5 Most Common English Nouns We’ve Been Using The Wrong Way

Photo of author

Updated On

English is the most common language in the world and has the largest number of non-native speakers. Being the most widely spoken language, regional variation in grammar, spelling and word-use can be observed among different countries.

Though a word-use may significantly vary from the Standard English, it cannot be seen as incorrect if it has acquired widespread acceptance within a country. However there are chances that such word-use in international context becomes invalid. Here we have listed five such words (nouns) which are used particularly in different parts of Indian Subcontinent, in ways that major English Dictionaries do not condone in any definition.



What do you think it means: Goat’s meat

What it actually means: Meat of a fully grown sheep

In South Asia, the term ‘mutton’ inarguably refers to goat’s meat.  The word-meaning is so popular and well established that ‘chevon’, which is the actual English word for goat’s meat, doesn’t make sense to majority population of this region.

Despite this popularity, the native English speakers stick to the original meaning and are mostly unaware of how it’s used in South Asia. So asking for mutton in any native English speaking nation certainly won’t get you goat’s meat.



What do you think it means: A jacket or sweat shirt with a hood.

What it actually means: A knitted garment for upper body (a sweater).

In many parts of Indian Subcontinent, particularly in Nepal, ‘jumper’ is popularly used to refer to a jacket or a sweatshirt, with a hood attached. But in UK, ‘jumper’ refers to a completely different kind of garment; it refers to what’s popularly known as ‘sweater’ here, whereas across the Atlantic, in USA, a Jumper is a pinafore dress.

No native English speaking country recognizes ‘jumper’ as jacket or sweat shirt with a hood attached, the word they have for such garment is hoodie or hooded sweatshirt.


Periwinkle Scoop Neck Sheer Floral Top Layered Tulle Party Dress

What do you think it means: A general term for any kind of clothing.

What it actually means: A one piece garment that covers the body and extends down over legs.

‘Dress’ itself is a very versatile word. Based on its role (verb, noun, or adjective) in a sentence, the meaning of the word differs vastly.  When used as a noun, ‘dress’ refers to a female garment similar to gown but with varying hemline height.

‘Dress’ can also be used, especially in combination, to refer to clothes of a particular type, such as “an African dress” or “