt like to viewers, though.
      • Also, the "Eight" refers to the number of almost-equal episodes, when in fact it's the characters relive their summer vacation over fifteen thousand times. This is an adaptation artifact, though; the light novel only told the story once. ("Eight" also refers to August - on Japanese calendars, the months are often numbered instead of named, and August is month number 8. It's also an infinity sign on its side, and infinity signs are truly endless.)
  • The Snipers in EL, who don't ever appear to do any actual sniping in the OVAs, and in fact mostly just use pistols while running around and doing ordinary police work. Though it's possible that The Serial Rapists, while more accurate, wouldn't have gone over as well with the public.
  • "The Midnight Parasites" is an animated re-imagining of the works of Hieronymus Bosch. Only two of the creatures seen are portrayed as parasites (specifically, reproductive parasitoids), and there's no indication it takes place at midnight.
  • Tuxedo Mask of Sailor Moon does not actually wear a tuxedo; he wears white tie and tails, which is more formal. A tuxedo (or "dinner suit") has a black bow tie and a suit-style jacket rather than a tailcoat.
  • School Rumble is described by FUNimation as "The absolute funniest show you'll ever see that's not about anything that rumbles... ever!", although admittedly there is at least a school...
  • In Gundam AGE, the DOTS/DODS Rifle is an upgraded Beam Rifle which adds... rifling, meaning that "beam rifle" is a non-indicative name.

Comic Books

  • In Marvel Comics, the original Human Torch was neither a human nor a torch but an android that burned on contact with air.
    • In Universe-X there were Human Torches. They were torches but they weren't human.
    • There's also a Human Robot, who, to all appearances, is merely a robot and in no way human. In his revived version this is because the scientist who built him transferrred his own life force into it. So the name is in fact accurate, but its meaning is not apparent to an outsider.
  • Also in Marvel Comics, Spider-Man fought a villain called "The Living Brain". It was a robotic computer.
  • Hellboy isn't exactly a boy these days, either.
    • Word of God is "You can't call him 'Hellman'. It's a mayonnaise."
    • The name might still be appropriate, as we do not know his actual lifespan. He could still be 'just a boy', from the demon point of view.
  • Doctor Doom is not actually a doctor, but Fan Wank says he might have given himself an honorary one as ruler of Latveria. It should be noted that Doom himself almost never calls himself "Doctor" Doom, but simply "Doom" (ALLCAPS optional).
  • While Iron Man's prototype suit was originally iron, the material of other versions has varied depending on continuity. In most of the comics, the suits have had iron in some form in the outer shell, usually enhanced in some way with forcefields. In some continuities, it's explained that Tony was inspired by the Black Sabbath song, though ironically the lyrics describe a Fallen Hero (and the comics hero himself predated the song by seven years).
    • In the movies, this is Lampshaded (the explanation is used in the novelization, and carried over to the movies proper with a nod in the Avengers movie, where Tony wears a Black Sabbath shirt).
    • In the Dutch translation, he is known as "Steelman". His suit probably isn't steel either, though.
  • Warlock is not a male witch, he's a robot alien.
    • The word 'warlock' comes from the Old English 'waerloga', "oathbreaker", and originally referred to any practitioner of magic (who had thus broken faith with the church). Since Warlock defied his father and his home planet's traditions when joining the New Mutants, the moniker "oathbreaker" fits him rather nicely.
    • The Marvel Comics character now known as Wiccan (who is one of Scarlet Witch's reincarnated twins) was presented with "Warlock" as a possible codename. He immediately rejoins with the "oathbreaker" argument, concluding with "it is not a nice word."
    • Adam Warlock is not a male witch either.
  • In Watchmen, The Comedian, despite his name, never actually says or does anything funny. He understands what a joke society is, and becomes a parody of it. Could be justified, as "The Parodist" isn't nearly as good of a superhero name. Granted, he originally wore a jester costume and had a smiley, happy-go-lucky attitude, but whatever.
  • In the Great Ten, well... Immortal Man in Darkness couldn't be a less accurate name if it tried because the technology of the plane he flies drains his life as he pilots it; there have been about seven Immortal Men in Darkness since the team was founded. The name is a publicity thing. Similarly, the Seven Deadly Brothers. "I am seven. I am deadly. But I am a brother to no one." This is because the Seven Deadly Brothers are actually one man, an only child at that, who splits into seven people with different personalities due to a curse.
  • Black Canary dresses (partly) in black, but she doesn't exactly sing like a canary so much as screech like a banshee. And the original Black Canary didn't even have that power.
  • One Flash story arc is called "The Dastardly Death of the Rogues". There's only one death, and it's not a Rogue.
  • The Silver Sorceress, a DC Comics character introduced in 1971 as a deliberate Captain Ersatz of Marvel's Scarlet Witch, wore a costume that of course... consisted entirely of gold, brown, and red shades. When she became part of the Justice League over a decade later, she did have silver hair at least, though it was completely covered by her elaborate headgear and a Retcon in any event—in her first appearance, she was depicted with brown hair.
  • Another Justice Leaguer from the "International" era, the Crimson Fox, wore a costume consisting of brown and black shades, and no crimson whatsoever.
  • Maybe one day we'll find out what The Avengers are supposed to be avenging.
    • Lampshaded in the movie, where as Agent Coulson lays dying he says that he's okay with it, as the team would never work without something to... well, he ends there, but "avenge" is implied. Later on, Iron Man states that if they can't save the world, they will avenge it.
    • The animated series The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes has Iron Man talk about "avenging the wrongs caused by all these villains".
  • The X-Men's resident card-obsessed Badass is named Gambit, even though "gambit" is actually a chess term. Perhaps young Remy LeBeau was a fan of the blackjack-themed game show Gambit, to which viewers could stay tuned after Match Game on most CBS stations?
    • It's made all the more ironic by the fact that the X-Men's Rogues Gallery actually does include a chess-themed group of supervillains. Gambit, who's rather infamous for his checkered past, has fallen in with a few supervillain teams at various points,[1] but has never been a member of said group.
  • Invincible is vincible.

Fan Works


  • The film version of Watchmen does include a superhero team called "the Watchmen" (unlike the graphic novel) but they aren't the protagonists of the film—they were a proposed team that was never actually formed. All of the main characters are independent vigilantes with no allegiance to any team.
  • Batman Forever has the Nygma Tech Box. It looks like a blender with fins, and it's not boxlike at all.
  • In the film version of Iron Man, Stark's first seemed to be mostly scrap iron, but his final is more advanced. He lampshades the trope when he first sees the media nickname:

Tony Stark: Iron Man? That's kinda catchy. Not technically accurate, since it's a gold-titanium alloy, but...

  • The weapon in Krull is identified as "The Glaive". It isn't a curved-blade polearm, but rather a starfish-shaped switchblade. Even if you take the older meaning of "glaive" as "sword" it doesn't fit. Due to the film's popularity, a number of other works have named similar weapons "glaives," such as Warcraft and Blade the Series.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events features the Incredibly Deadly Viper--not so incredibly deadly. Justified because it was intentional by Uncle Monty in order to scare the rest of his colleagues as revenge for all their mocking of his name.
  • In Doctor Dolittle, Rodney the guinea pig ponders how he came to that name, since he's not a pig, not from Africa, and not an Italian "guinea."
  • Troll 2 is about goblins, not trolls, and is not a sequel to Troll.
    • There are two different films that go by the title Troll 3; neither of them are about trolls and neither of them are sequels to either Troll or Troll 2.
  • The word "Gojira" is a portmanteau of "kujira" (whale) and gorilla. Early on in the production, they hadn't decided what the monster was going to look like, and the pretty cool name for one scrapped design was eventually combined with a different, really cool design...of a lizard.
  • Toho's Latitude Zero features a monster named Black Moth. Take a wild guess what the monster is. Go on... Give up? It's a flying lion/eagle hybrid.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
    • The Nine Pieces of Eight are not coins, but random pieces of junk. This is lampshaded and justified in-universe: they used random piece of junk because the founding pirates were flat broke, and called them "Pieces of Eight" because they thought it sounded more pirate-y than "Pieces of Whatever We Happened to Have in our Pockets At The Time."
    • The Flying Dutchman, which, unlike in the original legend, does not move through the air, and is not Dutch. Its captain is a Welshman with a Scots accent. Flying in those days, meant fast as often as it meant moving through the air (and very occasionally still does, in phrases such as "flying start"). The equivalent today would be "Racing Dutchman."
  • In Mystery Men
    • The Blue Raja's costume consisted of almost every color except blue! There's also the issue with his British accent instead of an Indian one. But apparently, that has more to do with people not knowing the history of India and the British occupation... blah, blah, blah.
    • Then there's also The Spleen, who named himself after a body part that has nothing to do with his superpower. It may be a play on the saying "Vent your spleen", where you generally let loose with a rather noxious rant. And The Spleen does vent something quite noxious when he uses his power.
  • Star Wars.
    • The Battle of Endor took place on the forest moon of Endor (which is a gas giant). The Battle of Yavin is slightly better, but not much—it takes place near Yavin IV, which is actually only a moon of the gas giant Yavin.
    • Many weapons use terminology that is not specifically correct. For example, lightsabers aren't specifically shaped like sabers. There are also blaster rifles, which don't have any rifling. Turbolasers do not fire true lasers. Ignoring the inherent pseudoscience of the futuristic weaponry, new weapons often sport names that are based on older technology, such as "howitzer" being based after the Czech word for sling.
    • Star Destroyers can neither destroy stars nor qualify as equivalents of naval destroyers, given their sheer size and firepower compared to Rebel ships. They're more akin to battleships or aircraft carriers. Super Star Destroyers are much larger, but still can't destroy stars.
    • The Death Star was not a star. It was a space station. It also didn't bring death to any stars; it was only capable of destroying planets.
      • Calling it a "space station" (or "battle station") is itself Non-Indicative, since "station" indicates that it stays in one place, or at least moves in one orbit. "That's no battle station; it's a humongous starship!"
  • In the movie Revolver, none of the guns are revolvers, and nothing rotates. It's, like, a deep metaphor, ya know?
  • In the second Kill Bill movie, Bill comments that there weren't 88 members of the Crazy 88; they just called themselves that "because it sounded cool."
  • This exchange in True Lies:

Faisil: They call him the "Sand Spider".
Trilby: Why?
Faisil: Probably because it sounds scary.

  • Zombi 2 (known in America as Zombie, known in some other places as Zombie Flesh Eaters) is not the second "Zombi" film, it's the first in its series. Romero's Dawn of the Dead was released in Europe under the title Zombi, and Italian director Lucio Fulci decided to capitalize on its success by claiming that his film was actually a sequel or prequel. Which it wasn't.
  • Zombie Holocaust was released in some places under the title Zombi3, trying to do to Fulci what Fulci did to Romero. In other places, including America, it was released under the title Dr. Butcher M.D., Medical Deviate. There isn't a character named Dr. Butcher in the film, and the evil Doctor character only shows up in the finale of the film. Even the titles Zombi 3 D and Zombie Holocaust are rather inaccurate- the film is predominantly about LIVING cannibals, while zombies only show up for small portions of the tale.
  • Burial Ground the Nights of Terror only took place over the course of one night.
  • In Abbott and Costello Go to Mars, Abbott and Costello go ... to Venus.
    • Although, they were SUPPOSED to go to Mars. If you've never seen an Abbott and Costello picture, this is an entirely normal sort of event for them (although they normally are Exactly What It Says on the Tin).
  • Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. Apparently Chick Young and Wilbur Gray Meet Dracula, The Wolfman, and Frankenstein's Monster just wasn't a catchy enough title.
  • Werewolf in a Girls' Dormitory. The werewolf never actually gets into the dormitory. He mostly just wanders around the grounds.
  • Krakatoa, East of Java. Krakatoa is, in fact, West of Java, but they wanted a more exotic-sounding title.
  • There are three unrelated films called Madhouse, only one of which is actually set in a mental institution. The 1990 John Larroquette and Kirstie Alley film is about a house being overrun by uninvited guests that could figuratively be called a "madhouse". In the 1974 Vincent Price film, it's a plot point that Price's character was once in a mental institution, but no scenes actually take place there. The Vincent Price one was originally going to be called The Revenge Of Dr. Death or The Return of Dr. Death, both of which would have been more descriptive of the plot, but the producers thought it would be mistaken for a sequel; It didn't help that there had been a recent film called Dr. Death, Seeker of Souls either.
  • Flash Gordon does not, in fact, conquer the universe in the serial Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe.
  • Frankenstein does not conquer the world in Frankenstein Conquers the World.
  • Teenage Zombies doesn't feature any zombies, and has a cast of "teenagers" that look to be days away from a midlife crisis.
  • The Man With Two Heads only has one head. It's an adaptation of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
  • Legend of the Dinosaurs doesn't technically feature any dinosaurs, only a plesiosaur and a pterosaur.
  • The Losers Club from It. While victory clearly didn't come without cost, Pennywise - not them - was the story's overall loser.
  • The classic Frank Capra romantic comedy It Happened One Night takes place over several nights, and no one of them is more significant to the plot than any other.
  • Fargo has one scene set in Fargo, North Dakota. The rest of it takes place in Minnesota.
  • In Chinatown, only the very last scene takes place in that neighborhood of Los Angeles. However, Gittes does use Chinatown as a metaphor a few times.
  • In Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Eddie Valiant initially assumes (logically enough) that Jessica Rabbit, married to the eponymous hero, is in fact a rabbit. Then he sees her, and discovers that she certainly isn't. Oh no.
  • National Treasure: Book of Secrets actually centers on finding a lost city of gold. The Book of Secrets is only a single road sign on the way to it. To put things in perspective, this is like giving the first movie the subtitle of "Ben Franklin's Letters".
  • Bobby Fischer never appears in Searching for Bobby Fischer. In fact, nobody really searches for him in the film. Searching for the Next Bobby Fischer would have been a more accurate title.
  • Haunted Honeymoon: The characters are not on their honeymoon. They are not even married yet.
  • The Dead Are Alive does not feature any undead, despite all the film's advertising trying to convince viewers otherwise. The film actually is a proto-Giallo with characters being offed by a very human killer. In fact, the main character specifically dismisses the possibility of the dead being alive within the first 15 minutes of the movie.
  • Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector. Is he a cable guy or a health inspector?
  • In Love and Death, Old Nehampkin is younger than Young Nehampkin. Woody Allen's character lampshades it while delirious later in the movie.
  • Frankenstein's Bloody Terror is about... werewolves. Fighting vampires. This is actually Handwaved in the prologue, which explains that the family of werewolves that in the film is actually descended from the Frankenstein family. The reasons behind the title change are more interesting than the actual film. The US distributor promised theaters a Frankenstein picture, but ran out of money midway through production. In desperation, they acquired the rights to an unrelated Spanish picture called Mark of the Wolf Man, added the aforementioned prologue, and released it hoping that no one would notice.
  • Guess what doesn't happen in Toga Party.
  • Meatcleaver Massacre has nary a meat cleaver in sight.
  • At no point during Help Me, I'm Possessed is anyone possessed.
  • When American International Pictures picked up Jess Franco's Witch Hunt opus The Bloody Judge for American distribution, they re-titled it as Night of the Blood Monster and printed up posters featuring a suitably horrific "Blood Monster" that naturally never appears in the movie itself.
  • Future War. Take a wild guess as to whether or not it takes place in the future. Now take another wild guess as to whether or not it's about a war.
  • There are no mentions of any prophecies in Prophecy.
  • Blue Monkey was originally titled Green Monkey, even though there's no monkey of either color in the film.
  • In both House of the Dead movies, the first one has a house that's actually a small shack, while the second has an entire college campus.
  • Clash of the Titans does not in fact involve any Titans, clashing or otherwise. Their existence is acknowledged in the backstory, but by the time the plot starts they've all been defeated. Though it incorrectly refers to a Gorgon's head being used to fight a sea monster as "a titan against another titan."
  • In How to Train Your Dragon, the dragon Toothless has teeth. Being retractable, they're mostly hidden, and show up when he eats or attacks. Hiccup doesn't actually suffer from the hiccups. His father Stoick is not The Stoic.
  • The doctor in The Blood Waters of Dr. Z does not have a Z anywhere in his last name.
  • There are no zombies in Zombie Island Massacre.
  • At the end of The Night The World Exploded, the Earth remains intact and unexploded.
  • There are no dinosaurs (or any other prehistoric beasts, for that matter) in Massacre In Dinosaur Valley.
  • In the Friday the 13 th franchise, Jason is not shown at any point to be in Hell in Friday the 13th (film).
  • The Pink Panther movies are not about a feline. The "Pink Panther" is a diamond that plays a major role in some, but not all, of the films. The cartoon panther that originally appeared in the first film's credits, also called The Pink Panther, took on a life of its own as a TV cartoon and advertising mascot.
  • Assault on Precinct 13 actually takes place in "Precinct 9, Division 13." The title was chosen by the film's distributor, who basically thought "Precinct 13" sounded cool and ominous.
  • Naked Lunch, "I can think of at least two things wrong with that title".
  • The Barbarian Invasions is not a Conan the Barbarian-ripoff, but a story about French Canadian intellectuals talking about sex, aging and politics. It's predecessor The Decline Of The American Empire is, well, more of the same.
  • The Swedish movie November 30 actually takes place around June 6 the National Day of Sweden. The title comes from the fact that it's theme is Neo-nazism and November 30 is a date when Swedish neo-Nazis often march to commemorate the death of king Charles XII.
  • Witchfinder General was also released as The Conqueror Worm despite having little to do with the Edgar Allan Poe poem, although a portion of it is recited toward the movie's end. Vincent Price was in it, so presumably it was titled that way to attract fans of all the Roger Corman-directed Poe adaptations he'd starred in.
  • Mr. Green in Clue. All of the other guests have Meaningful Names that reflect their appearance or attire, but Mr. Green does not wear green or have green eyes or hair. In some versions of the film, he's under an assumed identity, and therefore a "plant."
  • The sequel to The Blair Witch Project was called Book of Shadows, even though there was no such mention of any Book of Shadows in the film.
  • Musa, called The Warrior in English, is not about one specific warrior. It has an ensemble cast, with three characters that more or less share the main spotlight.
  • The Terry Gilliam movie Brazil does not have a single scene set in Brazil, nor is the country relevant to the plot in any way or even mentioned once. Its only significance is that an old song titled "Brazil" is played throughout, perhaps because its romantic imagery provides a thematic counterpoint to the bureaucratic police state in which the story takes place.
  • In Airheads, Chazz's rock band has three members and is called The Lone Rangers. Ian the DJ points out that they would more accurately be called The Three Rangers.
  • Furry Vengeance has nothing to do with the Furry Fandom, and it doesn't even feature anthropomorphic characters.
  • The Room is not about a room. It does have a great many scenes taking place in Johnny's apartment, but it is not the focus of the film at all. If you take director/writer/star Tommy Wiseau's word for it, it's about Johnny's Happy Place, but even that doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
  • Street Fighter has plenty of fights and fighters, but no street fights.


  • L. M. Montogomery's A Tangled Web featured Little Peter and Big Peter. Unfortunately, they were named when children, and Little Peter is the younger by ten years. Now that he is a foot taller, the names are stuck.
  • In The Riftwar Cycle, not only is Macros the Black Sorcerer not a villain, but he wears brown robes, in contrast to most other wizards in the series. Justified as his name was part of a series of tales designed to keep people from approaching his island home base (which he could deal with but would be a hassle), and for that matter most Midkemian magicians didn't wear black so it was more unique. The Great Ones of Kelewan did however.
  • Dante's Divine Comedy, the old definition of "comedy" is being used, namely a story with a happy ending, since at the end of the story Dante visits Heaven and meets God. The word "Divine" is a straight example, being a comment meaning inspired by God on the merit of the work. Dante originally just called it Comedy, and Boccaccio added the adjective.
  • Monty Python's Big Red Book has a blue cover.
  • The opening sentence of Salman Rushdie's Luka and the Fire of Life reads: "There was once, in the city of Kahani, in the land of Alifbay, a boy named Luka who had two pets, a bear named Dog and a dog named Bear, which meant that whenever he called out, "Dog!" the bear waddled up amiably on his hind legs, and when he shouted, "Bear!" the dog bounded toward him, wagging his tail."
  • First Among Sequels in the Thursday Next series is the third among sequels in numeration, the fourth book. Well, the fourth sequel, but the internal third sequel never existed because of the events of the fourth book.
  • In the Odd Thomas series by Dean Koontz, Little Ozzie is larger than his father, Big Ozzie.
    • In Odd Hours, Odd mentions how the streets in Magic Beach all have non-indicative names. Jacaranda Avenue has no jacaranda trees, Sterling Heights is the town's poorest neighborhood, Ocean Avenue is the farthest street from the ocean, Memorial Park Avenue doesn't have a memorial park on it, and so on.
    • There is a (probably) Older Than Radio riddle that inquires who is largest among Mr. Mrs. Bigger and their child. Answer: The child, because he is a little Bigger.
  • Tock in the The Phantom Tollbooth is a watchdog who could only go "tick." His brother, named Tick, could only go "tock." His family is very sensitive about this.
  • The Da Vinci Code has nothing to do with the town of Vinci. "Da Vinci" was not Leonardo's last name, it was his birth-place (i.e., "of Vinci"). The eponymous code was made and hidden by Leonardo da Vinci, but "The Leonardo Code" would have been a more accurate title.
  • Flann O'Brien loved doing this: The tiny Shannon River islet of Swim-two-Birds is mentioned exactly once in passing in "At Swim-Two-Birds".
  • The Princess Bride isn't technically a princess; Buttercup was the daughter of a dairy farmer, but as she was almost inhumanly beautiful, Prince Humperdinck had insisted on her being his bride. His advisors, troubled by the idea of him marrying a non-royal, quietly arranged for her to be known as the Princess of Hammersmith (a tiny portion of the realm) and shipped her off to royalty school for training. (The film version makes no attempt to hide the fact that she was born a commoner.)
  • The Neverending Story ends.
    • Of course, the title of the book doesn't refer to the book itself; It describes mankind's imagination.
  • The Analects of Confucius aren't analects, and the Master's name wasn't really Confucius either.
  • Sword of Truth
    • A "death spell" makes people think someone is dead.
    • The "maternity" spell creates one-way Synchronization between the caster and the target, essentially making them a hostage to the caster's well being.
    • To a degree the Confessors, who brainwash people into being their slaves. They're called that because they're supposed to use the ability to make people confess to their crimes. But in the series it's mostly just used to enslave people's minds.
  • A halfway example in The Dresden Files with the Corpsetaker, who while as a necromancer could be considered someone who takes corpses, is mostly known for body swapping. However her Latin name of Capiocorpus would be more accurately translated as body taker. Between that and Harry's command of Latin, it's possible he just translated it wrong and no one bothered to correct him.
  • Lampshaded in the very first line of The Westing Game, in which Sunset Towers is an apartment building that faces east (sunrise), not west.
    • And has no towers either.
  • The Three Musketeers is somewhat of a misleading title, as it refers to Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, who are actually co-stars to d'Artagnan, the true protagonist.
  • In Frank Herbert's Dune, the Water of Life is a deadly poison to most people, its use resulting in Nightmare Fuel. Even more, it is made by drowning a baby sandworm, which then regurgitates the substance. The only way to use it is to have a Bene Gesserit drink some and convert it to a safe narcotic substance.
    • The Butler family are in no way servants to anyone, as lampshaded by Quentin Butler (who married into the name).
    • The Butlerian Jihad has nothing to do with any Muslims or any spiritual journey. The actual Buddislamics wanted nothing to do with the war. It was declared by people worshiping the Orange Catholic Bible.
    • Sand trout are tiny slugs that do not even remotely resemble a fish.
    • A no-ship is very positively a ship. Same goes for a no-chamber.
      • The idea is that they exist in "no-space," where the Guild can't see them with their powers. So, it's circuitous, but it does make sense.
  • The eponymous planet of Stanislaw Lem's novel, Eden, was named from how it looked from a distance. It proved to be a distinctly ironic name, after the heroes make an emergency landing on it.
  • The novel Breaking Smith's Quarterhorse would seem, from the title, to mostly revolve around a man named Smith, who has a quarterhorse in need of breaking. Smith is referred to in one line; the horse doesn't even get that. The book is actually about... not much, really.
  • Tennessee Williams was from Mississippi.
  • One of Isaac Asimov's earliest published stories was titled The Weapon Too Dreadful To Use. As you've no doubt already guessed, the weapon is in fact used. Asimov later noted that having this disconnect pointed out to him soured him on using grandiose titles.
  • The Incredibly Deadly Viper in A Series of Unfortunate Events is one of the least deadly creatures in the animal kingdom. Uncle Monty named it that to play a joke on the Herpetological Society.
  • The Perfectly Normal Beast in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: it is actually fairly normal, except that it only appears on the planet Lamuella in a stampede from one invisible space warp to another. It was named to reassure residents, but Trillian at least finds the name suspicious instantly.
  • In Harry Harrison's Death World 3, the planet Felicity (meaning "bliss" or "happiness") does indeed contain rich mineral resources (if that is your idea of bliss), but it was named before the galactic community realized that it's full of hordes of nomadic barbarians who absolutely hate permanent structures and will kill anyone who isn't a nomad. That also includes mining equipment.
    • Also, the title of Return fo Deathworld (co-authored by Ant Skalandis and never published in English) is misleading in that no one has actually left Deathworld to return to it.
  • In Sergey Lukyanenko's The Last Watch, Merlin's ultimate artifact is called the Crown of All. It's not a crown or anything even remotely close.
  • In the Discworld book Lords and Ladies, mention is made of the Carter family, who named their daughters after virtues and their sons after vices. They turned out to be non-indicative: Charity Carter grew up to be greedy and Prudence Carter wound up the mother of fourteen kids, while Anger Carter is known for being even-tempered and Bestiality Carter is known for being kind to animals.
  • The Star Wars Expanded Universe is as big of an offender as the movies. Among those mentioned already under the movies, there's also the Sun Crusher, which doesn't crush suns, instead causing them to go supernova and rip apart in a violent explosion.
  • Arthur Phillips' 2003 novel Prague takes place entirely in Budapest (the characters think everything is happening in Prague, and talk about it but never go there).

Live-Action TV

  • Doctor Who: "Remembrance of the Daleks" had a futuristic-tech-looking device called the Hand of Omega, which didn't look anything like a hand. As the Doctor says: "Time Lords are capable of infinite pretension."
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The "scythe" Buffy finds in the last episodes is actually an axe.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine has these things called orbs. For some reason they look like crystal hourglasses. Aren't orbs supposed to be spherical?
    • They're also called the Tears of the Prophets, but don't look much like teardrops, either.
      • And the Prophets are the Bajorans' gods, while the word "prophet" actually means "one who speaks for a god".
      • For that matter, Sisko is called Emissary, which isn't really accurate. An "emissary" is a person who is sent somewhere to represent the interests of someone else. Emissaries are trusted to use their own judgement to achieve said mission. Sisko is told several times that he is meant to act as a mouthpiece and nothing else. His attempts at initiative in Bajoran religious matters backfire. Every time.
    • And the station isn't in deep space at all; it's quite close to an inhabited planet.
      • It's pointed out in one episode how "human-centric" the name is, as it refers to how far from "Earth" the station is.
  • Mike Myers' character Linda Richman would occasionally throw out one of these for audience discussion when overcome with emotion. Examples include peanuts, Rhode Island, and the Holy Roman Empire.
    • Also Duran Duran, which is apparently neither a Duran nor a Duran.
  • Two-thirds of Saturday Night Live airs on Sunday morning in the Eastern and Pacific Time Zones. Also, NBC's Late Night airs completely during the early morning.
    • Also, the Brazilian version of SNL will air on Sundays.
  • The eponymous hotel in Fawlty Towers was not in any way even a single tower.
    • The towers were, one might say... Faulty?
  • A number of movies featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000 fit this trope.
    • The B-movie The Brain That Wouldn't Die. A more fitting title would be The Brain That Desperately Wanted To Die, But Wasn't Allowed To.
      • Furthermore, the eponymous character is technically an entire head, not just a brain.
      • The ending credits list the title as The Head that Wouldn't Die, contradicting the opening credits.
    • The Undead did not feature any ghosts, mummies, zombies, vampires, or undead creatures of any sort.
    • There was nothing Satanic about Devil Doll.
    • None of the children in The Space Children were from space, or ever went into space, for that matter.
    • Boggy Creek 2 was actually the third Boggy Creek movie. Of course, the second film was made by different people, so this could be Canon Discontinuity on the part of the crew who made the third movie.
    • Future War: as Crow puts it, "It's not the future, and there isn't a war, but you know me; I don't like to complain."
    • For a superhero called Puma Man, the guy seemed to have a large number of powers that didn't seem all that relevant to pumas.

Mike: I hate to be picky, but I don't think pumas are really known for flying...

    • The Thing That Couldn't Die, a movie about a thing that... well... dies...
    • The eponymous aliens of Pod People don't look like people and don't spend any time in pods. To quote Dr. Forrester:

It has nothing to do with pods. It has nothing to do with people. It has everything to do with hurting.

    • The Dead Talk Back, about a murder victim whose spirit calls from the afterlife to finger her killer... except it all turns out to be a hoax on the part of the investigating scientist. She never really talks back.
    • Teenage Crimewave: For starters, the people in the movie are clearly not teenagers. Even if we assume an extreme case of Dawson Casting, there isn't really a crime wave either; just a mugging followed by the crooks busting out of prison.
    • Teenagers From Outer Space: See Teenage Crimewave above. The title only fits if one assumes an extreme case of Dawson Casting.
    • Teenage Caveman: Ditto.
    • High School Big Shot: Far from being a big shot, the kid at the center of the story is a complete loser. However, in this case, the title was probably meant to be ironic.
    • The Indestructible Man: Got destroyed.
    • Santa Claus does not conquer the Martians. He foils the evil plan of a few of them though.
    • It Conquered The World: It couldn't even conquer a small town.
    • Beginning of the End: The grasshoppers do not, in fact, bring about the apocalypse.
    • Village of the Giants: The giants are from out of town.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus itself, but that's really more of a Word Salad Title. They did, however, do a serious investigative news show called Ethel the Frog in one sketch, perhaps as a nod to The BBC's habit of using nonindicative titles.
    • Another sketch has Blood, Devastation, Death, War, and Horror, a completely tame chat show.
    • Six human, ground-bound men (no pythons, or even snakes of any sort), none of whom are named "Monty," and they perform a sketch comedy show without barnstorming, trapezes, lion tamers, a ringleader, or any references at all to the greatest show on earth. That's pretty non-indicative for four words.
      • You might even call it a meta-indicative title, as the fact that it is a non-indicative title is itself indicative of the content of the show.
  • Several real-life examples are parodied in Mitchell and Webb's "explorer" sketches. Mitchell plays whatever famous explorer discovered and named the area, and Webb plays his second-in-command who points out the obvious disconnect between the name and the place, but ends up having to give in because he's not "the captain."

Webb: Captain, the Lord has delivered us to a truly wondrous land! Lush subtropical plains stretch out as far as the eye can see. It's ninety degrees in the shade even though it's November, there are herds of seven-foot-tall two-legged creatures bouncing across the landscape at tremendous speeds.
Mitchell: Yes. Do you know where it reminds me of? Wales.

  • Brazilian TV Globo broadcasts three soap operas every day except Sunday: 6 o'clock, 7 o'clock, and 8 o'clock. The last one, however, rarely begins at an hour starting with 8 nowadays (due to the news program that precedes it - the delay gets even worse during election period). A common joke is to describe it as "the 8 o'clock soap opera that starts at 9".
  • In 19 years, when have any of the Power Rangers actually performed the duties of a "ranger"? That is, when have any of them ever helped oversee a national park or conducted guerrilla warfare in a forest environment? Then again, a show about park rangers in brightly-colored spandex probably wouldn't be very successful...
    • Power Rangers Zeo's main villain was KING Mondo, ruler of the Machine EMPIRE.
    • The grand prize goes to Treacheron from Power Rangers Lost Galaxy. He's one of the most loyal evil lieutenants in the franchise's history.
  • "Strangers with Candy" is not (typically) about strangers or candy. The show is meant to parody "After School Specials" that are known to drop Anvilicious Stock Aesops on school-age kids, one of the most obvious being "never accept candy from strangers." The title also may refer to the Comedic Sociopath leads; accepting candy from Jerri Blank is probably never a good idea.
  • Psychoville is set all across England, and not in any specific town. The name is, in fact, derived from the title given to foreign releases of The League of Gentlemen, which is set in a specific town, and is not about a league, nor are many of the characters particularly gentlemanly. The title actually refers to the writers.
  • Parodied in an early episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun; during one of their rooftop chats, Harry muses "Why do they call it a fur coat? It's not really fur, and it's not really a coat". Tommy then explains to him that it actually is both those things.
  • Blake's 7, for the last two of its four seasons, was noticeably missing Blake. With the exception of the stunning final episode.
    • And there usually weren't seven of them: The number was usually fudged to mean either six humans and a computer, or five humans and two computers. For part of the series, though, there were six humans and two computers, so... you figure it out.
  • Many fans of Terriers attributed its low ratings and cancellation to the title, which gave the (incorrect) impression that it involved dogs, while failing to convey that it was a noir-ish detective series. Had it been renewed, it might have been re-titled Beach Dicks.
  • Similarly, Cougar Town stopped being about middle-aged women chasing younger men (with the exception of one minor recurring character) after the first few episodes. The makers seriously considered re-titling it, but in the end stayed with the Artifact Title. They do, however, mock the title in the title card every week.
    • Neither is it about a town populated by the large, North American feline.
      • Lampshaded in an episode where the characters steal a sculpture of a cougar from the college one of them attends: "Why does this school even have a cougar? Nothing here has anything to do with cougars." The title card joke that week also says, "Pay attention. The title: Cougar Town almost makes sense this week!"
  • Many of the artists who appeared on MTV Unplugged played electric instruments that were, indeed, plugged in, although the musical arrangements were usually softer and more laid-back than expected from the artists. MTV Turned Down would have been a more accurate name.
  • Played for laughs during a performance of Scenes From a Hat on Whose Line Is It Anyway?

Suggestion: What's really going through president Bush's mind during Cabinet meetings.
Colin Mochrie: There isn't even a cabinet in here...



  • Orange Marmalade is about a vampire, Ma-ri, dealing with humans at her school (mostly a boy with very tasty blood who has a huge crush on her) on the backdrop of vampires being allowed to live within society and lots of Fantastic Racism. No marmalade at all.
    • In an FAQ, when asked what orange marmalade was (in regards to the story), the author simply explained how one made orange marmalade.


Most band names aren't meant to be taken literally. Please try to limit this section to names which could be legitimately misinterpreted.

  • Barenaked Ladies are actually composed of fully clothed men, though they do reportedly record at least one song per album in the buff... just for luck, you understand. Theories include:
    • They named the band after the one thing they knew would draw in young males such as themselves.
    • They named it after a drink.
      • Possibly coincidentally, colchicums (crocus-like flowers which bloom in autumn without accompanying leaves) are sometimes known as "(bare)naked ladies".
  • 10,000 Maniacs was named for the B-movie Two Thousand Maniacs!, multiplied by the number of members. Which makes the name nonindicative in another way. Since the name was inspired by one of the original gore films, one might expect a death metal or grindcore band, rather than a fairly laid-back alternative group.
  • The band 1910 Fruitgum Company is not a company that makes fruit flavored gum and was actually formed in 1965. There was a real 1910 Fruit Gum Company. What were they known for? Slot machines. Slot machines that dispensed gum. This actually made more sense than you might think, as it helped to evade anti-gambling laws. You would put your money in the "gum dispensing machine," and if you won, you'd be paid in cash, under the table, by the proprietor.
  • Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle ('Little Solemn Mass') isn't particularly small, solemn, or liturgical.
  • Leonard Bernstein's Mass isn't so much sacred music as arguably sacrilegious musical theatre.
  • Of Montreal are not, in fact, of Montreal. They're from Athens, Georgia.
  • Alabama 3 is a British band, and has way more than three members.
  • The Nashville Teens were not from Nashville. They were British and chose their name because they wanted to sound American.
  • The Bay City Rollers were not from Bay City. They were Scottish and were named when their manager threw a dart at a map of America.
  • Mannheim Steamroller is from Omaha.
  • The 1940s R&B group The "5" Royales had six members, which is why the "5" was in quotes.
  • Likewise, Ben Folds Five has three members.
  • Hootie & the Blowfish: Hootie does not refer to the singer. It remains to be seen whether Darius Rucker's country music solo career (under his own name) will lift the curse of being called "Hootie" for the rest of his life.
    • According to Wikipedia, "Hootie" is in fact Rucker; it's an old nickname referring to his owlish appearance. The group still has a Non-Indicative Name, though, because "The Blowfish" was a college friend of Rucker's who was never in the band.
  • The Nineties rap group Young Black Teenagers were all white.
  • The Sisters of Mercy consists of several members, but only one of them was female and she was neither a nun nor a sibling to any other member. (They are named after a Leonard Cohen song.)
  • In the Black Sabbath song "Iron Man," Iron Man seems mis-named. In one lyric states, "He was turned to steel in the great magnetic field" and another describes his "heavy boots of lead." No other lyric but his name suggests that he's pure iron. Of course, being lyrics written by Geezer Butler, the words were obviously selected for rhyme rather than scientific accuracy.
  • The Takeover UK is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
  • The Thompson Twins has three members, but contains neither any twins nor anybody named Thompson.
  • The Led Zeppelin album Houses of the Holy does not have the song "Houses of the Holy" on it. That song would not be released until their next album, two years later.
    • Similarly, Beck's One Foot In The Grave doesn't feature the song "One Foot In The Grave". That was on the same year's Stereopathetic Soul Manure (and was probably written earlier than anything from One Foot In The Grave itself, as Stereopathetic was a collection of outtakes).
    • And Tom Waits' song "Frank's Wild Years" is on the album "Swordfishtrombones", not "Frank's Wild Years". (The entire album sort of expounds on the earlier song.)
    • The Doors' song "Waiting for the Sun" is on Morrison Hotel, not Waiting for the Sun.
    • Def Leppard's first album, On Through the Night does not have the song "On Through the Night." It is on their second album, High 'n' Dry.
    • Queen released the album Sheer Heart Attack in 1974. The song "Sheer Heart Attack" was released three years and three albums later on News of the World.
    • Emerson Lake and Palmer's album Brain Salad Surgery was released in 1973, but the track "Brain Salad Surgery" not until 1976, as the B-side of "Fanfare for the Common Man"; it was first issued on a promotional flexidisc before the release of the album, causing fans who'd heard the promo disc to be surprised by its omission.
    • Julian Cope's album World Shut Your Mouth did not contain the title cut, which showed up on his next album (Saint Julian).
    • Elvis Costello's Imperial Bedroom was named for a track that was left off the original LP, although it is on the reissue's bonus CD. Also, his song "Almost Blue" is on Imperial Bedroom, not Almost Blue.
    • "The Kids Are Alright" might be the best-known The Who song that is not in the film or on the soundtrack album The Kids Are Alright
  • The Decemberists are not Russian revolutionaries.
  • Jethro Tull are a band, rather than an individual, none of whom are actually called "Jethro Tull". The name is taken from that of an 18th century English agriculturalist. They were so named because in its early days, the band gave many terrible performances, which did not go down well with audiences or club owners. They would constantly have to change their name to ensure getting gigs. One of the band's managers, a well-read man, suggested "Jethro Tull", the name of an author of one of his books. The band finally played a good gig that night, and were booked from then on as Jethro Tull. They were stuck with that name for 42 years and growing!
  • There is nobody in the Marshall Tucker Band named Marshall Tucker. They saw the name on a discarded receipt found on the ground in a bar where they were playing. The real Tucker was a blind piano tuner who had done some previous business there.
  • None of The Ramones were actually named Ramone. The name was inspired by Paul Ramone—a pseudonym used by Paul McCartney during the Beatles' years in Hamburg.
    • They did, however, adopt stage names with "Ramone" as a new surname, zigzagging this trope.
  • "Sing, Sing, Sing" is best remembered as a jazz instrumental, with Gene Krupa's drumming more familiar than the actual tune written by Louis Prima.
  • Brazilian Girls contains no Brazilians and only one girl.
  • Turbonegro consists entirely of white Norwegians. None of them have a reputation for being particularly fast.
  • Nobody in Sleater-Kinney is named Sleater or Kinney. The band was named for a road near where the members grew up.
  • Ween's 12 Golden Country Greats: Surprisingly, the country part is accurate (it was sort of a Something Completely Different turn for them), but the album only has ten songs. The title was generally taken as a joke, but in fact there were two more songs originally intended for the album that ended up becoming b-sides instead.
    • A similar example is Throbbing Gristle's third album, 20 Jazz Funk Greats, which originally has 11 songs, all of which were not jazz or funk, but Industrial.
  • NRBQ's album NRBQ at Yankee Stadium is not a live album. NRBQ has never played at Yankee Stadium.
  • Pink Floyd examples:
    • A Collection of Great Dance Songs is not especially easy to dance to.
    • The song that uses the title of The Dark Side of the Moon for its refrain is actually named "Brain Damage".
    • The Final Cut is an album of outtakes from The Wall, not an expanded re-release.
  • Phil Ochs' Greatest Hits isn't a Greatest Hits Album, or a compilation of any kind of that matter.
  • In the "band names that sound like solo artists" category: Harvey Danger. They claim they just saw it written in graffiti somewhere and thought it sounded cool.
  • Billy Talent. They named themselves after a character from the book/mock-rockumentary film Hard Core Logo.
  • '80s band Danny Wilson was named after the Frank Sinatra film Meet Danny Wilson. The band was originally named Spencer Tracy, but Tracy's estate threatened to sue.
    • And '70s band Edward Bear was named for a Winnie The Pooh character.
  • They Might Be Giants are all under six feet tall. We're pretty sure of this. (It's a reference to a movie of the same name about a mental patient who thought he was Sherlock Holmes, a movie which contained the reference to Don Quixote):

"Of course, Don Quixote carried it a bit too far. He thought that every windmill was a giant. That's insane. But, thinking that they might be... Well, all the best minds used to think the world was flat. But, what if it isn't? It might be round. And bread mold might be medicine. If we never looked at things and thought of what they might be, why, we'd all still be out there in the tall grass with the apes."

  • The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster are far too good a band to be called a trainwreck.
  • Girls Under Glass, a gothic band from Germany, has an all-male lineup.
  • Metal Church is not a Christian band.
  • The Statler Brothers is not composed of brothers, nor are any of the members surnamed Statler. They were named after a brand of facial tissue.
  • Most recordings of Chopin's "Minute Waltz" are closer to 90 seconds along. Unless you're in The Music Man, in which case you can play the minute waltz in 50 seconds.
  • The Dresden Dolls are not from Dresden, nor are they dolls. (Although the New York Dolls were from New York...)
  • Eagles of Death Metal don't sound like Eagles, nor do they play Death Metal.
  • Jew Harps are not harps, nor are they specifically associated with Jews: the instrument is found in almost all music cultures.
  • The eurobeat song "Too Cool to Fall in Love", judging by the title, sounds like a song about someone who is too cool or badass for love. On listening to the lyrics, it's actually about being "too cool to fall in love with another girl."
  • The Trans-Siberian Orchestra is a band based in and founded by people by New York, composed of just four people. They allegedly chose the name from the Trans-Siberian Railway, 'cause it sounds cool.
  • There is no Lynyrd Skynyrd playing or singing in the band of that name. It refers a high school gym teacher, Leonard Skinner, who was strict about boys having short hair.
  • The French horn is not French. It was named to differentiate it from the English horn, which, in turn, is not English—it got its name from a mishearing of the French for "angled horn."
    • Furthermore, the English horn is not even a horn. (It's a double-reed woodwind most closely related to the oboe.)
  • The Lovers' Concerto is not a concerto but a minuet. It's an arrangement of the minuet from J S Bach's Anna Magdelana Suite.
  • Twisted Sister isn't a single woman, but a five-man band. Lampshaded in Flight of the Navigator.
  • The ACDC compilation album Iron Man 2 rather disappointingly doesn't include a cover of the eponymous Black Sabbath song.
    • Also, despite being labeled a soundtrack, only two songs appear in the film.
  • The Beautiful South were from Oop North, specifically Hull.
  • The Utah Saints were not from Utah, but Leeds, England.
  • Manchester Orchestra is in fact a five-piece rock band from Atlanta, Georgia.
  • McCartney II wasn't close to being Paul McCartney's second solo album. It was his second album for Columbia Records, though, and the title of the first Columbia solo album, Back to the Egg, did suggest a franchise reboot.
  • The Pizzicato Five only had five members for a brief period of time.
  • The Queens of the Stone Age are common men from the present day.
  • Scissor Sisters doesn't have any incestuous lesbians in the band or any lesbians at all for that matter. (What they cut things with is a closely-guarded secret.)
  • None of the studio bands that played under the name Ohio Express were from Ohio, and one of the later versions (which would become more famous as 10 C.C.) was British.
  • "The Hip Hop Phenomenon" by BT isn't hip-hop at all; it's breakbeat techno.
  • The Dance Dance Revolution song "Hyper Eurobeat" is neither hyper nor eurobeat.
  • The band Texas are from Scotland and are not a country-western band.
  • The psytrance project Texas Faggott is from Finland, not Texas, and they're not gay.
    • Nor are they dry sticks or very large meatballs. Or bassoons.
  • Nobody in Blondie was officially named or nicknamed Blondie, although Debbie Harry was sometimes called that by fans (to her annoyance).
  • REM's CD Green has an orange and black cover.
  • Old Crow Medicine Show is not a Medicine Show, but an old-time band. Of course, you would often find old-time bands at medicine shows, but that's not really the point.
    • Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show wasn't a Medicine Show, either. Nor was their lead singer a doctor. He was nicknamed because he wore an eye patch that reminded his bandmates of Captain Hook.
  • The 1980s Philadelphia band The Hooters were named after the musical instrument, otherwise known as a melodica. Yeah, right.
  • A free concert headlined by Canadian indie folk band The New Pornographers at a semi-Christian college was canceled because one of the elderly heads of the school thought their name was obscene. They're actually named after an obscure Japanese film.
  • The PDQ Bach instrument known as the "wind breaker."
  • Pure Prarie League is not a temperance union based in North Dakota.
  • Jonathan Coulton's song "You Ruined Everything" is not, in fact, about how the eponymous "you" destroyed the singer's life. Quite the opposite, in fact.
  • Frank Beard is the only member of ZZ Top who does not wear a beard.
  • Barry Manilow did not write "I Write The Songs."
  • The LAME MP3 encoder isn't at all lame—it's renowned for excellence. Also, the name stands for LAME Ain't an MP3 Encoder, making it doubly misleading.
  • Synthesisers contain analytic components such as filters, although the way they work is mostly synthetic.
  • The album Octoberon by Barclay James Harvest was their tenth, not their eighth. It should have been called "Decameron".
    • Unless their intention was, you know, a reference to October, the tenth month of the year.
  • Few people would describe Grand Funk Railroad's music as funk. The name was inspired by the Grand Trunk and Western Railroad, which ran through the band's native Flint, Michigan.
  • Technically The Moody Blues albums Seventh Sojourn and Octave are their eight and ninth albums respectively, because their first (unsuccessful) professional era resulted in one album, The Magnificent Moodies. However, most fans regard their true professional life to have started with Days of Future Passed, and thus disregard this album, which may not even still be available.
  • The band Sleepytime Trio was actually a four-piece throughout almost all their existence, though they started out as a trio and added the fourth member shortly after formation making it more of an Artifact Title.
  • Eric Singer is the drummer in Kiss.
  • Violent Femmes, as pointed out in Sabrina the Teenage Witch: "... there aren't even any femmes in the band, let alone violent ones!"
    • Gordon Gano has said that "femme" is, in this case, Wisconsin high school slang for a sissy, which fits the band's nerdish image.
  • Orbital's first album was nicknamed the Green Album, but the cover looks more yellow, and the CD itself is red.
    • The original British sleeve is definitely green. Slightly on the yellow side of green, but definitely green.
  • As someone once pointed out, British DJ Dr. Fox is neither a real doctor nor a real fox. British Conservative politician Dr Liam Fox, by contrast, is a real doctor, but he doesn't live in a burrow with a vixen and cubs either.
  • At full strength, there are more than five members in the current line-up of gospel greats the Five Blind Boys of Alabama, and not all of them are blind Alabamans. Sadly, they're not really boys these days either. Sheer longevity has made the name less indicative than it was originally.
  • "(This Song's Just) Six Words Long" is a lot more than six words long. Even if you go with the intended joke, it's seven words long (The word "is" is clearly enunciated in the lyrics, not as apart of a contraction with "just").
  • Stereolab's "Stunning Debut Album". It's actually a 7" single, and the band's second or third release. Their final album Not Music has more music than advertised.
  • The Talking Heads' concert film/album Stop Making Sense takes its name from the chorus of a song that is actually titled "Girlfriend Is Better".
  • The Warlock song "Three Minute Warning" is only two and half minutes long.
    • Liquid Tension Experiment's "Three Minute Warning" goes the other way and lasts over 27 minutes.
  • 17 Hippies, which is actually comprised of 13 Germans.
  • Acid House Kings have nothing to do with the music genre Acid House. In fact they play indie pop with no traces of electronic dance music whatsoever.
  • In Drake's song "Marvin's Room", Marvin's Room isn't the name of the club he's in and his ex-girlfriend's current boyfriend is not named Marvin. In fact the name Marvin is never mentioned. The name is a reference to Marvin Gaye's music studio, where Drake recorded the song.
    • Similarly, Lil Wayne's "MegaMan" doesn't sample the Mega Man theme; it's just the name of the song's producer. The Young Money camp seems to be sticking with a lot of working titles lately.
  • Alt-country band 5 Chinese Brothers probably takes the cake. Not a quintet, not Chinese and not brothers.
  • A set of humorous Christian album covers making the rounds on the internet included a gospel quartet named "The King's Three," and a sermon by a middle-aged man entitled "Confessions of a Teenage Girl."
  • The story recounted in the Dan Fogelberg song "Same Old Lang Syne" takes place on Christmas Eve, not New Year's Eve.
  • Part Nonindicative Name, part Refrain From Assuming: on Marilyn Manson's album Antichrist Superstar, the title track doesn't feature the line "antichrist superstar"; the following track, "1996", does.
  • Covenant's "Theremin" does not use the instrument of the same name, although named after its inventor.
  • The title track of Roxette's album Crash! Boom! Bang!" is a soft, slowly building ballad with strings.
  • Despite its rather dark title, "That Finger On Your Temple Is The Barrel Of My Raygun" by Stars of the Lid is actually a soothing ambient song.
  • Done deliberately by XTC's "Don't Lose Your Temper", which has the exact opposite premise of what you'd guess of the title: The narrator's girlfriend has a hot temper, which he finds attractive, and he doesn't want her to "lose" it as a trait. Thus "Don't lose your temper / 'cause I'd hate you to grow mild".
  • The Beach Boys' album Shut Down, Volume 2 - The Shut Down it's supposedly a sequel to isn't a Beach Boys album, but a compilation by various artists that included some Beach Boys songs. It can be kind of confusing to look at a Beach Boys discography and see Shut Down, Volume 2 but no Shut Down, Volume 1.
  • Joan Of Arc's Live In Chicago 1999 is not a Live Album. Word of God is that "live" is meant as in the verb (i.e. it rhymes with "give", not "dive"), and it's just a reference to the fact that the band were all living in Chicago in 1999... Though clearly they were also messing with listeners by calling a studio album such a thing.
  • Green Day's song "Good Riddance" sounds like it should be loud and angry, but it is a sad, contemplative song that is often played at events like funerals and high school graduations.
  • "Sunrise" by Alphazone was the trance duo's final single, after which they parted ways and rode off into the sunset, so to speak.
  • Mozart's name derives from two original root words: "motz" and "hart," meaning "stupid" and "tough." It essentially means Dumb Muscle.
  • Slipknot's Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses is the band's fourth album. The name only applies if you discount their 1996 debut Mate, Feed, Kill, Repeat out of being self-released and having a slightly different lineup.
  • Skillet's album Alien Youth has nothing to do with extraterrestrials or ethnic immigrants. The title track and "Earth Invasion" refer to liberal Christian "outsiders" influencing the human race, and even then this concept is exclusive to those two tracks; the rest of the album focuses on spiritual yearning and existential Angst.
  • The name of Viking Metal band Amon Amarth is taken from The Lord of the Rings, yet aside from their self-titled song, none of their material has anything to do with the works of JRR Tolkein. Though they initially formed under the name Scum, they don't appear to have any songs that address politics, misanthropic cynicism or anything else that Napalm Death would use as a lyrical basis.[2]
  • When Billy Corgan named his band Smashing Pumpkins, he specifically intended "Smashing" to be read as an adjective, not a verb. From 1994 onward, all official releases added a "The" prefix to alleviate the constant misreadings.

Oral Tradition, Folklore, Myths and Legends

  • The Sword in the Stone is technically a Sword in an Anvil on a Stone. Early swordsmiths would shape a weapon using a smoothed flat piece of stone, marble for preference. The term for one was a "sword-stone". When iron anvils began to take over, the term stuck around for a while. So the Sword in the Stone was thrust through two Sword-stones, the first a "modern" one of iron, tho other an old pagan one of stone. The Sword in the Anvil isn't as poetic as the Sword in the Stone, so the name stuck even though the language has moved on.
  • The Three Holy Kings in Christianity are neither holy nor kings, and we're not sure if there were three of them.
    • The belief that there were three of them comes from the verse in the Bible that says that "wise men" (who were likely astrologers) brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Three gifts, so it was assumed that there were three "kings".
      • Somehow insinuating that three gifts fit for a king indicated that the givers were also kings. The story was later elaborated, giving them names (Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar), made them a youth, a man, and an old man and an African, an Asian and a European so that once could say that representatives of all humanity worshipped Jesus at his birth. Except half of the planet is female, and quite a few people also live in the Americas and Oceania.
      • At least some interpretations states that they pointed out that He was a king (gold), God (frankincense) and human (myrrh - which was used in burning rituals).
      • Also, in earlier mythology, Krishna was also given gold, frankincense and myrrh at birth, for precisely the same reason.
  • Heracles means "Glory of Hera". He's Zeus' son but not Hera's (he would be her nephew) and was given the name in an attempt to please her. It didn't work.
    • Although this may be because the myth of Heracles has been handed down to us in the Hera-phobic Theban version. It would appear that in the lost version from Argos, a city that took worship of Hera very seriously, the relationship between Heracles and Hera was portrayed on more friendly terms.
  • Pandora's Box; in most original versions of the story, it's not a box, but a large, sealed jar.


  • You would think that a magazine named Garden & Gun would be perfect for that firearms enthusiasts with a nurturing side, but it's really about Southern fine dining and high culture.

Tabletop Games

  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • There's a prestige class in one of the settings called "Lord of Tides". It has nothing to do with the sea; its main purpose is to locate water in the dry desert setting used, and later summon elementals.
    • There's also Turn Undead, which uses an obscure meaning of the word "turn".
    • The Book With No End, a minor artifact; it has exactly 100 pages.
    • Umber hulks are almost always depicted with black or grey exoskeletons, never umber, which is a shade of yellowish-brown.
  • Chinese Checkers game was created in Germany. This Non-Indicative Name was induced deliberately when it was brought into the United States, as the marketers thought it sounded more exotic that way. Probably for the same or a similar reason, when the traditional English dice game Yacht was mass-marketed, it was given a pseudo-Oriental makeover and renamed Yahtzee (no connection with this Yahtzee).
  • Necrons for Warhammer 40,000 have melee soldiers known as "Flayed Ones". Actually, they are the ones doing the flaying. And wearing their victims' skins.
    • Also in the novels, Graham McNeil Ultramarines novel Dead Sky, Black Sun has the Unfleshed, hulking monstrosities with a lot of flesh in the form of muscle. It's the skin they lack (no, it wasn't taken by the guys above).
  • Joe Dever was obviously far more concerned about creating an elaborate world and riveting adventures when writing the Lone Wolf series than accurate titles. As a result, quite a few of them are at best very loose fits:
    • Fire on the Water - This refers to the big naval battle where you wield the legendary Sommerswerd, which occurs at the very end of the adventure and is easily the least dangerous part of it. The great majority of the adventure is your quest to obtain the weapon.
    • The Caverns of Kalte - Your mission begins in open wilderness and ends in a fortress; unless you take one very specific branch of one very specific path, you won't see the eponymous caverns at all.
    • The Kingdoms of Terror - The wars between the Stornland kingdoms play next to no real part in your quest, and in any case there's nothing particularly terrifying about any of them.
    • The Cauldron of Fear - Not only is the Cauldron is a completely nondescript landmark which serves solely to get you to Zaaryx, there's a 50% chance you won't even use that route.
    • The Dungeons of Torgar - As with FOTW, the point of nearly the entire adventure is getting to Torgar's dungeons, and you hardly do anything in them.
    • The Prisoners of Time - You don't see the prisoners in question until the very end of the adventure, they don't have anything to do with your quest, and until you meet them you don't even know who they are.
    • The Captives of Kaag - Just the one captive! (There are other unfortunates in Kaag, but the're well beyond saving.)
    • Dawn of the Dragons - An epic, sprawling journey where you face a grand total of ONE dragon, near (yep) the very end. And of course, if you're successful, there is no "dawn of the dragons" ; they're toast.
    • The Curse of Naar - Despite the fact that you're in Naar's domain, not only doesn't he speak to you or attempt to hinder your quest (especailly curious since he does both several times over the course of Grand Master), he doesn't even appear at all!


  • The opera Four Saints in Three Acts is in four acts and about as many as seven saints. (It's difficult to give an exact number of protagonists due to the show's incomprehensible style.)
  • The dance number "Bolero d'Amour" from Follies is a tango.
  • Shakespeare's Twelfth Night does not take place on Twelfth Night, nor is it even mentioned in the play.
  • the main character from Miss Saigon, Kim, doesn't actually win the Miss Saigon title at the beauty pageant that opens the musical.
  • The eponymous Fiddler on the Roof is not a main character of the musical at all, and only shows up at the very beginning as a metaphor for the main character Tevye to point out.
  • The finale song "Letting Go" from some productions of The Musical of Jack Heifner's Vanities is not necessarily a farewell song, but about not letting go of one's best friends.

Video Games

  • Aqua Rhapsody doesn't feature any rhapsody at all, let alone an AQUA rhapsody.
  • The Elder Scrolls series very rarely include the eponymous Elder Scrolls, if at all.
    • And when they do (in Oblivion), the Elder Scroll in question is just an insignificant MacGuffin.
    • In Skyrim, however, it's a vital part of the main plot.
    • Of course, while the scrolls themselves aren't usually seen in-game, the events of the main quests in each game are events foretold by the scrolls, and the plots of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th games are kicked off by the Emperor taking action because of what the scrolls revealed to him.
    • Also from Skyrim, Grelod the Kind is anything but.
  • Metal Gear is an example, since it doesn't look remotely like any kind of metal gear.
    • This is explained in Snake Eater by Granin as its intended purpose as the previously "missing link" between infantry and artillery (like a gear in an engine).
  • Donkey Kong is a gorilla. Shigeru Miyamoto came up with the name when trying to find a name to mean "Stubborn Ape", making this a case of Foreign Sounding Gibberish for him - specifically, he was looking up "stubborn" in a Japanese-to-English dictionary, and the sample sentence was "stubborn as a donkey".

Fry: Wait a second, I know that monkey, his name is Donkey!
Professor Hubert Farnsworth: Monkeys aren't donkeys, quit messing with my head!

  • One level in Donkey Kong Country Returns is called "Peaceful Pier". Other than three very small wooden platforms floating in the sea, there is no pier, and the level consists of piloting a rocket-powered barrel over an ocean while being perpetually bombarded by fire from a pirate ship.
    • Similarly, Continental Circus is a race game. ("Circus" was a mistranslation and should have been "circuits"; this was later corrected.)
  • The Wind Fish in The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening is actually more of a Space Whale. Lampshaded by one of the Owl Stones:


  • Also a Non-Indicative Name is the title—this and Majora's Mask are the only Zelda games that don't feature a Zelda. Although she's mentioned early on, and Marin's her Expy, it leaves you wondering why Link's awakening (that is, dream) has anything to do with Zelda's legend.
  • Technically, Zelda does appear in Majora's Mask, but only in a flashback, and apart from re-teaching Link the Song of Time, her role in the game is otherwise irrelevant.
  • In Ocarina of Time, the Forest Temple is actually a ruined old mansion, and the Shadow Temple is actually a series of torture chambers - no reference is made to either being used for worship.
  • In itself, the series proper is a misnomer. Certainly, the eponymous character plays a prominent role in most of the games, but I'm pretty sure the Hero of Legend is the boy in the green hat.
  • In Final Fantasy Tactics, the blaze gun shoots ice and the glacier gun shoots fire. This is one result of the Blind Idiot Translation that plagues the original PlayStation release - the guns were "Anti-Blaze Gun" and "Anti-Glacier Gun" respectively in the original Japanese, and the PSP remake fixes this by simply swapping the names.
    • While we're at it, the NPC ability "Steal Bracelet"? Instantly kills the target; "breath" was consistently mistranslated as "bracelet" in the English release, which is why dragons had "Fire Bracelet" as an ability.
    • Continuing this fashion in Final Fantasy Tactics A2 are what happens when you have mages named after colors—some fans think that they're named after clothing and sprite colors, but actually the names are perfectly indicative of what magic type they use. White mage uses white magic, black mage uses black magic, etc. Still leads to cases of Green Mages wearing purple clothing, though, when the player mages tend to have color-matching clothing.
    • Final Fantasy itself lives this trope with a whopping 15 sequels (including 2 MMOs, but NOT including the spinoffs). It is an Artifact Title due to the developers believing the original Final Fantasy being a one off title. Considering there is no continuity between main series games, referring to each game as "Final Fantasy" still makes sense for most of the series, since most of the game worlds only are used in one game.
  • Playable character Roger Jr. in Tekken. The character fighting is actually Roger's mate, Mrs. Roger, carrying their son (the actual Roger Jr.) in her pouch.
  • In Dark Sector, the main character gains access to a biomechanical weapon called a glaïve. It's the same sort of weird thing as in Krull, not an actual glaïve. Again.
    • This seems to be a theme, as a spinning bladed weapon referred to as a glaïve appears in both StarCraft (the Mutalisk's Glaïve Wurm) and Warcraft III (the Night Elf Glaïve Thrower)
  • Rayman doesn't shoot rays of any kind, nor is he a flatfish.
    • The character was created with ray tracing techniques.
  • In Kingdom Hearts, if your heart is removed, you become a Heartless, and sometimes a Nobody. However, the creatures called "The Heartless" are not made from the person-minus-the-heart, but rather the heart itself. The creatures made of everything but the heart are called "The Nobodies".
  • Played with in Tsukihime. Specifically, with the character Souka Tsukihime, who, despite the coincidence, is a very minor character.
  • The Warthog, a military jeep, in Halo, as lampshaded in Red vs. Blue.

Sarge: Gentlemen, presenting the M-12 L.R.V. I like to call it the "Warthog".
Simmons: Why Warthog, sir?
Sarge: Because M-12 L.R.V. is too hard to say in conversations, son.

    • This is simply indicative of the standard UNSC (human-forces) naming convention for their vehicles: nearly all of them (Warthog, Hornet, Mongoose, Pelican) are named after animals.
  • In all five generations of Pokémon game there has been an area you go through before you can reach the Elite Four called Victory Road (though in the first two it was the same place), and in all five cases it isn't a road, it's a tunnel (not even one with a road going through it as traversing requires going through narrow paths, bridges, ladders, and even water in some versions).
    • Victory Road is, in a way, The Very Definitely Final Dungeon of the game, though it's not the conclusion. The first generation of games had a long route leading up to the dungeon proper, along the course of which the player would have to use nearly every single Hidden Machine move (each of which has its own effect on the environment) acquired in the game thus far. Dungeons in Pokémon games have always been good about making the player use these abilities to get through them, but Victory Road and a few other dungeons take this to the next level. The naming convention could potentially be interpreted as inspiring (the game is nearly over) or as sarcastic (this dungeon will test all of one's skills as a Pokémon trainer, though thankfully there are plenty of opportunities to heal freely after exiting).
    • Also, in the fourth generation, the Amplifier Artifacts for the main trio of legendaries are all called orbs, even though only one barely resembles an orb.
    • Quite a few Pokémon have names that barely resemble what they're supposed to represent: Sandshrew looks more like a armadillo or pangolin then an actual shrew.
    • The animation for the move Submission suggests some sort of spinning grapple attack rather than a submission hold.
  • Wario Master of Disguise has as one of its treasures the Superfantastical Money Tree... which does absolutely nothing and is a boring potted plant:
    • Sure, it sounds fancy. But it's just a plant. A boring old potted plant. Slap anyone who tries to tell you otherwise.
    • There is an ornamental plant popular in Japan and Taiwan called a money tree.
  • Plumbers Don't Wear Ties. Yeah, he does!
  • SimCity has this with the building names:
    • Generic "Small Shops" and "Retail Stores" are proper, but the high class "Boutiques" are wrong. A boutique usually is a very small building or something somebody has in their house, and none of those boutiques are tiny.
    • Apartment names are worse. The Hamster Tenement is not small and cute like a hamster, but a big ugly building. Most of the Condos are not very fancy either.
  • Team Star FOX is only composed of two actual foxes (Fox & Krystal) that are mercenaries. The other guys are a bird, frog, and rabbit, as well as a robot.
    • Likewise, there's only one wolf in Team Star Wolf, but that might be because of something else...
      • The teams are named after their leaders. There is even a Star Falco team in one of the alternate endings to Command. However, as far as the games go, Star Fox Adventures certainly fits the bill, as the rest of the team bascially does nothing and there isn't a lot of action in space like Star would imply.
  • In Brütal Legend, the Kill Master's job does indeed have to do with death...namely, preventing it. He uses the Power of Rock to heal anything up to but not quite including death. He only takes the name to frighten away intruders, and protect his flock... of giant spiders.
    • Not only does Kill Master have an Informed Ability to take your head clean off at will, he's an obvious expy of Lemmy Kilmister, legendary bassist and singer. Lita and Lars are supposed to remind you of other heavy metal legends, but only Kill Master is a straight up expy of the person they are named after. Lemmy Kilmister voiced Kill Master to boot. Quite an illustrative name.
  • None of the rinks in Backyard Hockey are in a backyard.
  • "Usagi" is Japanese for "rabbit". Usagi from Nezumi Man, however, is no more of a rabbit than Jessica Rabbit. Usagi is a kangaroo.
  • If anyone who played Team Fortress 2 actually cared about scouting, the Scout would not be a very good class for it as they're incredibly noticeable, and the Sniper's zoom vision and Spy's invisibility make them better at it.
    • A fairly funny example is the map "Gorge", whose eponymous land feature according to a blog post is not a gorge but "a large-ish hole not big enough to meet the U.S. Geological Survey’s standards for a gorge, disguised as a by-the-book, nothing-to-see-here gorge." A much later blog post state in development the gorge was originally a good deal larger and deeper.
    • The unlockable Heavy secondary "The Buffalo Steak Sandvich" is not a "sandvich", just a steak ("Who needs bread?")
    • What the team names are acronyms for, Reliable Excavation & Demolition and Builder's League Union, are rather the opposite of what the teams tend to when both sides don't have the same goal: RED is defense and thus tend to have Engineers making a lot of Sentry Guns to stop the other team while BLU is offense and thus need to demolish a lot of those Sentry Guns to advance (often relying heavily on Demomen).
      • Particularly noticeable in payload maps, where the Builders' League Union is trying to push a cart with a huge bomb on it to blow up Reliable Excavation and Demolition's base and weapons stockpile. Regardless, neither has anything to do with construction. The names are really just a Paper-Thin Disguise for the two teams of mercenaries.
  • Mega Man is a robot boy. At least his Japanese name Rockman is a reference to his civilian name Rock.
  • The main character in Twin Blades uses a single blade. There's not a player two to be the twin, either. Maybe the scythe is double-sided?
  • In Nox a prominent NPC is named Lord Horrendous. He's a bit of a Knight Templar, but essentially a decent guy.
  • In World of Warcraft Lady Deathwhisper actually yells a lot and does not in fact ever whisper. This would have been a better name for Herald Voljasz, or one of those animal bosses in Zul'Gurub that whisper random players with death threats.
    • The Fist of Subtlety, an insignificant quest reward, is a giant spiky "fist weapon" that covers most of your arm, and is used for punching people. The description even has the annotation "Not at all".
    • The Combat Rogue's Mastery skill is called "Main Gauche," and it gives the rogue a certain probability of landing an extra attack with the weapon in his right hand. "Main Gauche" means left hand in French.
    • It's possible to get a Dwarven Fishing Rod and Goblin Fishing Rod. The latter is several sticks of dynamite, the former is a shotgun.

"Dwarves are not known for their subtlety."

  • The flash game Crazy Flasher does not involve a deranged pervert exposing themself.
  • The Archdemon in Dragon Age is not, in fact, a demon; it's actually a dragon.
  • Mother 3 had the Tower of Love and Peace.
  • StarCraft has nothing to do with stars, and the not much to do with crafting, unless you consider commanding an army a craft. Nor does it involve too many space-ships since a lot of the battles take place entirely between ground units.
    • The "star" part supposedly have to do with the main plot, with outer space races apart from humans (terrans). But the mystery on "craft" still remains.
    • Clearly, the name "StarCraft" is a play on "Warcraft," the original Real-Time Strategy game from Blizzard Entertainment; it is Warcraft ...but in space!
  • The Super Mario Bros. Fan Game Normal Super Mario Bros. is anything but normal. The same goes for its sequels.
  • The Four Guardians in Mega Man Zero are always called that even after one of them dies in the first game. This is even lampshaded on the spine card of one of the soundtracks.
  • The World Ends With You is not nearly as depressing and apocalyptic as the title makes it sound. This is largely due to copyright issue - the game's Japanese name is It's A Wonderful World, which makes the game sound rather more upbeat than it is.
    • It's revealed partway through to be very indicative of the game's theme, just not in the way you'd expect. It's a philosophical statement, and a reason why you should "expand your horizons".
  • Treasure Planet: Battle at Procyon never features the actual Procyon. In fact, the player never even leaves the borders of The Empire. You do fight the Procyons, but this still doesn't explain the "at" preposition.
    • Lampshaded by an end credit that says, "No battle actually takes place at Procyon".
  • An example of a Non-Indicative Subtitle: Ufouria - The Saga is not a saga at all, since the other games in the Hebereke series have nothing to do with that one and no sequels were ever made.
  • Nexus the Jupiter Incident only features Jupiter at the very beginning, spending most of the time in other systems. The only reason for the name is an obvious Title Drop in a Captain's Log.
  • In Master of Orion, the Bulrathi are bears, not bulls.
  • Resident Evil's Raccoon City is neither well-known for raccoons or particularly populated with them. Even when the city's population of humans and animals are zombified, there aren't any zombie-raccoons in sight.
    • There is also a lack of raccoons in Raccoon Forest.
  • The Dawn of War game is not about the first war in history between ancient civilizations - it's a Real Time Strategy adaption of Warhammer 40,000, a futuristic setting with a Forever War, and the game certainly isn't set at the a very early time within the setting. The name get even more illogical for its sequel numbered 2, with a third set to happen. It does sound cool, though.
  • Many of the track names on Medal of Honor's OST don't correspond to the levels the songs are used in, as they were originally composed for levels that were Dummied Out. One, "Approaching Colditz Castle", didn't even appear in the game, although it was later used in the Behind Enemy Lines mission in Allied Assault. Same for Frontline's OST": "Border Town" and "Shipyards of Lorient" are switched around in-game, and "The Halftrack Chase" should have been titled "The Truck Chase".
  • The Half-Life games have some examples:
    • Antlions from Half-Life 2 don't resemble real life antlions. They are quadripedal quasi-crustacean creatures while real antlions resemble dragonflies.
    • The Half-Life games themselves have nothing to do with radioactive decay; the player character, though a PHD-holding scientist, works in theoretical physics and ballistics, not radiology.
  • Invoked in Bayonetta. Angels are really horrifying monsters that dress it up really nicely, and their names are no exception. To name a few: Affinity, Dear and Decorations, Kinship (really), Inspired, Balder and Jubileus. Averted with the Demon race, which likewise Invokes Names to Run Away From Really Fast.
    • It's perfectly indicative. Angels as depicted in the Bible were often horrifying, unearthly creatures, such as burning wheels within wheels, five-winged creatures that keep themselves perpetually covered in their wings to stop their radiances from killing anyone who looked upon them and all kinds of crazy stuff. Bayonetta's probbably the most accurate depiction (visually) of a lot of the angels from the Old Testament.
    • Also, there's Fairness, who... isn't.
    • Bayonetta herself; she does use guns a lot, but none of them have bayonets.
  • Ace Attorney Investigations. Edgeworth is a prosecutor; in-universe, this is a very different job from an attorney (who are defense only). Also, none of the game involves trials. This title is, of course, just meant to link the game to the rest of the series, but still.
    • He has been called a "prosecuting Attorney" on at least one occasion, however.
  • Crazy Bus has very dull and straightforward gameplay, not very crazy at all. The music, on the other hand...
  • The Nihon Falcom RPG Dinosaur has no dinosaurs in it.
  • In Devil May Cry, the recurring boss "Phantom" is not a ghost or a person who walks through walls: he's a giant flaming spider made out of magma. The name might refer to his ability to tunnel into the earth to appear and disappear at will, but that's a stretch.
  • In Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse, the Devil's Toybox is not, in fact, in any way associated with The Devil. He actually shows up in the final episode, during the Eldritch Abomination rampage, to dispel the rumors that he is involved with Junior's actions.
  • Most of the Riddle School games indeed take place in schools, but RS5 and Riddle Transfer take place on a spaceship and in Area 51, respectively.
  • If a spell, weapon or attack is named "Flare", it's probably either extremely powerful (Final Fantasy) or extremely weak (Descent, Guild Wars), depending on whether the name refers to solar flares or flare guns.
  • One of the games included in the Three Wonders arcade anthology is called "Chariot - Adventure through the sky". This refers to the eponymous vehicle, which is nothing like a chariot and in fact is more like a hang-glider.
  • The Lion King names several levels after songs from the movie it was based on. However, the level "Be Prepared" has nothing to do with the song "Be Prepared," which is instead used as background music to the "Elephant Graveyard" level.
  • The Koopa Clown Car from Super Mario World is actually a helicopter.
  • Just Dance for Wii doesn't have "Just Dance" by Lady Gaga.
  • Psycho Waluigi has the Home Hardware Kingdom, which is really a hardware store with the word "kingdom" in it (as Psycho Iris points out). Granted, there is a king to dethrone at the end of the level, but he's probably about as much of a king as the Burger King is.
  • The galaxies in Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2 are actually miniature solar systems.
  • One of Superhero from Superhero League of Hoboken is Captain Excitement. His special power animal to sleep.
  • Tiger in Monster Rancher is actually a wolf-like creature. However, Tiger is a mistranslation of the name of a hero in one of Tecmo's other games.
  • The side mission "Warring without Weapons" in Valkyria Chronicles is not a No-Gear Level. In fact, it's one of the game's few straight-up Kill'Em All missions.
  • The Ninja Gaiden games (gaiden meaning side story) are not a side story to anything
  • In Final Fight, Andore Jr. is Andore's younger brother, not his son.
  • U.S. Gold was a British video game publisher. Although their original purpose was to localize American games for the European market, they eventually branched out to publishing original European-developed games from companies such as Core Design and Delphine Software as well.
  • Two of the three games contained in the Three Wonders arcade anthology are about a quest to find and use something called the "Chariot". This "Chariot" is, for all intents and purposes, a sort of fancy hang-glider.
  • Quartet 2 is not the sequel to the Sega arcade game Quartet, it's just an alternate version of the same game made for 2-player cabinets (since the original was available only as a deluxe 4-player cabinet).
  • Hang-On II is not a sequel to Hang-On, it's just an SG-1000 port of the original game. The number was only added to distinguish it from the Master System port of Hang-On released prior to it.
  • Silent Hill
    • The eponymous town really isn't very hilly.
    • Pyramid Head, the Big Bad of the second game is named for his helmet, which is technically not pyramid-shaped, being seven-sided.
  • There is an arena in a few Mortal Kombat games called Jade's Desert. No reason has ever been given as to why it is named after Jade. In fact, it first appears in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, and seeing as the plot of that game takes place in Earthrealm, it's doubtful that this arena is even part of Outworld, making it odd that it would be named after an Edenia native. To make it even more confusing, when the arena reappears in Mortal Kombat 9, a statue of Sindel is added, possibly suggesting the place had something to do with Edenia, but not Jade.

Web Comics

  • 8-Bit Theater has the "Goblin Punch", an attack that is actually a kick to the groin from a very non-goblin monster. It was named by "the greatest crypto-zoologist in all of Red Mage history: Blindy O'Sightless."
    • Dataspheres are square/cubic (sort of). Blame that on pixels.
      • Conversely, an earlier strip had a Summoning Cube that looked like a sphere.
    • There's also Fighter pondering how we drive on parkways and park on driveways.
  • Many webcomics have this type of name. 1/0, for example, has nothing to do with impossible mathematics.
    • The name does get explained in a footnote as having to do with the impossible nature of existence (i.e. "Everything (1) coming from Nothing (0)"), but that's still arguably oblique.
  • The Big Bad of The Wotch is named Xaos (pronounced Chaose), but is an avatar of order (while the protagonist is one of chaos).
  • In Chasing the Sunset, there is the magister Malvenicus * Dramatic Thunder * , who is a rather normal looking guy.
  • Subverted in this Daisy Owl Strip.
  • Girls with Slingshots contains plenty of girls, but few slingshots. The name does, however, crop up in reference to an alcoholic beverage in one strip, a tongue-in-cheek concession by the creator to those baffled by the ambiguous title.
    • In the back of the first printed collection of the webcomic, the creator writes that it began with a few sketches - guess what they were of - and that after drawing a few of these, people began to ask Danielle Corsetto when those "girls with slingshots" would have their own comic strip. The kicker is that she then adds that she was drawing slingshots "...because I couldn't draw guns very well."
  • Irregular Webcomic is this on one level (it's one of the most consistently updated webcomics out there) but not so much on others (it's a very unorthodox style of webcomic, what with the numerous unrelated plotlines and such).
    • With the comic ending in October 2011, it is no longer irregular (updates every Sunday) nor a webcomic (new content will be new text annotations, released regularly every day).
  • Order of the Stick: Miko Miyazaki isn't a Miko, and Lord Shojo is neither female nor adolescent, though it should be noted that both "Miko" and "Shojo" can be written with kanji that don't have the common meanings, and Japan doesn't exist in the OoTS universe.
  • Buttersafe has very little to do with butter, or the safety of it.
  • MS Paint Adventures has been made in Photoshop since day two.
    • Problem Sleuth is about weird puzzle shit and RPG mechanics.
    • The characters in Homestuck got out of their homes quite some time ago.
      • Possibly lampshaded in Homestuck when the trolls compare their cultural naming conventions of movies. Troll movie titles are very long and Exactly What It Says on the Tin, down to describing each individual character, plot element and how many kisses and murders there are. When John points out to Karkat how stupid this is, Karkat justifies it by saying that troll movies have been around for much longer than human movies.
      • Each of the heroes has a Title consisting of a Class and an Aspect, like Heir of Breath. Some of the aspects are non-indicative, like Breath (which effectively means wind) and Light (chance or probability). The titles, though, are almost completely non-indicative. A Prince is not a leadership role, but rather someone who brings destruction to their aspect, or by means of their aspect. A Witch is creative, a Bard is passively destructive, etc.
        • However, if you have the right Title, you can have a secondary ability that makes your Aspect more literal. For example, a Page of Breath can use wind to perform CPR, and a Sylph of Light can cure the blind.
  • Wright As Rayne is, in spite of its name, about Badass Normal superhero Alex Rayne being part of a one-sided Freaky Friday Flip with teenage girl Dorothy Wright. Apparently Rayne As Wright doesn't have the same ring to it.
  • Penny Arcade generally features home console or PC releases.
  • Route 148 doesn't really have anything to do with any roads other than that people use them to travel by.
  • The name of the journal comic The Devil's Panties has absolutely nothing to do with its content. At conventions, the booth banner declares, "It's not Satanic porn, honest!"
  • xkcd looks like an acronym for something. In fact, it doesn't mean anything; it's just a string of random letters that the creator (Randall Munroe) liked.
  • The full title of the Remix Comic Jet Dream is Jet Dream and her T-Girl Counterspies, inherited from the original comic book feature, Jet Dream and her Stunt-Girl Counterspies. However, in the Remix Comic, "Jet Dream" is the name of the organization, not the lead character, whose name is Harmony Thunder. She's occasionally referred to as "the Jet Dream Queen" as partial justification, but in truth, the title was chosen because photoshopping out the letters "STUN" made for a quick and dirty title change that also fit the main theme of the series.

Web Original

  • Deviant ART isn't really deviating from anything these days since it became an art community. And of those who question True Art, it doesn't have that all that either.
    • It does still have the computer theme deviations for which it was named (I assume). And art is in the eye of the beholder, so unless you are snarky and against photography, poetry, animesque illustrations, or the Furry Fandom, the name still holds. It's still an Artifact Title, though.
  • Facebook isn't really a book full of faces.
  • Chinese Troper Teslashark wrote a webfic that's called Time to Shoot Down the Moon. The rock-satellite of Earth suffers nothing in the story. In fact the author did it on purpose, to mock sci-fi series and war fictions with outrageous names.
  • TV Tropes, as stated in Hypocritical Humor.
  • Marble Hornets is certainly not about hornets made of marble.
    • In-universe, "Marble Hornets" is the name of the student film project that Alex Kralie came up with that got interrupted after Alex's run-in with you-know-what. Whether or not the title actually had some significance to the plot of the project is never explained.
  • The "Cheat Commandos O's" cereal pieces from Homestar Runner are actually not "O"-shaped, but rather nugget-shaped. This was even lampshaded on the box art where Fightgar was actually telling the other Commandos that the cereal pieces "aren't 'Os!"
  • The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) contains information about TV shows, individual episodes and video games.
  • Leekspin uses a Bleach clip in which Orihime spins what is clearly indicated in the show to be a scallion.
  • No Right Answer uses this for some episodes (Best Anime Ever should really be called Pokemon vs Digimon). Used deliberately for publicity.

Troping Wikis

  • The Other Tropes Wiki is neither about television nor tropes, and this wiki is not about tropes either - at least, not what your literature professor would think of first when he heard the word.
  • The Mexican Standoff trope wasn't coined in Mexico, but in Australia. Read the article for more information.
  • Quite a few examples in Non-Indicative Name are indeed indicative, just not literal.

Western Animation


Wakko: (holding up a vomit bag) Hey, mister. What's this?
Bloski: A vomit bag.
Wakko: (looks into the vomit bag) Oh, poo! I got gypped; there's none in here!

  • Hello Nurse may dress like a nurse, but she never works as one; she's more of a Sexy Secretary.
  • And from The Simpsons, Lisa's anxious fantasy about failing gym:

Judge: In that case I sentence you to a lifetime of horror on Monster Island. (to Lisa) Don't worry, it's just a name.
[Cut to Monster Island; Lisa and others are chased by lookalikes of Mothra, Rodan and Gamera]
Lisa: He said it was just a name!
Man: What he meant is that Monster Island is actually a peninsula.

  • Also, in the Simpsons episode "The PTA Disbands", the PTA most emphatically does not disband (though at one point, a guy mistakenly believes it did, panics and jumps out a window. And jumps back in when informed of his mistake). The episode got its title because writer Jennifer Crittenden thought that that was the worst thing that could possibly happen to a school.
  • The Simpsons also lampshades this trope in "'Scuse Me While I Miss The Sky", with the Deadly Meteor Shower; people are apprehensive about this name, until Lisa explains that it was named after its discoverer, Professor Artemis Deadly - who was killed in the shower of 1853.
  • And in "The Color Yellow," Bart learns that the Underground Railroad was neither underground nor a railroad, and wonders why they didn't call it "the Above-Ground Normal Road."
  • Nelson and Bart go to the cinema to see a film named "Naked Lunch".

Nelson: I can think of at least two things wrong with that title..."

  • Reading the inscription on a statue in Futurama:

Fry: "Philip J. Fry, the Original Martian." Lies! Every word of it! He wasn't original, he wasn't a Martian, he wasn't Philip J. Fry, and since when is he a "The?"
Bender: You're twice the "The" he ever was!


Professor: the darkest depths of the Forbidden Zone
Leela: Professor, are we even allowed in the Forbidden Zone?
Professor: Why, of course! It's just a name, like the Death Zone or the Zone of No Return. All the zones have names like that in the Galaxy of Terror!

  • The Cave of Hopelessness. Named after Reginald Hopelessness, of course.
  • Who, in a similar gag to the Simpsons one above, was the first man to be eaten alive by the Tunneling Horror.
  • In the Portuguese dub, apart from very poor acting and especially poor translation, all of the episodes are named in the most generic, unfunny and misleading ways possible. For example, "Jurassic Bark", "The Lesser of Two Evils", "The Cryonic Woman", "Teenage Mutant Leela's Hurdles" and "Roswell That Ends Well" (that's five different episodes!) are all renamed "Back To The Past", and only the latter has any time-travelling.
  • South Park has the song "Kyle's Mom Is A Stupid Bitch In D Minor," which actually isn't in D-minor.
  • Transformers Armada: The Star Sabre has nothing to do with stars. The Skyboom Shield neither flies nor goes 'boom'. The Requiem Blaster is very loud when fired. Who named these things?
    • For that matter, the only thing that approaches an armada is Tidal Wave in his component parties.
      • The title "Armada" refers to the armada of Autobot and Decepticon ships during the Unicron battles, and the Requiem blaster does have a good chance of killing you.
    • Also, the Cyber Planet Keys are not actually keys, nor does the Omega Lock lock anything.
      • Many such oddities make more sense from a toy collector's perspective. Cyber Keys, for instance, are roughly key-shaped and are used to unlock various gimmicks. As for the Omega Lock, once all four keys are in place and it's put into its proper place in a temple on Cybertron, it unlocks the planet, allowing it to awaken and transform into the god Primus.
    • Some Transformers are named for features that later incarnations won't have. Armada Smokescreen doesn't have smoke (though he did once activate such a feature in the Autobots' base... something anyone could've done.) Energon Sixshot doesn't have anything to do with the number six (the original Sixshot had six forms, though the 'shot' is still a misnomer.) Cybertron Crosswise's name has nothing to do with him, though he is a 'monster hunter' and some monsters don't like crosses... but that's really stretching it. The first use of the name was with a guy in Transformers: Robots in Disguise who had a big X on his car hood. G1 Ramjet? An F-15, which doesn't use a ramjet. The list goes on and on.
    • Ramjet's name actually suits him pretty well, considering his penchant for ramming other aircraft out of the sky.
    • Whisper in Shattered Glass is LOUD! Mind you, it is SG. Of course, since the Decepticons are not only good but kind of foppish in the SG universe, this is definitely meant to be an ironic thng.
      • Speaking of Shattered Glass, the good/evil alignment flip means some of the Obviously Evil names wind up on good guys, and the other way around. First Aid, Defensor? Bad. Sinnertwin, Demolishor, Rampage? Good.
    • In the G1 episode Enter the Nightbird, the character who needs help jumping up a cliff is the guy named Cliffjumper.
    • Bluestreak is silver, and not blue. Ironically, the Diaclone toy he was redecoed from was blue, and his packaging art showed him as being blue. Due to trademark problems, he was renamed "Silverstreak" in the 2000's, which fits better. But his thing is that he never shuts up; he talks a blue streak. "Silverstreak" just describes his color and implies that he's fast.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: Neither the eponymous SpongeBob, nor his pants, are actually square. He and his pants are rectangular prisms composed entirely of rectangular faces.
    • Also, Squidward is an octopus, not a squid.
  • In the Disney film The Great Mouse Detective, Padraic Ratigan actually ISN'T a rat; he's just a mouse drawn to look like a rat.
  • Asterix Conquers America: Asterix doesn't conquer America.
    • Though this is probably due to the translation having a Completely Different Title, since the original French title was Asterix et les Indiens (Asterix and the Indians)
  • The Princess and the Frog: Considering the movie takes place in America, the eponymous "Princess" isn't an actual princess, she's just mistaken for one,but becomes one at the end of the movie, considering the "Frog" is of royal descent.
  • The two part Family Guy episode "Stewie Kills Lois/Lois Kills Stewie"; neither title is accurate. In part 1, Stewie appears to kill Lois, but she turns out to be Not Quite Dead. Stewie does get killed in part 2, but it is Peter who kills him rather than Lois. And on top of that, the whole thing turns out to be a computer simulation anyway.
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: Its Non-Indicative Name was only half of the issues viewers had with "Foster's Goes to Europe".
    • And in the episode, Mac runs down several examples of foods that they have in Europe, including German chocolate cake.
  • Claymation is done using Plasticene® -- clay would dry out and harden.
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas is actually about how he could steal the decorations and gifts associated with Christmas; he couldn't actually steal the holiday, and even then, he gives back what he stole in the first place.
  • Fred and Barney Meet The Thing. Fred and Barney do not meet the Thing, if you can call him that; they're in segments that never cross over.
  • Phineas and Ferb gives us this gem:

Phineas: (After Candace and various others start falling from a plane) Wow, dumb luck. And over the Sea of Razor Sharp Rock Spires too!
Phineas: Good thing it was so inappropriately named!
(Candace and the others land on ground made of pillows.)

  • Flounder from The Little Mermaid is not a flounder (a flat gray fish that disguises itself as the bottom of the sea floor), but some sort of yellow tropical fish with blue stripes.
  • Similarly, Marlin from Finding Nemo is actually a clownfish like his son, Nemo. This was lampshaded about halfway through the film when Nigel the pelican tells Gill that Nemo's father shares his name with that of "a popular sport fish." Also, Dory is not a dory, she's a blue tang.
  • On Rocko's Modern Life, Heffer Wolfe is neither a heifer nor a wolf. Played with, however: he is a steer, and his last name comes from his adopted family, who are wolves.
  • Regular Show's tag line is "it's anything but"
  • The Quack Pack version of Duckburg, unlike the one seen in DuckTales (1987) and in the comics, is actually not populated by ducks (or any anthropomorphic animal), with the sole exceptions being Donald, Daisy, Professor von Drake, and the nephews, at all!
    • Also, Duckworth (Scrooge McDuck's butler), despite his name, is actually a dog.
  • Hey Arnold! plays with this, when a Drill Sergeant Nasty Sadist Teacher notes that Curly's hair isn't curly and demands to know his real name. The odd thing is, he's right—Curly's real first name is Thaddeus.
  • Doug Funnie isn't.
  • In a similar vein to the Power Rangers Zeo example mentioned above, one of the main villains in My Life as a Teenage Robot is Queen Vexus, leader of the Cluster Empire.
  • The Acme Hour on Cartoon Network was actually 2 hours long.
  • The Rugrats spinoff All Grown Up! features the characters as tweens.
  • The Avengers Earths Mightiest Heroes episode "Iron Man is Born" does not retell the origin of Iron Man, nor does "The Man in the Ant Hill" show Hank Pym explore an ant hill. Some other episodes have the same names as comics they do not actually adapt, but most of them still sound relevant to the plot.
  • The My Little Pony series, Newborn Cuties, is an unintended example of this trope, as the characters are neither newborn or cute..
  • The Scissorsmith in the Samurai Jack episode "Jack and the Farting Dragon"; he runs a shop that seems to sell everything except scissors.
  • In Dungeons and Dragons, Sheila is given the designation of "Thief" by the Dungeon Master, but this is incorrect on more than one levels. First off, she's not the Loveable Rogue type of hero who gets by through stealing from or duping enemies (although, to be honest, she could have done so offscreen, as it would have helped the heroes a lot) and even using original game terms, she doesn't fit a Thief's role in an adventuring group. Thieves are the type who disarm traps and locks, and strike at enemies from the shadows; while stealth is a big part of Sheila's role in the group (via her Invisibility Cloak) she's mostly noncombatant. In fact, ironically, "Rogue" (the name the class eventually evolved into) seemed far more fitting in hindsight.


  • A police department's "narcotics division" is responsible for policing the use and distribution of all illegal drugs, even though the term "narcotic" specifically refers to a substance with relaxing or sleep-inducing properties (it has the same root word as "narcolepsy"). Several narcotics are legal drugs that can be bought in a pharmacy (like sleeping pills), but there are plenty of illegal drugs that are not narcotics (like cocaine and crystal meth).
  • The English Horn, Cor Anglais if you like, is neither English (most likely originated from Poland), nor is it a horn (it's in the oboe family, i.e. a woodwind instrument, instead of a brass instrument). Apparently, the name came from the fact that it resembled the horns of the angels in religious images of the middle ages, and therefore was called engellisches Horn (angelic horn). However, engellisch also meant English back then (vernacular), hence the name stuck.
  • "Gothic" art is actually not based on art of the East Germanic tribe. It was originally used to distinguish newer forms of art from "classical" art. It was meant to be derogatory in the same way as calling something "barbaric." Popular literature that involved dark, violent, and sexual themes was dubbed "gothic literature," and provided the basis for the "Goth" subculture.
  • Harvard University's Statue of Three Lies has an inscription that reads "John Harvard, Founder, 1638". First, it's not a statue of John Harvard (they picked a random student to model as by the time they got around to commissioning the statue, no one know what John Harvard looks like any more), who wasn't the founder of Harvard anyway (he donated his entire personal library, and they named the school after him). And Harvard wasn't founded in 1638.
    • So all in all, Statue of Three Lies seems to be a pretty indicative name...
      • However, John Harvard is a Non-Indicative Name for the founder of Harvard, and "founder of Harvard" and the statue are both inaccurate descriptions of John Harvard, so those are both non-indicative.
    • Likewise, Yale's statue of Nathan Hale is not a statue of Nathan Hale at all but rather a statue of a member of the Class of 1914 whose pose was decided to be the most handsome. This did not stop the CIA from wanting to acquire that statue, though Yale was so proud of the statue that they only let the CIA make a cast of it.
    • Trickily, the 1638 doesn't actually refer to the founding of the University, but to the years John Harvard died. On top of this, it wasn't named Harvard University until 1639, 3 years after it was founded and a year after John Harvard's death.
  • "The "black boxes" that record measurements in airplanes are actually orange. If you called them orange boxes people would mistake them for fruit containers.
    • That, or they'd mistake them for collections of Half Life spinoffs.
    • They might look black after being in burning wreckage for a while.
    • They're called Black Boxes because they were initially black ... until it was realised that it's hard to find a small black object in a smouldering heap of debris or under water.
  • Boxing rings are square.
    • Pro-Wrestling lampshades this by referring to their ring as "The Squared Circle"
    • Boxing gloves don't have individual fingers, so they're more like boxing mittens, aren't they? Don't say that to a boxer's face, though.
  • The letter W (doubleyou) is actually a double V. Usually.[3] In Classical Latin, U and V were the same letter, sometimes pronounced like a U and sometimes like a W (but never like a V, or a voiced F), and some languages (e.g., French, Danish, Swedish, Spanish) refer to the letter W as Double V. The reason English is different is that for some time v and u were pronounced differently depending on where in the word they were. If the word began with 'v' it was pronounced as we pronounce 'v'; if the word had a 'v' or a 'u' in it elsewhere it would always be 'u'. 'Have' would be written as 'haue', but 'value' would be 'value'.
  • The gas pedal in your car controls the flow of air, not gasoline. If you drive a diesel, it controls fuel pressure, but then the fuel's not gasoline. And for that matter, this so-called "gas" is a liquid. In modern electric cars, it controls the flow of electrons. Except in Britain, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland and Canada where it's called an accelerator, which is perhaps more accurate.
    • Although, if the gas pedal did indeed control the flow of fuel, it might be correct too, as what burns is a gas; liquid gasoline will not burn. It has to evaporate and mix with oxygen to burn.
    • The technical name for that pedal has always been the accelerator (or throttle) - even in the U.S. "Gas Pedal" is simply a long standing slang term for it. Even still, since the amount of fuel that reaches the engine is directly proportional to the amount of air - it's not really that far off.
    • And in any case, only North Americans really call it "gas", the rest of the English-speaking world calls it "petrol".
    • If the "Gas pedal" controls the flow of air, and air is a gaseous state of matter, then hasn't it gone all the way around back to being an accurate name?
  • Pencil lead is actually graphite. The first "writing rods" were made from lead by Romans, but when graphite pencils were invented later, the name stuck.
  • Despite being commonly known as a tidal wave, a tsunami has nothing to do with tides. It took the news focusing on an actual tsunami (that killed over 100,000 people in 2004) for "tsunami" to supplant "tidal wave" in everyday vocabulary.
    • But this leads to the referring to actual tidal waves as "tsunamis", which is also wrong.
  • The game known in the U.S. as "football" deals with an object that can only loosely be considered a ball. And typically, only one or two players per team ever kick the ball.
    • The same happens in parts of Australia where "football" generally refers to one of the rugby codes. Australian Rules Football might pass the ball by hand a lot but you do need to kick the ball to score.
    • The Other Wiki says that the name "football" originally comes from the sports by that name being played on foot (as opposed to polo, played on horseback). That you manipulate the ball by kicking it in some of them is basically a coincidence.
  • The Panama hat is made in Ecuador.
  • The US five-cent piece, the nickel, is composed of three-quarters copper and only one-quarter nickel. In Canada it's even worse—it's 94.5% steel, 3.5% copper, with just a 2% nickel plating.
    • Also, the base metals which make up a US penny are worth more then one cent thanks to inflation and rising metal costs.
      • This has happened before, leading to formal restrictions: it's illegal to hoard US coins with the intent to melt them down into their component metals.
    • The name "nickel" is not particularly indicative of value; indeed, the original nickel was worth three cents, not five. "Dime" is slightly better, but only if you know its old French origins.
  • Space operas contain no singing at all. Neither do soap operas, and they aren't particularly clean, either (quite the opposite).
    • There was a time when this applied to everything on television, as most people still associated the medium with the old silent movies that were played to a musical score (the musical theme making it technically an opera). Soap operas were targeted at housewives, and so usually advertised for home cleaning products like soap.
      • And the fact that Procter & Gamble actually outright owned and produced a few of the shows such as As the World Turns until it ended.
  • Anybody studying (American) Civil War firearms would be surprised to learn that "minnie" balls: A: Were pretty darn big (usually .50 to .60 caliber) and B: Were conical-shaped (pointed cones). The first part of the name is a corruption of the name of its French inventor, Claude Minie (min-nay). The second, well it just rolled off the tongue--mini-cones doesn't have the same ring...
    • Relatedly, in English-speaking military parlance, plain solid ammo without hollow points, tracers, or incendiary loads is still called "ball", despite universally being either a cylinder with one rounded end (pistol ammo) or pointed (rifle ammo). Same goes with the French name for "bullet", balle.[4]
    • In the same way, Mini-guns are actually pretty big. They got that name for being rifle caliber (7.62mm), rotary guns as opposed to the standard Aircraft 20mm (Vulcan) cannon (cannon shells can explode, gun bullets don't... usualy).
    • A single action revolver requires two actions to fire.
      • The "single action" refers to the trigger, where it only releases the hammer. In a dual action revolver or pistol, the trigger can both cock the hammer and release it.
    • Rimless ammunition has a rim.
    • Smokeless powder produces smoke when it burns
      • Compared to black powder, there's almost no smoke and shooting it repeatedly (as in, a company of soldiers, per side) doesn't blanket the battlefield in a haze.
  • Roller Coasters often have nonindicative names:
    • They are also sometimes called "Russian Mountains". Needless to say, in Russia itself, they are referred to as "American Mountains".
    • In Poland they are called "Mountain Rail" despite having nothing to do with the mountain, railway or cable cars that are sometimes called by that name.
  • Tanks get their name because, in World War I, the British factory workers assembling the first ones ever used thought (due to their rounded shapes) that they were working on water tanks.
    • On the other hand, the fact that other tanks generally carry a lot of stuff while military tanks carry a large amount of weapons and metal gives it some relation...
    • Some apparently had the word "Water Tank" written on their sides to let the enemy scouts believe that they were just armoured support-vehicles.
    • Another version has it that when someone who had accidentally been allowed to view them (at a distance) asked what they were, the reply was "water tanks for Mesopotamia".
  • A ten-gallon hat will hold less than one gallon of liquid.
    • Three quarts, to be precise. The word "gallon" comes from (what else?) the Spanish galon, a type of braid.
  • Somewhat common with military hardware, e.g. a Claymore mine is not a sword. Sometimes this is done intentionally: the term "tank" was coined by the British to mislead their enemies into thinking they were building water carriers, not armoured fighting vehicles.
    • It can generally assumed many names for them were based off the Rule of Cool - the XM8's name only indicates it's an American rifle (The 'M#' is a designation for many American service rifles), the X was probably just to sound futuristic-y.
      • "XM" is a designation given to experimental weapons that haven't been officially adopted yet. For example, a predecessor of the M4 carbine was the XM177, which essentially became the CAR-15.
      • The X designation in general is used for any experimental project whether it's a gun or a fighter jet.
  • The green room in show business is almost never actually green.
  • "Oxygen" is derived from a term meaning "acid-creating". This is completely backwards much of the time.
  • Platinum comes from the Latin word platina, meaning silver. They're two different elements. According to an essay by Isaac Asimov, this is because "platina" was Middle Spanish for "silver"; so when the Conquistadores found platinum in the Rio Pinto, they called it "platina del Pinto". Hence, in Modern Spanish, "platina" is platinum and "plata" is silver.
  • The "Bush differential analyzer" performs integration, and does so entirely by synthesis.
  • The Hughes H-4 Hercules, aka the "Spruce Goose". It got its nickname because it was made entirely of wood, but it's actually built almost entirely of birch wood, not spruce.
  • Floppy sizes are actually measured in metric - 3 1/2 inch, 5 1/4 inch, and 8 inch floppies are built to 90, 133 1/3 (yes, a third of a millimeter), and 200 mm specifications, respectively. Using the imperial measurements would put you within a few millimeters, but on equipment so precise, outside tolerance for all but the 5 1/4 inch.
    • Also, the size of the familiar 1.44 MB floppy is actually either 1.40625 binary megabytes or 1.47456 decimal megabytes. The confusion stems from it being 1440 binary kilobytes.
    • While 5 1/4 and 8 inch floppy disks are indeed floppy, 3 1/2 inch floppy disks have a more solid construction. They were occasionally called "stiffy" disks, but the name didn't catch on in most places.
    • The whole binary thing gives "kilobyte" and "megabyte," at least in older contexts, Non-Indicative Name status, since they contain, respectively, 2^10 and 2^20 bytes.
    • And, to further confuse things, most modern hard drive sizes are now listed in decimal gigabytes and terabytes, which makes the size 7% and 10% bigger respectively than the binary sizes.
  • Most "MOSFETs," or "metal-oxide-semiconductor field effect transistors," made in the last few decades have neither metal as their terminal, nor oxide as their insulator. The name comes from the early days, when the best way to get an insulating layer small enough was to oxidize a thin layer of the substrate, but more precise techniques have made this obsolete. Even the "metal," due to the complexities of IC manufacture, is usually a metalloid treated to act like a metal. Some call them "IGFETs," "insulated-gate field effect transistors," for this reason, but this hasn't really caught on. Usually they're simply called FETs.
  • In baseball, a "foul pole" is a pole on either side of the outfield fence which separates a foul ball from a fair ball, even though a ball that hits the pole is fair.
  • The Yellow Cab Company in Washington, DC has its cars painted in a distinctive black and orange two-tone livery.
  • Pharmacology just about lives off of this trope. Rifampin, amantadine, cifedipine, digitalis - can you tell what any of those drugs do just by their name alone?
  • Cans are often called 'tins' because they used' to be made of tin, now it's usually non-indicative (and, if the tin is labeled as such, an aversion of Exactly What It Says on the Tin.)
  • "Hoverboards" are actually two-wheeled self-balancing scooters that never leave the ground. Attempts to create actual hovering hoverboards, particularly in time for the 30th anniversary of Back to the Future, have failed miserably.
  • Those so-called "MP4 players" common during the mid-to-late 2000s do not actually play MPEG-4 videos, instead using a proprietary codec depending on the chipset used, usually AMV or MTV. (Not to be confused with Anime Music Video or MTV, though you could encode either or both of them in either format and load them on an MP4 player anyway) Some manufacturers take a step further and sell media players with additional functionality (such as emulated NES games and such) as an "MP5" or even an "MP12" player, despite the Moving Picture Experts Group having not developed an MPEG-5 standard yet. In a sense, the designation refers to any new function added to a portable media player or an evolution over previous-generation MP3 players rather than the container format used to store videos.
  • Despite being marketed by Microsoft as an "operating system", early versions of Windows up to 3.1x are more of an operating environment or a shell running on top of DOS, though it did assume many operating system functions and used its own device drivers. Windows 9x still depended on MS-DOS, though this is relegated for backwards-compatibility with 16-bit drivers and DOS games. It wasn't until NT when DOS is truly dead, despite Microsoft boldly proclaiming in a DirectX game demo disc for Windows 95 that "DOS IS DEAD".

Living Things

  • Guinea pig (read above).
    • The guinea pig bears a porcine name in many European languages (and Chinese) - the German name (from which several other languages derived their name) is Meerschweinchen ("sea piglet"), the French sometimes calls it Cochon d'Inde ("Indian pig"), a Chinese name is hélánzhū ("Holland pigs")... apparently, guinea pigs came from everywhere but South America.
  • Blueberries and cranberries are not "true" berries, but "epigynous" or "false" berries, as are bananas and watermelons. Strawberry, blackberry, boysenberry, mulberry and raspberry are not (botanically) even "false" berries. True berries include, as well as gooseberries and elderberries, tomatoes, grapes, eggplant, and pomegranates. This one came up in QI, and people will probably agree with Alan Davies that it's the scientists who are wrong, and the rest of them are right.
  • Antlion, mantisfly, dragonfly and mantis shrimp: There's no ant, lion, mantis, fly, dragon or shrimp in any of these.
    • There most certainly is ant in an antlion...if it has recently fed.
    • There is also certainly lion in antlion if it has recently been fed. Of course, we're talking big antlions.
    • Rule of thumb for insects with common names of the form " fly": If the name is written as two words, like "house fly", it's a fly (i.e. a member of the order Diptera). If it's written as one word, like "butterfly", it's not a fly.
  • Hippopotamus means "river horse" but it's more closely related to swine and the other Artiodactyla. The term coming from ancient Greek makes this Older Than Feudalism.
    • Quoth P.J. O'Rourke: "Hippopotamus does not mean river horse but rather 'river first husband'."
      • Few if any of them are married.
  • These are -fish which are all invertebrate and thus not possibly fish.
    • Crayfish: A crustacean.
    • Starfish: An echinoderm.
    • Silverfish: A non-silvery creepy looking multilegged bug.
    • Cuttlefish: A cephalopod.
      • The name comes from their "cuttle" bone. That said, you can find plushies of cuttlefish.
    • Jellyfish: A member of the phylum Cnidaria. Not made of jelly either. It is squishy like jelly though... but don't touch it.
    • Shellfish: generic term for mollusks with a shell.
      • More recent terminology has most of these things renamed from "(X)fish" to "Sea (X)", so Starfish becomes Seastar, Jellyfish becomes Sea Jelly, etc. However, the "(X)fish" comes from the fact that the word 'fish' comes from a noun meaning "an animal that lives in water" and all these names were actually quite indicative because they do live in water. Except for silverfish, but that's another kettle of fish entirely.
      • Funnily enough, sea horses and sea dragons are fish.
  • Velvet worms aren't worms, and also aren't made of velvet (they are covered in a velvety coat of hair, though).
    • Ringworm is not only not a worm but not an animal. It's actually a fungus. Skin infections caused by it, however, do have a vaguely ring-shaped area of swollen skin on the edge of the infected skin.
  • Another notorious misnomer from Columbus is naming the capsicum (chili, bellpepper) genus "pepper", having nothing to do with the piper family (black and white pepper).
    • The Spanish word for many species belonging to the Capsicum genus (among many others from "chile" to "ají" or "guindilla" for the different species of plants and varieties of the language) is "pimiento", and "pimienta" for the ones in the Piper genus. It's a pity words have no grammatical gender in English.
    • Supposedly it's the result of another attempted mistake cover-up by Columbus, since nearly the whole point of his expedition was to bring back piper peppers.
  • Sweet potatoes are only distantly related to the common potato, and have even less genetic relation to yams, despite the terms being synonymous in the US.
  • The titmouse is a bird.
    • Tits are birds, not mammals, thus don't have tits.
      • Same with boobies.
      • They're still not mice.
  • The Congo snake is an American legless salamander.
    • The slow worm is a European legless lizard. It's not particularly slow, either.
  • Horseshoe crab: It's not quite a crab but more closely related to arachnids, and only horseshoe-shaped if you stretch the definition a good bit.
  • Spanish moss is neither Spanish nor a moss.
  • Puffinus puffinus is the scientific name for the Manx shearwater bird.
  • White tigers have black and white fur.
  • Cyanobacteria used to be called "blue-green algae," but because they lack a nucleus they are now considered not to be algae.
  • Slime molds are not a kind of mold. They're no longer even classified as fungus at all, but protists.
  • In the human body, the small intestine is much longer than the large intestine. The names come from their width, not their length.
  • Sea Cucumbers are animals, not squash.
  • Peanuts are in fact legumes, not nuts. Also, from The Other Wiki: "The word pea describes the edible seeds of many other legumes in the Fabaceae family, and in that sense, a peanut is a kind of pea."
    • This explains why for allergics, on some packs with peanuts there's still printed on "May contain nuts." In fact, they're required to list peanuts and nuts separately, but things with peanuts often get that label, because they packaged in a factory that also does nuts.
    • Cats Don't Dance has Woolie talk about how the peanut is neither pea nor nut, and briefly suggests the name "pea legume" before dropping the matter.
    • A coconut is not a nut either, but if somebody has a allergy to nuts and nut oils, they will also be allergic to peanuts and coconuts. Even though we've just explained why this shouldn't work.
  • Pineapples are not the fruit of pines. Those are called pine cones, which used to be called pine apples and lent their name to the tropical fruit due to the superficial similarity. Neither pineapples nor pine apples aren't apples, either; "apple" used to refer to any type of fruit (ref. the equally non-indicative French name for potatoes, pomme de terre/dirt apple[5]).
    • Pomegranates are also not apples, and neither are they grenades.
    • They are superficially similar enough to both that the name is understandable.
  • The Polar Bear is not (as you might think) Ursus arctos (that's the Brown Bear, or grizzly), but Ursus maritimus. On a similar note- the Arctic as a region is named for the bears (the Ursa constellations), not the other way around.
    • "Ursus arctos" is effectively "bear bear", the first in Latin and the second in Greek. The Antarctic, on the other hand, is aptly named, since it comes from the Greek for "no bears".
      • Not quite, the intention was more like "Opposite of the Bears" (in the same sense as 'antipodal' means the opposite side of the planet). The Greeks were well aware that the Earth was round, and reasoned that since the climate was cold at the north end, it should also be cold at the south end since the same factors prevailed.
  • From QI:

Rich Hall: I think it's evil to put a food in front of any bug. To name it, like, a "butterfly". 'Cause I would eat butterflies when I was a kid, because I thought they had butter in 'em. And honey bees. And a hamster! 'Cause, you know, you're four years old; you don't know better... and we were poor.

  • The Australian Shepherd dog breed is actually American. The Bombay cat breeds are a similar case, with one being American (again) and the other being British.
  • The Norway rat originated somewhere in China. A double example, as its Non-Indicative Name was bestowed by someone who mistook Danish ships, on which he thought these rodents had stowed away and spread throughout Europe, for Norwegian ones.
  • Grapefruit. Well... it's orange, sour, and the size of a cannonball. At least on the tree, they grow in bunches that resemble bunches of grapes.
  • Canada geese aren't Canadian (although they can be found there). Blame a Mr. John Canada.
    • Canada lynx, on the other hand, are (even though they turn up in the United States, too). Go figure.
  • The White Rhinoceros is actually gray. The White in this species' name is from the Dutch word wijd, which means wide. It refers to the White Rhinoceros's wide lip compared to the Black Rhinoceros's pointed lip. The original meaning was subsequently lost in translation.
  • Most anteaters eat nothing but termites.
    • In Finnish, the word for anteater is "muurahaiskarhu", which means "ant bear". The creature is obviously neither an ant nor a bear.
  • The hagfish, aka the "slime eel", is a jawless chordate, meaning it's less closely related to genuine eels than you are.
  • The Cane Toad is occasionally referred to as the Marine Toad and has the scientific name Bufo marinus, but when this species reaches adulthood it only goes into the water during the mating season.
  • The Danish language loves to give most marsupials names of completely non-related mammals that they may something be similar to and sometimes not are, coupled with "marsupial". Examples are "marsupial rat" (opossum), "marsupial mouse" (several small dasyurids like dibblers and kowaris), "marsupial marten" (quoll), "marsupial anteater" (numbat), "marsupial badger" (bilby/bandicoot), "marsupial fox" (brushtail possum), "marsupial squirrel" (most species of possums) and "marsupial flying squirrel" (sugar glider).
  • There are several English 'forests' where there are few, if any, trees to be seen. Large tracts of Dartmoor Forest in Devon, Macclesfield Forest in Cheshire and the Forest of Bowland in Lancashire are bare open moorland with trees confined to the occasional river valley. In English law a forest was simply an area to which Forest Law applied, in other words a royal hunting ground.

Food and Drink

  • Most of what's sold in American grocery stores as cinnamon sticks are actually the bark of the Cassia tree. They're closely related and taste similar, but not identical.
  • Most of the mozzarella cheese on the market is actually imitation mozzarella, as true mozzarella must be made from water-buffalo milk. Cow milk is much cheaper.
  • Most of what is packaged as "wasabi" in American and European shops is usually not true wasabi due to cultivation difficulties. It's actually mostly horse radish. On that note, wasabi is often called "Japanese horse radish" even though it's not a species of horse radish.
  • In Germany and Austria, there is a food called Leberkäse, which literally means "liver-cheese". It normally has neither liver nor cheese in it, unless you order a special type of it that way ("Leberkäse mit Käse" or "liver-cheese with cheese"), and is commonly translated into English as "meatloaf".
  • Chinese fortune cookies were invented in the United States and are of Japanese descent.
  • Scotch eggs, Scotch pies, and Scotch broth are not made with real Scotch (although one supposes Scotch could theoretically be added to the broth, only a Lethal Chef with no respect for fine spirits would do that). (One is a hard-boiled egg encased in sausagemeat and breadcrumbs, the second is a mutton pie made with a particular kind of pastry, and the third is lamb/mutton broth with vegetables.) These three (along with the whisky) are among the few cases in which the correct adjective is "Scotch" rather than "Scottish".
    • Scotch eggs, contrary to the name, are not Scottish but an English snack, most probably inspired by an Indian dish.
    • On a related note, butterscotch has nothing to do with Scotland (it most likely got its name from the fact that before it fully cools, the candy is "scotched" or scored to make it easier to break up). The misnomer is even worse in Canadian French, where it's known as caramel écossais or Scottish caramel.
  • Mince Pies (the English kind) are pastries made with a filling of mincemeat. Originally the mincemeat was made up of meat, various fruits and preserves. Nowadays though, most mince pies don't contain any meat (unless you make your own at home) but the filling is still referred to as mincemeat.
  • AriZona Iced Tea is based in New York.
  • Chinese Hoisin (meaning 'Seafood') Sauce doesn't actually contain any seafood. Also, judging from The Other Wiki's description, it doesn't seem to be used on seafood, either.
  • Salad cream isn't intended specifically for salads (it's essentially a non-thixotropic version of mayonnaise, hence intended for the same broad range of uses) and (unlike mayonnaise) isn't particularly creamy.
  • Red Rock Cider was once the subject of an advertising campaign pointing out that 'It's not red, and there's no rocks in it'.
  • The "cacahuate japonés" (literally, Japanese peanut) snack was not invented in Japan, but in Mexico. The creator was a Japanese immigrant, though.
  • The sauces of Classic French cuisine is full of these things: Sauce Allemande ("German sauce") isn't German. Sauce Espagnole ("Spanish sauce") isn't Spanish.[6] Sauce Africaine ("African sauce") isn't African.[7] "Créme anglaise" isn't English, or a cream![8]
  • Russian dressing, Italian dressing, and French dressing were all invented in the US.
  • Head cheese does not contain any dairy. It does, however, contain meat and gelatin from a pig's head.
  • Grape Nuts have nothing to do with grapes. Or nuts. They contain dextrose, sometimes called "grape sugar," although dextrose is more commonly known as glucose, which means "grain sugar".
  • For the longest time Apple Jacks had no apple taste at all. In fact, there was an awkward period of advertising where commercials had people surprised that Apple Jacks didn't taste like apples, when the cereal at the time actually DID taste like apples, and even contained apple ingredients.
  • French Fries actually came from Belgium, or perhaps Spain. There's some debate as to which. To those thinking it's about the style of cutting, the original verb meaning to cut in that style of cutting is to julienne (and yes, it is from France); the use of "Frenching" to refer to this comes after and because of French fries.
    • Also, they were discovered by American soldiers serving in France during World War I and brought back to the States.
    • The Other Wiki claims the phrase comes from the style of frying. That is, "french fries" are potatoes cooked in a French manner. Apparently they were known at least as early as the Revolutionary Era.
  • An egg cream contains neither eggs nor cream. It does, however, resemble a creamed egg (creamed meaning "frothy.") Some researchers believe that early versions of the drink did indeed have both egg and cream as ingredients, as a cheaper variation on the then-recently-invented milkshake. According to this theory, the "New York Egg Cream" then removed egg and cream because they're expensive ingredients.
  • What Americans call an "English Muffin" is a subspecies of muffin that wasn't even available in the UK until a few years ago (when it started arriving there, along with other exports like graduation balls at the end of compulsory schooling and St Patrick's Day parades). Similarly, Britain has or had a lot of "American-Style X" brand names that had little to do with any real American style. And then there's the fact that Danish pastries are known in Denmark as 'Viennese bread'... In a twist, neither name for Danish pastries are entirely non-indicative: Danish pastries are something of a speciality of Denmark, might have originated from Vienna, and is classified as a Viennoiserie[9] product.
  • Ginger Ale tastes neither like ginger nor ale, but more akin to lemon-lime.
    • This is a regional thing - Canadian ginger ale definitely tastes of ginger, and Jamaican ginger beer even more so.
  • Ginger beer, root beer and butterbeer are all nonalcoholic.
    • Except when they aren't.
  • And there's the Neapolitan onion sauce known as Genovese.
  • German chocolate cake is not from Germany, but American. It was originally made by Sam German.
    • For an actual German chocolate cake, by which we mean the cake is actually from Germany and also happens to be a chocolate cake, you'll want a Black Forest cake instead. (Yes, like the one in Portal.)
      • On that note, Black Forest cake is not made of black trees. It was invented in the Black Forest, though.
      • And that forest has the usual green and brown colour tones.
      • Worse, it's called Selva Negra (Black Jungle) in Spanish.
      • To make it even worser, the Black Forest (Schwarzwald) is actually a mountain range, like "Bayrischer Wald", "Böhmer Wald" oder "Teutoburger Wald". But "Schwarzgebirge" or "Schwarzes Gebirge" sounds too much Mordor.
  • Mincemeat doesn't contain meat (although it used to). Not to be confused with minced meat.
  • Sweetbreads are meats - specifically, the thymus glands of cows, pigs or sheep. Sweetmeat is a synonym for candy.
  • Long Island Iced Tea is, um, not what you want to be drinking if you just fancy a cold cuppa. It is iced, though, and presumably from Long Island, so it's at least three-quarters accurate.
  • Yakisoba's name seems to imply a connection to soba, but it is actually quite different; soba is a native Japanese type of noodle while yakisoba has more in common with Chinese noodles, as ramen does. There's a debate on whether or not Okinawa Soba should be considered soba, as they are not buckwheat, as required to be considered soba.
  • Toll House Cookies don't have anything specific to do with English buildings used for toll collection, they are named for the now-destroyed Toll House Inn, the restaurant (converted from a toll house actually used to collect tolls) where they were invented.
  • A lot of Chinese cuisine, especially Straits Chinese cuisine, have non-indicative names for various reasons. Some because the dish has a poetic name, usually for delicacies like "Buddha Jumps Over the Wall" (a type of shark's fin soup). Some due to poor translation such as Bak Kut Teh ("Meat Bone Tea") not actually being a form of tea or "Carrot Cake" which is not actually made from carrots but from radishes ("white carrot" in most Chinese dialects) nor is it a "cake" as most people would recognize it. Some cases are historical, the "Hainanese chicken rice" you find in South-East Asia does not actually come from Hainan, China but rather was pioneered by Hainanese immigrants (although this one is in some dispute).
  • The Caesar salad is not named after Julius Caesar, nor was it first created in Italy. It was created in Mexico by Italian-American immigrant Caesar Cardini.
  • Japan's list of "Three grand soups" is made up of bouillabaisse, shark fin soup, borscht, and tom yam kung - four soups.


  • Farid al-Atrash was a composer, virtuoso oud player, and top-notch singer, and was one of the biggest names in Arab music in general and Egyptian music in particular for much of the 20th century. His sister Amal (better known as Asmahan) was also a noted singer and actress. Their last name means "the Deaf."
  • Pennsylvania Dutch have German descent, not Dutch. The German word for German is "Deutsch," which sounds like Dutch.
  • "Petite models" are between 5'6" and 5'8" -- not only quite a bit taller than the usual definition of "petite," but above average in most countries (the average American woman is between 5'4" and 5'5".)
  • Alexander ("I defend" "man") the Great is known for being quite aggressive towards mankind, rather than defending it.
  • Stand-up comedian Larry the Cable Guy won't fix your cable box...and his real first name isn't Larry. In fact "Larry the Cable Guy" is more or less a character played by comedian Dan Whitney that has completely taken over his stand-up act.
  • Charles Coward; not a coward at the least, he was a British POW during World War II who actually managed to pose as a German medic, get himself appointed of Auschwitz itself, and liberate hundreds of prisoners by switching them for cadavers. He was later an important witness for the prosecution at the Nuremberg war crimes trials. You'd have to be pretty brave to accomplish all that.
  • Legendary film director Norman Jewison (In the Heat of the Night, Fiddler on the Roof) was raised, and still is, Protestant.
  • Suggested to be the case of H.P. Lovecraft, who was never known to craft anything romantic and a rumored Asexual.
  • Joe the Plumber, made famous by John McCain's 2008 run for president in the United States, was not a licensed plumber (he operated under his employer's license, as is legal in his state). Also, his first name was Samuel.
  • People whose first name is also the title of an occupation which they don't hold: Major, Judge, etc. Applies to other languages as well, such as Amir/Amira which is Arabic for prince/princess.
    • People with clerical names like Bishop, Monk, etc might be held to descend from perjured clerics(as only One Person is held by the Church to be born of a virgin) and thus would be rather curiously eager to advertise that fact in their name. In real life a lot of those were Medieval actors who were known for playing as clerics. In other words someone who has a clerical name not only has a name that does not indicate their profession(unless of course it does), it does not even indicate their ancestor's profession at first glance.
  • Place names are usually not their ancestors residence when they lived there. It is usually given because they moved. After all what would be the point if everyone comes from that place.
    • This Tropper knows a Rhodes who has a dark and menacing look that makes one wonder if his ancestor was not indeed out marauding with the Knights Hospitalers(who were once based on Rhodes)at one time or another, before he settled down somewhere else.
  • Despite the name, your average Conspiracy Theorist will almost never describe an overall theory of the conspiracy. This is because their preferred approach allows them to jump from one issue to another when they get cornered, and a complete theory can be debunked once and for all, in addition to just plain looking ridiculous and improbable.[10] This is what happens when one decided to come up with a such a theory.
  • You will never meet a person with skin tones matching either the background or the font used on this page. Except the Blue Man Group.
    • On that note, it's a safe bet that most people who are referred to as "caucasians" don't actually hail from the Caucasus mountain range in Eastern Europe.
  • In an unbelievable case of being both a Meaningful Name AND a Non-Indicative Name, Viking chieftain Erik the Red earned his nickname not because of his bloodlust (he was kicked out of both Norway and later Iceland for multiple murders), but because of his long flaming red hair and beard.


  • The Danville, California family restaurant Pete's Brass Rail & Car Wash. As the menu says, "There is no brass rail, there is no car wash, and who the hell is Pete?"
  • A pizza place in Columbus, Ohio is called Catfish Biff's. Their slogan: "We ain't got no fish!"
  • The NASCAR track once known as the Charlotte Motor Speedway (now the Lowe's Motor Speedway) is located in the city of Concord, North Carolina, which is not even in the same county as Charlotte.
    • Yeah, but it's just across the county line from the county that has Charlotte. Not only that, but the Charlotte city limits are only a few miles away. No one had no clue where Concord, North Carolina is anyway, and since Charlotte is the better-known city, well...
    • Similarly, the Milwaukee Mile is neither located in the city of Milwaukee (although West Allis, where the track is actually located, is still in Milwaukee County) nor is it a true mile.
  • Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House, which many people take as meaning they held the surrender meeting in a courthouse. In fact, that was just the name of the town (really not much more than a hamlet, which didn't actually have a courthouse), and the ceremony was held in a civilian dwelling.
    • Also from the Civil War, the Battle of Chancellorsville was actually fought in a forest. Notable because another battle was later fought on the same ground and is known as the Battle of the Wilderness.
  • The North Poles (Magnetic and Geographic) are situated in the Arctic Ocean, international waters. This hasn't stopped cities being named North Pole in Alaska, New York, and Western Australia.
  • The Holy Roman Empire pretty much owns this subcategory. It was an agglomeration of semi-independent duchies, principalities, marches, counties, baronies and city-states, plus a kingdom or two, in Germany and Central Europe with Rome under its protection. To borrow a quote from Voltaire, it was neither Holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire.
    • Similarly, someone observed that the British dignitary known as the Lord Privy Seal is neither a lord, nor a privy, nor a seal. Funny, although not strictly accurate given that the office can and often has been held by peers of the realm (i.e. lords). The name originates with the guy who kept the monarch's private (privy) seal for documents and is now usually held by a Cabinet minister. (In fact, the joke is so old that it's now a euphemism for the B-Roll Rebus in parts of England.)
    • The other Roman empire, for that matter, lasted over 650 years after losing Rome for the last time (when it turned to the Franks, giving the HRE its name), having controlled it on and off from 536-800.
  • 7-Elevens are likely to be open 24/7.
    • This is an Artifact Title, since 7 AM to 11 PM used to be the store's regular hours before they expanded to being always open.
  • Battersea Funfair was an amusement park, not a funfair. Recently (March 2010) there have appeared in London (UK) adverts for a so-called "travelling theme park", which is a contradiction in terms; the amusement industry definitions are that if it travels it's a fair, whilst if it stays in one place it's a park. (A fairground stays in one place, but the collections of rides it hosts are temporary, hence still fairs.)
  • A demilitarized zone is supposed to not allow military activity. The Korean Demilitarized Zone (between North and South Korea), as the Wikipedia article goes, is "the most heavily militarized border in the world". You know that mined field from Die Another Day? It really exists.
  • The University of Texas at Dallas is not actually in Dallas (save for a couple of buildings), but is instead mostly located in a suburb of Dallas, Richardson.
    • The State University of New York at Buffalo, isn't actually in Buffalo, most of it's in either Amherst or Tonawanda.
  • The Glaswegian restaurant The Ubiquitous Chip is so called because, for the first thirty years of its existence, it - almost uniquely among Scottish restaurants - didn't sell chips.
  • Wake Forest University is actually not located in the town of Wake Forest, North Carolina, it is in Winston-Salem, which is over 100 miles away from there. It was located in Wake Forest for its first 122 years but moved in 1956. The university actually predates the town by 46 years and the city was even original named the Town of Wake Forest College
  • University of Phoenix Stadium is not where the University of Phoenix plays sports. As a matter of fact, it is a for-profit college with no intercollegiate athletics program; it just bought the naming rights to where the Cardinals play.
  • Italy's Naples and Russia's Novgorod are among the oldest cities in their respective countries. Both of their names mean "new city"
    • Similarly, the Pont Neuf ("brand-new bridge") in Paris is the oldest bridge of the city.
  • Japan:
    • Kyoto (literally "capital city") is not the capital. It used to be, though.
    • Café Mountain in Nagoya is somewhat notoriously not located anywhere near any.
    • Tokyo:
      • The (in)famous Red Light District of Kabukichō in Shinjuku Ward doesn't actually contain a kabuki theatre. It's an Artifact Title stemming from plans to build one there that never came to fruition.
      • "Tokyo" Disneyland is actually in Chiba Prefecture to the east. Granted that Chiba is in the Greater Tokyo Area and that the city Tokyo Disneyland is in is just across the prefectural border, but when people say "Tokyo" they usually refer to the 23 special wards, which Chiba isn't part of.
      • Arakawa Ward and Arakawa River never come into contact with each other.
    • Several train stations suffer from this:
      • Meguro Station in Tokyo is not in the namesake ward, but actually neighbouring Minato Ward.
      • Naka-Meguro Station in Tokyo, while indeed in Meguro Ward, is not in the namesake district, but rather Kamimeguro district.
      • Shinagawa Station in Tokyo is not in the namesake ward, but actually Minato Ward to the immediate north thereof. Even more confusingly, there is also a Kitashinagawa Station - kita being Japanese for "north" - that is indeed in the north of Shinagawa Ward, but to the south of Shinagawa Station.
  • Rhode Island is part of the mainland United States. See the Other Wiki for some theories on how it got this name.
  • University buildings may fall into this trope over time. For instance, the Old Horticulture Building at Michigan State University houses...the Department of Romance and Classical Studies (that's "Romance" as in "Romance languages"). Yes. Horticulture is housed in the Plant and Soil Science Building, which actually is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
    • Any institution with multiple functional parts that persists for a long time and tends to grow will do this. Governments often avoid this simply because they tend to name buildings after people, rather than the functions housed in them, although the US Capitol Building has an Old Supreme Court Chamber, and an Old Senate Chamber, and the City of Toronto, Ontario, Canada has the Old City Hall building (all three of these being Exactly What It Says on the Tin).
  • The country of Greenland. If you look on a map the entire land mass is white.
  • The greater part of Kansas City is in Missouri.
  • Orange and Orange County in California in modern times. They used to grow oranges there.
  • The Pacific Ocean is a zig-zag. While it actually was peaceful for a long time, certainly more then the Meditterranean it also had one of the most famous wars ever take place largely upon it.
  • The Forbidden City; not truly a city, it's actually a complex of former imperial palaces - and now a museum - located within a city, Beijing. In fact, the Forbidden City is located within a larger complex called the Imperial City, which again, is not truly a city.
  • The Harvard Bridge is actually closer to MIT.
    • That's hardly the most confusing thing about getting around the Boston area. There's no school on School St, no court on Court St, no water anywhere near Water Street, plus there are at least three Broadways, four Washington Streets, and more Harvard Streets, Avenues, and Roads than I can count. And you'll never find East Boston, South Boston, the North End or the South End using a compass. Basically, the fastest way to get lost in Boston is to look at the street signs.
    • Some of the north/south/east/west issues make a certain degree of sense when you see an old map (ie, ca. 1775) of Boston and realize the majority of what's now Boston is built on backfill and the original city (the Common, Back Bay, which used to actually BE on the bay but don't use that to find it now, Beacon Hill, etc) was on a peninsula only attached to the mainland by a very narrow strip called Boston neck. Roads were randomly attached wherever new fill land was created, so streets begin and end with huge gaps between them, make sharp turns, are named for buildings that aren't there any more, and heaven help you if you want to try and figure out where anything is in Cambridge. And then they started tunneling under things...basically, you get around Boston by either wandering until you stumble on your destination or trusting public transit. Speaking of which, the outbound Green Line subway splits into roughly FIVE lines. All still called the Green Line. If you get on the wrong one....
    • Harvard Square has three sides. For that matter, the "Quad" at the University of Pennsylvania has five.
  • In Toronto, New College is not the newest thing at University of Toronto, not by a long shot. Then again, you could say the same thing about New College Oxford (founded 1379)
  • Northwestern University sits squarely in the Midwestern US, in Evanston, Illinois (immediately north of Chicago). It was admittedly part of the area known as the Northwest Territory when it was founded in the early 19th century, but now it just sounds silly, especially considering that it's in the far northeastern corner of Illinois, and Northeastern Illinois University isn't far from it at all.
  • American Indians have nothing to do with India. However, Indian-Americans do.
    • From The Other Wiki: "The term Indian is commonly thought to have begun with the misconception by Christopher Columbus that the Caribbean islands were the islands in Southeast Asia known to Europeans as the Indies, which he had hoped to reach by sailing west across the Atlantic. Even though Columbus's mistake was soon recognized, the name stuck, and for centuries the native people of the Americas were collectively called Indians."
      • To avoid confusion, they were called the West Indies.
      • One humorist wrote an essay with Columbus telling a Caribbean native that his ship had guns, and therefore if he said they were Indians.... The native replied, "Welcome to India, sahib!"
    • Likewise, "Native American" literally means anyone born in America (the supercontinent, not the country called the United States of America). Native Americans are not even native to the Americas; they crossed over the Bering Strait from Asia. However, all of the Native Americans born in the last few thousand years were born in the Americas, so they are Native Americans.
      • Lampshaded in The Simpsons when Lisa tries to dedicate a toast to a Native American and Homer accepts since he was native born. No no, Lisa is referring to an American Indian; Apu accepts since he immigrated. No no, Lisa means-
      • William Donohue, the president of the Catholic League, claimed on The Colbert Report that he's more of a Native American than any Indian, because he was born in New York and "those people came over from Asia."
      • "First Nations" is the term used in Canada, and does have a much closer claim to clarity and accuracy on its side, but it doesn't really translate into an individual noun. "First Nationer?" Tribe names are good if you know them, but unfortunately most of those in the public consciousness are weird inaccurate European inventions as well ("Huron" is a bit of a jump from "Wendot").
        • Another term often used is "Aboriginal", when you want to include the numerous groups called Indians, Metis, Inu, Inuit, and anyone else descended from people already in Canada before anyone from Europe showed up. (This still puts the Iroquois, who emigrated from what is now the US into what is now Canada as allies of the British government, in a gray area.)
  • Columbus Circle in New York City is an ellipse that traffic goes around, and Circular Quay in Sydney is square. On the other hand, Herald Square and Times Square are roughly hourglass-shaped.
    • St. Peter's Square in Rome is elliptical. Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Circus in London are now crossroads, no longer the roundabouts they were when they were named. They are definitely not circuses.
  • Most Las Vegas hotel-casinos aren't actually in Las Vegas at all but in the neighboring town of Paradise. Of course they all use Las Vegas in their official addresses because technically Paradise is an unincorporated Census Designated Place.
  • Desierto de los Leones in Mexico City is nicknamed the place of the double lion: it's not a desert and there are no lions. The historical explanation is this: there lived a hermit named León and the area was (mostly) deserted at the time.
  • The Battle of Bunker Hill was fought on Breed's Hill.
  • In the U.S., many county names are ludicrously nonindicative. Wichita County, Kansas, for instance, not only doesn't contain Wichita, the largest city in the state, but is actually a hundred miles or so away. The city of Wichita is instead in Sedgwick County...and most of the town of Sedgwick actually lies in Harvey County.
    • The US city of Macon, Georgia, is not in Macon County, Georgia.
      • Nor is the nearby town of Forsyth in Forsyth County.
      • Georgia is really bad about this. See also Decatur, Lumpkin, Oglethorpe, Union (City)...
      • Savannah, Athens, and Georgia.
    • Counties in Virginia do not include incorporated cities, but Frederick County is nowhere near Fredericksburg.
    • Kansas City, Missouri; Nevada, Missouri; Mexico, Missouri; Columbia, Missouri; Lebanon, Missouri; Versailles, Missouri; Vichy, Missouri; Vienna, Missouri; Houston, Missouri; Cleveland, Missouri. And half of them aren't even pronounced the way they're supposed to be.
      • Add to that the fact that Kansas City, Kansas, although technically a city, is considered a suburb of the much-larger Kansas City, Missouri.
      • Cuba, Missouri and Herculaneum, Missouri...
      • Also California, Missouri, as well as the former Kinderhook (according to That Other Wiki, named for Martin Van Buren's home city in New York) and Seneca (Native American tribe from New York relocated to Oklahoma) counties.
    • Also Michigan City, Indiana. Ireland, Indiana; Kokomo Indiana; Brazil, Indiana; Lebanon, Indiana; Peru, Indiana... We could go on a world tour and not leave the bloody state.
      • Versailles, Indiana, and Vincennes, Indiana, both named after places in France (although it isn't in Indiana, Paris, Illinois, has this trait as well). And Gnaw Bone. Which has nothing to do with gnawing bones, it's a bastardization of Narbon. Also, Santa Claus does not live in Santa Claus, IN, but he does have a mail processing center and the Holiday World amusement park there. I don't think they make popcorn in Popcorn, IN, nor is it easier to find enlightenment in Buddha. There are some fucked up town names in Indiana.
      • Vigo County in southwestern Indiana does contain a town called Vigo, but it isn't the county seat—that would be Terre Haute. Terre Haute itself comes from French words meaning "high land," but is situated in a rather flat part of the Midwest called the Wabash Valley.
      • For that matter, three hours north on US 41, you'll find a town (also?) called Highland, Indiana... which is every bit as flat as Terre Haute and no higher than any other town in the area.
      • Cyclone, Indiana (which has no cyclones); Russiaville, Indiana (which has nothing to do with Russia, and is pronounced "roo-sha-vill"); Forest, Indiana (not in or near a forest); Hillisburg, Indiana (the local Hillis family does not, in fact, live there); Frankfort, Indiana (unrelated to the dozen or so other Frankforts in the world); London, Indiana (the reason people have "London, England" Syndrome is because there are so dang many Londons); and South Bend, Indiana (which is at a place where a river bends...north).
    • California, Pennsylvania and Indiana, Pennsylvania have colleges that are traditional rivals: California of Pennsylvania and Indiana of Pennsylvania.
      • Are either of these near Wyoming, Pennsylvania?
    • Houston County, Texas is quite a ways away from the Greater Houston Area, which is centered in Harris County. There's also Paris, Rome, Washington-on-the-Brazos (which couples this trope with Exactly What It Says on the Tin), Palestine, Cleveland, Pittsburg, and so on.
      • Texas has dozens of these. It seems that pretty much everyone in the Alamo or at San Jacinto got a city and a county named after them. And none of them coincide.
    • Bourbon County, Kentucky, after which the distinctive American whiskey is named, does not contain any distilleries, the bourbon-producing regions having been parcelled off into other counties in the 19th century.
    • In North Carolina, Plymouth is the county seat of Washington County. Washington is the county seat of Beaufort County. Beaufort is the county seat of Carteret County. Graham County and the city of Graham are about 300 miles apart. Neither Asheboro nor Asheville is in Ashe County. Neither Greensboro nor Greenville is in Greene County. Rockingham County borders Virginia, but the city of Rockingham borders South Carolina. The same applies to Scotland Neck and Scotland County, respectively. Confused yet?
    • You want to talk about a one-state world tour? Try Ohio. We've got London, Dublin, Athens, Geneva, Lebanon, Lima, Madeira, Ontario, Oregon, Oxford, Salem, Toronto, Troy, Wyoming, Alexandria, Amsterdam, Baltimore, Cairo, Holland, Lisbon, Milan, Moscow, Palestine, Poland, Rome, Russia, South Vienna, Verona, Versailles, and Warsaw.
      • Then there's Rio Grande—which, for some odd reason, is pronounced "RY-o" Grande.
      • In Ohio, there are two cities called Centerville and two cities called Middleton. They are in the four corners of the state.
      • Some more Ohio examples: Franklin and New Franklin are nowhere near Franklin County (or each other, for that matter); Washington Court House is a city, not a building; Minerva and Minerva Park are nowhere near each other; Union City is nowhere near Union County; Mount Sterling is located in Madison County, a very flat region with nothing remotely resembling mountainous terrain; and Crown City, with a population of only 411 people, is nowhere near big enough to be a proper city, and most likely lacks any actual royalty. Columbus and Columbus Grove are nowhere near each other, either.
      • Also In Ohio, the cities of Huron and Sandusky are not in Huron County and Sandusky County, respectively. They're both in Erie County. Also, Logan is not in Logan County—it's in Hocking County.
      • There's also a Newark in Ohio. And in about 17+ other places, which is why the original one calls itself Newark-On-Trent to anyone from outside the town...
      • Hamilton is in Butler County, not Hamilton County; Cincinnati is in Hamilton County.
    • Arizona now feels silly, even though we have "Fort X" where there's no fort, and Tuba City has nothing to do with the instrument.
    • Oregon has a city called Bend, and a city called North Bend. North Bend is about 250 miles from Bend, and is west-southwest of it. Unlike the South Bend, Indiana example above, it's not on a river bend, either; it's on a bay.
    • Delaware County, Pennsylvania (the western suburbs of Philadelphia) is adjacent to, but not in, Delaware. The city of Chester is in Delaware County, not in adjacent Chester County; that's where "West Chester" is. Delaware County includes a Ridley, a Ridley Park, and a Ridley Creek Park (three different places); a "Radnor-Chester Road" that begins in Radnor but does not go to Chester, and a "Darby-Paoli Road" that does not go to either Darby or Paoli. There's also Overbrook golf course (not in Overbrook), the Philadelphia country club (not in Philadelphia), and Aronomink golf course (not in Aronomink).
    • North East, Pennsylvania is another city...located in the northwest corner of the state. It is however located in the northeast corner of Erie County.
    • West Allis, Wisconsin is not west of a city called Allis. There is also no East Allis, North Allis, or South Allis. West Allis is named after the "west" plant of the Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Co.
    • In the city of Milwaukee, North Street is south of Center Street. However, North Street is in the north side of town, making its name less non indicative than Center Street.
    • The only city in the U.S. named "Beach" is in North Dakota (which, for non-Americans who don't know, is landlocked).
      • Though it does have some nice beaches when it's not the winter near the Missouri River and Lake Sakakawea. Neither of which is anywhere near Beach.
    • Neither Henderson nor Hendersonville is in Henderson County, Tennessee.
    • How many of the twenty-some world cities named Springfield actually have a field, or disappear come late June/December?
    • Champaign, Illinois, is in Champaign County. This would seemingly imply that it is the county seat, but similarly to the Vigo County, Indiana, example above, it isn't -- Urbana is. Of course, Champaign and Urbana are right next to each other (which is why they're quite often referred to collectively as Champaign-Urbana or Urbana-Champaign), which might explain this.
    • Florida has a city called Seminole and a county named Seminole. But the city of Seminole is NOT in the county of Seminole. It also has Dade City- which is NOT in Dade County.
  • In Texas state agencies have nonindicative names to the point where a rule of thumb is that the more important the job sounds, the less power it has. The Railroad Commission, for example, has the power to regulate the state's oil and natural gas deposits. This goes on to the point where a common joke is that when George Bush was elected President of the United States, Rick Perry stepped down from his position as the most powerful man in Texas (the Lt. Governor) to become the Governor. It makes sense, however, since the Lt. Governor actually has more direct control over the state government than the Governor.
  • The Spanish Riding School is in Vienna.
  • The Spanish Stairs are located in Rome... and were made by the French.
    • However, they're in Spanish Square (Piazza di Spagna) and were created to make a link between the Spanish Embassy and the Holy See. So the name does make sense, just not in the "Viewers are Morons" kind of way you'd expect.
  • The French Quarter of New Orleans is made up of buildings of Spanish architecture. (This is because most of the city burned down in the late 18th century, and it was rebuilt while the Spanish controlled Louisiana.)
    • It was, however, the stronghold of the old French Creole culture in the city for many years.
    • If you are in central New Orleans and you want to go to the West Bank, you hop on a Mississippi River bridge heading, you guessed it, east.
  • The term "Latin" as in "Latin American" is in the strict sense a Non-Indicative Name (Latin is not an official language anywhere in Americas). In the loose sense it applies to any Romance language speaker—including but not limited to Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and French. In the case of the Latin Quarter in Paris its usage is historically accurate, since it was once occupied by Latin-speaking university students.
    • To add to the complexity, "Latin America" was coined by the French when they controlled Mexico, to try to emphasize a common Latin-based identity of the Romance-language-speaking people of the Americas. But today, the French-speaking areas of North America are no longer generally considered to be part of Latin America, as it now mainly means Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking Americas.
    • In Spanish, "Latinoamericano" is getting supplanted by "Hispanoamericano" or even more precise "Iberoamericano" (to include Brazil).
  • The Canary Islands were not named after those birds. They were named after the dogs brought to them by sailors -- canis in Latin. The birds then were named after the islands. This came up on QI and (of course) got a klaxon.
  • Madison Square Garden is a circular building.
    • It's also not a garden.
    • Nor do people madison there, haha. Properly parsed, however, it's still no longer at Madison Square.
  • Rhode Island is not an island. Three Mile Island is, but is not three miles long. (According to The Other Wiki, the latter got its name for being three miles downriver from the nearest town. Here is their explanation for the former's name.)
    • This can be explained by Rhode Island having originally been named "The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations", with the latter occupying most of the territory, but the former being a convenient short name. To add to the confusion, the actual island has since been renamed Aquidneck Island, and Rhode Island no longer refers to anything other than the short name of the state.
  • The Kingdom of Sardinia had a naming situation similar to that of Rhode Island. Though named after the island of Sardinia which was in its possession, the Kingdom's capital was Turin on the north Italian mainland, and the center of political power was in the Piedmont region Turin was located in. Later as the Kingdom of Sardinia acquired more Italian lands, it just renamed itself to the Kingdom of Italy (now the modern Italian Republic).
    • This has its explanation as well: Savoy (that is, the continental part) was only a duchy, so the duke demanded the cession of Sicily (which was a kingdom) in the aftermath of the War of Spanish Sucession so he could use the title "king". When ruling the distant Sicily turned impractical, he just traded it for the closer Sardinia.
  • The Pennsylvania Dutch are not of Dutch descent, but rather German. The name comes from the German word for "Germanic," deutsch.
    • At the time they were named, "Dutch" was the common word for those West Germanic languages (and the people who spoke them) that were native to the European mainland instead of the British Isles and did not speak English or Scots. Only later did it more narrowly come to mean "from the Low Countries".
    • The term also only correctly applies to those Pennsylvanians whose ancestors immigrated from Germany prior to 1800; if the ancestor came after 1800, you're technically a Pennsylvania German, not Pennsylvania Dutch. Most are unaware of the distinction, however.
  • In Hawai'i, Hawaiian sweet bread is called Portuguese sweet bread. Though in fairness, it was made by Portuguese immigrants, though they came not from Portugal proper, but from Madeira and the Azores.
    • It's Portuguese sweet bread in Rhode Island, too.
  • In Ireland, the River Clare does not pass through County Clare; it's entirely located in County Galway.
  • Brazilian city Mar de Espanha (Spanish Sea)... which is not in Spain, and is on a state really far from the sea.
  • The Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, California isn't a berry farm, but an amusement park. If you want the actual Berry Farm, head for Placentia.
    • That's because it was originally a berry farm by Walter Knott. Founded America's First Theme Park and also sold the first boysenberries (named after his supplier of them, Rudolph Boysen).
  • The New York Giants and the New York Jets football teams both play in New Jersey.
    • This sort of thing is not uncommon in the NFL. The Washington Redskins play in Landover, Maryland. The Buffalo Bills play in Orchard Park. The Dallas Cowboys play in Arlington, Texas. The Miami Dolphins is an odd case, they don't play in Miami but instead on Miami Gardens. The Patriots oddly, subverts this trope when they moved from Boston to Foxborough, they changed their name from Boston Patriots to New England Patriots.
    • Similarly, Millwall FC are no longer located in Millwall (where their ground used to be is now Mudchute Park) but in New Cross, nor are Arsenal FC still associated with Woolwich Arsenal (they're in Highbury). Chelsea FC have never been located in (posh) Chelsea (the land prices are too high) but always in (neighbouring, working-class) Fulham.
  • The Southern Tier is directly north of the Northern Tier. They are in southern New York state and northern Pennsylvania, respectively.
  • Philadelphia, "The City of Brotherly Love", is widely regarded as one of the most hostile places in the United States, especially to opposing sports teams. (Three words: Booing Santa Claus.)
  • Vancouver Island does not contain the city of Vancouver.
  • America is located in the province of Brabant, the Netherlands.
  • Holland is a region in England. Or a manor in Lancashire. Or a city somewhere around the globe where the Dutch likely have been. It is not identical to "the Netherlands", but a ubiquitous misnomer no one's taking much trouble to correct. It stems from the dominance of the province of Holland when the Dutch dominated the oceans, before there was a national identity.
  • Upper Egypt was south of Lower Egypt. Upper Canada was south of Lower Canada. This is because they're named after their locations along the Nile and St. Lawrence rivers, not latitude. Both of these rivers flowed roughly northward to drain into the sea or ocean. Thus, Upper Egypt and Canada were up-river of their Lower counterparts.[11]
    • Upper Sandusky, Ohio, is south of Sandusky, and was named for a similar reason—it's farther up the Sandusky River.
  • Placerville, CA is in El Dorado County, not Placer County.
    • And Yuba City, CA is in Sutter County, not Yuba County.
  • Clapham Junction, the site of Britain's busiest railway station, is in Battersea, over a mile from the nearest part of Clapham. The story goes that when the railway arrived in the mid-1800s, the company preferred their shiny new station to be associated with trendy, upmarket Clapham rather than seedy, run-down Battersea; it was a triumph of marketing over accuracy.
  • Greenland is mostly ice and Iceland is mostly green. According to legend, the Vikings named these lands on purpose to confuse potential invaders, or perhaps to encourage settlement in Greenland.
    • According to historical records, the names were accurate when given.
  • The South Bank (that part of London's Albert Embankment which lies between Westminster and Waterloo Bridges) is east of the Thames. Although the Thames generally flows eastward, from Vauxhall to Waterloo it flows north.
  • Moon, Oklahoma is indeed not located on the moon, nor is North Pole, Oklahoma beyond the Arctic Circle.
  • In many German towns and cities, if there is a Rosenstraße (Rose Street) in the older part, there's a pretty good bet that in the old days this was where the town's prostitutes lived. One exception is Hamburg, where Rosenstraße and neighboring Lilienstraße (Lily Street) were situated on the knacker's yard. The streets took their names because the dead animals' bones lying around shone white like lilies and the neighborhood smelled as pleasant as roses.
  • In São Paulo the Consolação subway station is in Paulista Ave., while the Paulista station is in… Consolação Ave.
  • The Spanish town of Santillana del Mar (near the caves of Altamira, famous site of prehistoric paintings) is known as the "town of three lies": it's neither flat (llana) nor near the sea (del Mar), nor for that matter especially holy (santa).
  • Montreal directions are totally screwed up. The South Shore is due east of downtown Montreal and Montréal-Est is nearly due north of it. "Eastbound" buses run anywhere from northeast to due north (in Verdun and Pointe-aux-Trembles). This is due to considering the St. Lawrence River as running west to east, which it mostly does, but at Montreal it runs north-northeast. Someone called Montreal "the only city where the sun sets in the north."
  • The names of the English counties Derbyshire and Lancashire used to be indicative, but aren't any longer; their county towns are now Matlock and Preston respectively. The former was probably changed because Matlock is in the middle of the county, whilst Derby is on the eastern edge (not too far from Nottingham); likewise, Lancaster was in the middle of the pre-1968 Lancashire, but is now near the northern edge, whilst Preston is much nearer the middle. The counties haven't been renamed to match these changes, probably because "Matlockshire" and "Prestonshire" just sound wrong.
  • Winnipeg has a West End neighbourhood... right in the middle of everything. It used to be an indicative name, but the city of Winnipeg acquired the city of St. James just to its west in The Seventies. Similarly, there are the neighbourhoods-and-former-villages of West Kildonan, North Kildonan, and East Kildonan, all of which are in the northeast corner of the city - north of the North End, to boot - which are arranged respectively northwest to southeast, all of them south of "Old Kildonan." Further examples:
    • The Red River isn't red.
    • St. John's Cathedral isn't on Cathedral Ave., but on Anderson.
    • West Broadway is no more broad than most other streets, and is considerably more narrow than Portage Avenue, nearby.
    • Fort Garry (the neighbourhood) is south of Upper Fort Garry (the fort), which is quite a ways south of Lower Fort Garry (the fort)
    • Harbour View golf course is not in view of a harbour. Harbour View South neighbourhood is so named because it's south of Harbour View golf course; it's at the northern edge of the city. (and still has no view of a harbour)
    • The Forks is not a fork in a river, but a confluence of the Red and Assiniboine rivers.
    • Before it was completed in the mid-'90s, the Perimeter Highway was this, only extended three quarters of the way around the city.
  • Forks, WA is not associated with any river forks.
  • The Jewish Autonomous Oblast in Russia only has a Jewish population of 1.22%.
  • Newport News is not a newspaper or any other type of news organization, and it is also not a new type of cigarette from the Newport brand. It's a town in Virginia.
    • Also, Federal Way is not a type of national service or company, it's a town in Washington state.
  • The Sierra Nevada mountain range is not located in Nevada, but in neighboring California.
  • Denmark is not a country in Europe, it's a small town in Western Australia surrounded by massive trees.
  • The South China Sea borders several countries, but China doesn't even have a majority of its coastline. Likewise, the Sea of Japan could just as easily be called the Sea of Korea, and the Yellow Sea is not yellow. Nor is The Black Sea black or the Red Sea red (it may have been named after a certain reddish kind of polyp that once flourished in its waters).
  • The name of Siberia is derived from the (Russian) word for "winter", as is the Latin name of Ireland (Hibernia). In neither place is it winter all year round.
  • The country of Canada is named after the Huron-Iroquois word “kanata” meaning "village". (It's the second-largest country in the world.) Supposedly, this word had been misinterpreted very early; in 1535, two Aboriginal youths told French explorer Jacques Cartier about the route to kanata, referring to the village of Stadacona (the site of the present-day Québec). For lack of another name, Cartier used the word “Canada” to refer to the entire area controlled by its chief, Donnacona. There also used to be a town in Ontario called Kanata, before it was amalgamated into Ottawa - but that Kanata was too large to be classified as a village.
  • South Charleston, West Virginia is actually located north of the most of the city of Charleston, northwest to be precise. It gets its name because it sits on the south side of the Kanawha River, while Charleston proper sits on the north side of it due to the river's many bends.
  • Tierra del Fuego (Fire Land), which is located at the southernmost antarctic portion of Argentina.
    • But it got its name when explorers trying to round the cape saw the campfires of the local inhabitants.
  • Chatham Dockyard in England (now Chatham Historic Dockyard since the closure of the naval base) is almost entirely located in the neighbouring town of Gillingham.


  • Manhattan's proposed Park51 community center, which was dubbed "the Ground Zero Mosque" by many in the American media, is not a mosque, and it's not located at Ground Zero. It's an Islamic Community Center with facilities open to the general public, and it's two blocks away from the original site of the World Trade Center.
    • An "Islamic Community Center" is a mosque, according to the various pages on The Other Wiki that discuss particular Islamic Community Centers. If that's wrong, then there are a lot of pages that need updating there... and, unlike ATT, they'll ask for citations.
  • Renaissance Festivals are typically based on England in the Medieval period or the Elizabethan period (sometimes a combination of both), but they have next to nothing to do with the culture of Renaissance Italy.
    • On that note, one of the most popular traveling acts on the Renaissance Festival circuit is a comedy trio called "The Tortuga Twins".
  • The Oedipus Complex is named after a character that didn't have it: Oedipus didn't know that the man that he murdered was his father or that the woman that he married was his mother, and was revolted by both revelations. Moreover, he wasn't in love with his mother, and he didn't hate his father—he killed his father after a chance encounter with him, and he only married his mother (the queen) because of the wealth and power that it entailed.
  • The Big Ten Conference in collegiate athletics has had eleven members since 1990. The number eleven is hidden within the logo, but the name "Big Ten" has been rendered nonindicative. Chalk it up to the Grandfather Clause.
    • With the defection of Nebraska (and less relevantly, Colorado), the Big Ten now has twelve members, and the Big Twelve has ten.
    • Similarly, the Atlantic 10 conference actually has thirteen full-time members.
  • When a foreign language has a word that looks like the English, but turns out to mean something completely different. These are false friends, or, in French, faux amis.
    • Spanish Protip: A guy cannot say "Estoy embarazado" since embarazo means pregnancy, not embarrassment. Okay, Mister Seahorse can, but that's it! Girls are also recommended to not say it unless they've recently been knocked up.
    • Similarly, "excitado" does not mean "excited". It means "sexually aroused".
    • Bizarro means brave, not weird or strange (though many Spanish speakers forget this). Egregio means illustrious or distinguished, but you can still drink up if you want. "Egregious" used to mean the same thing in English too.
    • The Slovak and Czech term for "(economic) competition" - "konkurencia/konkurence" - sounds awfully similar to the English word "concurrence", which, of courese, means "parallel progress". The terms clearly stem from the same roots of international vocabulary, but have likely experienced quite a big shift in the semantics of said vocabulary...
    • People have drawn the wrong conclusion about Romans for years because of the word "vomitorium." It sounds like a place to unload some food and drink during a really long party. In reality, it's a stadium exit - because a properly-designed one will spew people out rapidly once the games are over.
    • False cognates are words that looks similar and have similar meanings, but are completely unrelated. Not the same as false friends (which can sometimes be cognates).
      • An example would be the Greek word θεός (theos) and the Nahuatl teotl; both words mean "god" in their respective languages but we're pretty sure ancient Greece and the Aztec Empire never had contact with one another outside of a game of Civilization (wherein one probably conquered the other).
      • Another: in Finnish and Japanese, "matto" means a carpet or a floor rug. It's even pronounced the same way. There are in fact two hypotheses proposing a genetic relationship between Finnish and Japanese, but the etymology of this specific word has nothing to do with that.
      • And another: in Mbabaram, an extinct Australian Aboriginal language completely unrelated to English, the word for "dog" is "dog".
      • The Indonesian word 'air' means water in English.
      • The word "yama" means "mountain" in Japanese and "pit" in Russian.
  • The word inflammable, that misleadingly means the same as flammable. We owe that to the Latin language, since it comes from the verb inflamare. Raise the subject in public and make sure to get marshmallows.

Dr. Nick: "Inflammable" means "flammable"?! What a country!

    • For those who are curious, the word you would use to indicate that something is not prone to catching fire is "nonflammable". You may believe such a word to be superfluous, but believe us, we've tried.
  • A number of wars are referred to by either incorrect or misleading names.
    • The Social War was not a Roman civil war, but a war against the subject Italian cities. Socii was Latin for 'allies,' and the name was just carried forward. The same applies to an earlier conflict between Athens and its allies.
    • The Hundred Years War lasted 116 years.
      • And the Eighty Years War lasted for 68 years of fighting, but 80 from beginning to end. The Twelve Years' Truce separated two lengthy periods of warfare. Also, only one of the parties involved (The Netherlands and Spain) considers it a war.
    • The French and Indian War was not France vs. the indigenous peoples of the American continent. The French and Indians fought together against the British. (There were Indians on the British side too.) Dave Barry Slept Here refers to this confusion, further asserting, "The British didn't even realize they were suppose to be in this war until several years after it started, by which time the French and the Indians, totally confused, had inflicted heavy casualties upon each other."
      • It should also be noted that the French and Indian War was actually just one theater of a larger conflict known as the Seven Years' War, which lasted nine years... in America; in Europe the war started after a two year delay.
      • Some historians have called the period of fighting between Britain and France from roughly 1689 to 1815 (including the Seven Years' War) the "Second Hundred Years' War." Actual length, 126 years.
    • La Guerra de los Pasteles (literally cake wars) was fought because of complaints made by a French baker whose property was damaged during previous battles in Mexico.
      • The baker was among one of the many complainers who got their property damaged among the conflicts. Now it is told he may not even existed.
    • The War of 1812 lasted three years (from January 1812 to February 1815). At least it began in 1812.
  • Arabic numerals are from India. They got the name because Europeans learned them from Arabs.
    • Arabs call them Hindu numerals.
    • They're also sometimes known as Hindu-Arabic numerals.
    • And the European, Arabic and Indian sets of numerals are all somewhat different.
  • Exploding head syndrome. Does involve heads, does not involve explosions.
  • Team Shanghai Alice. It is not based in Shanghai and only contains one member, whose name isn't Alice. And... okay, technically Touhou does have a character named Alice (who owns a puppet named Shanghai), but this is probably unrelated.
    • Also, a character from the fifth game, Yuki. Her name means Snow.
  • The correct legal definition of "assault" doesn't actually refer to assaulting anything, but making a threat (if they carry is out, it's battery). The phrase "assault and battery" has blurred the line in the public eye, so that many people think that assault is battery. But they are, in fact, different things.
    • Also, while "battered" is commonly understood to refer to serious physical harm, "battery" legally means any unwanted physical contact. Breathing on someone might even qualify.
  • The Underground Railroad was underground only in the political sense (secret) and was not a railroad. It was so called partly because rail transport was a novel idea at the time.
    • Of course, openly calling it the "Slave Escape Network" would have hampered its operations.
  • The Guilford College Yachting Club is home to the "geek club" centering itself on sci-fi, gaming, and anime - they put on a con called "What the Hell Con" which has an incredibly indicative name. Legend has it that the geeks took over a real club about boats and need the longevity of the club's name to get the level of funding they need.
  • The linchpin of Einstein's two theories of relativity is that certain things (like the laws of physics and speed of light) are not relative to your frame of reference.
  • Imaginary and Supernatural numbers are both very much real.[12] Complex numbers are also quite simple.
  • The Scripps National Spelling Bee has had contestants from outside the US since 1997.
  • The National Hockey League went international seven years after it was formed, with the first foreign team - the Boston Bruins - joining in 1924. Nowadays, there are over three times as many foreign teams as there are national ones, and the championship has been won by foreign teams every year since 1994.[13] Strangely, the minor-league International Hockey League currently[when?] includes teams from the U.S. only.
  • The National Basketball Association hosts one team from outside the US as of the late 2010s (the Toronto Raptors) and used to host the Vancouver Grizzlies before they moved to Memphis, Tennessee.
  • Selective Service, at least from the perspective of the person being selected, is neither selective nor a service.
  • The school colors of Green High School (near Akron, Ohio) are orange and black.
  • The Spanish Flu of 1918-1919 originated in the American Midwest. It was called Spanish Flu because Spanish newspapers were the only ones reporting about it freely. This was because the disease nearly killed King Alphonse XIII of Spain, making it massive news for the Spaniards, and also because the country was neutral in World War I, and thus was not subjected to war-time censorship. And it didn't go away in 1919, either; there were regular outbreaks of the H1N1 virus at least until the COVID-19 pandemic a century later.
  • None of the races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup could be considered sprints. Sprint is the telecommunications company that sponsors the series.
    • Of course, no one believed the NASCAR "Insert Name Here" Cup were Winstons or Nextels either.
  • Oktoberfest is held in September in most areas.
  • Baseball's World Series only involves teams from North America.
    • Also in baseball, prior to 1994, the Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds played in the National League's Western division. Both cities are farther east than Chicago and St. Louis, whose teams, the Cubs and Cardinals respectively, played in the National League East. Major League Baseball fixed this issue in 1994 when they realigned the divisions. Atlanta was placed in the Eastern division where it belonged, and the other three teams went into the newly created Central division.
    • Except for a few brief seasons in the early and middle 20th century, the Chicago White Sox have never worn white stockings.
      • During several seasons, and for decades-long stretches, the Boston Red Sox have eschewed red stockings.
      • For roughly half the 20th century, the Cincinnati Reds' dominant uniform color was navy blue.
      • Throughout their existence, the New York/San Francisco Giants have generally fielded men of ordinary height.
    • While we're talking about division alignments in sports... the NFL. Yes, we really have to go there. A quick summary:
      • From 1995 to 2001, the Arizona Cardinals and Dallas Cowboys (both in the southwestern US) were in the NFC East, while four of the five teams in the NFC West were east of Dallas.[14]
      • For at least the 2011-2012 season, the Winnipeg Jets play in the NHL's Southeast division. Justified, as they were the Atlanta Thrashers the previous season.
      • Further, many teams that play in the NHL's Western Conference would play in other league's Eastern Conferences (Specifically, the Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets). At the very least, they label the division they play in the "Central Division", though they're still east of the center of the US. However, Detroit borders central Canada, so this division assignment makes sense.
  • RPG no longer describes most of the video games the label is attached to anymore, and makes even less sense when spelled out. Even before game-makers were jumping on the bandwagon to add RPG Elements, the meaning had been diluted for over a decade by JRPGs, so few reviewers bother to challenge them with: "What makes this a Role. Playing. Game?"
    • Besides, early RPGs were actually simple adventure games heavy on tactical combat with no actual role-playing in the strict sense of this word. They were, and for the most part, still are devoid of elaborate dialogues and reactive world typical for the real RPGs.
  • The months September through to December are so called because they were originally the seventh to tenth months, in the pre-Julian calendar which only regularly had ten months (likewise July and August were back then called "Quintilis" and "Sextilis" respectively).
  • Georgia College has an event each semester right before finals called Midnight Breakfast. It starts at 10pm and goes till 11:45.
  • The British "Special Air Service" (SAS) is actually part of the British Army. It was named such to make the Axis forces think there was a paratrooper regiment. They do make drops from helicopters, though.
  • The Danish political party "Radikale Venstre" (Radical left) is possibly the most centre-oriented party in Danish politics.
    • Same thing with the French Radical party (it's in the center). It only got this name historically in the 19th century when it was radically in favour of laicity and republicanism, and the name stuck. And the left radicals are just its center-left wing.
      • 'Radical' doesn't mean left-wing, though, it just means in favour of radical action and/or change.
  • On the other hand, the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia is a pretty-much radical far right party advocating Pinochet-esque dictatorship. Or rather was; nowadays they are more or less political clowns and no one takes them seriously.
    • The origin of this party's name is that it was formed in 1980s, when the Soviet Union was slowly crumbling apart and "liberal" and "democratic" were buzzwords of instant political success.
  • Rationalization doesn't usually involve very much reason or rationality at all.
  • Scorpion Racing is a Canadian manufacturer of dirt bike parts that has nothing to do with racing scorpions.
  • Tap out, which is the name of a submission combat sport, would probably be confused for a harmless children's game if somebody didn't even know what the actual sport was about.
  • The permafrost, which is perpetually frozen soil in the Arctic, is not really permanent at all, as proven by climate change especially in some worst-case scenarios. In fact, it's actually more of a reverse supervolcano: while real supervolcanoes are continent-sized volcanoes that can level entire continents (especially the one said volcano is on) and cause rapid cooling of the Earth's climate due to the release of huge amounts of volcanic ash into the atmosphere, permafrost does the opposite, where it will cause rapid warming because of the storage of carbon dioxide and methane, both greenhouse gases produced by rotting organic material inside the permafrost, with the latter being 25 times more powerful than the former but short-lived, hence even the least severe cases might still lead to rapid climate change.
    • Also, positive and negative feedbacks. Despite their name, such feedbacks do the opposite of what their names suggest: positive feedbacks worsen such a situation, while negative feedbacks weaken it. Besides the permafrost example above, there's also the albedo feedback, where a reduction of ice would result in less heat being reflected by the Earth's surface, leading to even greater reduction of ice; and the water vapor feedback, where evaporation of water (itself too a greenhouse gas) leads to more warming, which leads to even more evaproration, and in the worst case of the latter, it also destroys the water molecules in the process as a warm enough temperature will result in the molecule being split apart by ultraviolet radiation, sending the hydrogen atoms flying into space, as demonstrated on Venus. Ice ages are often caused and hastened the same way, but with the opposite factors. Heck, any negative feedback can become a positive feedback if they work too well.
  • The Afrikaans language is not native to Africa; it's a Germanic language derived from Dutch. It is spoken in the country of South Africa, but nowhere else on the continent.
  • The late Randy Pausch's "The Last Lecture" was the last lecture he gave as a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, but not the very last lecture in his life. He gave a lecture on time-saving at the University of Virginia, where he formerly taught, two months later.
  • The Catholic Church. "Catholic" means "all-encompassing". Nowadays, it most certainly is not. This stretches back to the 11th century, where they continued calling themselves "the Catholic Church" when the Eastern Orthodox Church split off.
  • "Feminism," which is basically the idea that men and women are, generally speaking, mentally and morally equal, and should be treated equally, is easily misunderstood as anything from a cause that only matters to or benefits women, to outright female supremacism.
  • Most surnames come from nicknames that described someone's appearance, recent family lineage, birthplace, occupation or personality. These nicknames got turned into surnames that get passed down to people that they no longer describe. We all know Smiths who aren't smiths and MacDonalds whose fathers aren't named Donald.
  • The word denude means the exact opposite of putting clothes on.
  • Many Portuguese parties have names leftier than their ideologies, specially the main ones: the Social Democratic Party is actually the centre-right party and the Socialist Party is actually just centre-left. This is because they were formed after a revolution against a fascist dictatorship, a time when everyone was left (compared to the last 40 years of ruling government) and anything that was right was "salazarist" (as in "Salazar" the dictator of said fascist state).
  • The typical government warehouse does not house wares. Or governments.
  • Zigzagged with Little Caesars pizza. The popular franchise's name was a nickname of co-founder Marian Ilitch, used by her husband, but neither has ever explained how she got the nickname.
  • Despite having a ceremonial start and finish at Monte Carlo itself, the Monte Carlo Rally largely takes place in nearby towns within the French Alps, namely Gap and Valence, given how minuscule Monaco is, leaving next to no room for a rally to take place in the micronation itself.
  1. The Marauders and the Horsemen of Apocalypse to be exact
  2. Scum is the name of Napalm Death's critically acclaimed 1986 debut album.
  3. It depends on what font you're using and whether it's upper- or lowercase. Sometimes it actually is a double U.
  4. And to complicate matters, the name for "cannonball" or "ball&chain" is boulet.
  5. which, for that matter, aren't even fruit hush
  6. The sauce contains tomatoes; supposedly, it was invented for some Spanish dignitaries, who had brought tomatoes--a crop from their New World colonies--to France.
  7. It's Sauce Espagnole with Africanesque spices.
  8. It's a sort of custard, and given that the English do like custard, that's fair.
  9. French for 'things from Vienna'
  10. The weird thing is that hoaxers honestly think this is a logical debate technique.
  11. So these are not in fact non-indicative names, it is just that people who proceed from the arbitrary mapmaking analogy "North = Up" and "South = Down" should take precedence over real real life. (Note: in many medieval maps, East was at the top). If Upper Canada was south of Lower Canada, then the Sun rises in the north and sets in the south. Looking at any map will show that Upper Canada was west of Lower Canada. But, as has already been mentioned, this has absolutely nothing to do with how the places were named.
  12. Though not in the mathematical sense
  13. Yes, Eagleland Tropers, as far as the NHL is concerned, you're all foreigners.
  14. The Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints had been in the West since 1970, the St. Louis Rams moved from Los Angeles in 1995 and stayed in the West, and the Carolina Panthers joined the West in 1995 as well. The only NFC West team that was actually in the western US at the time was the San Francisco 49ers.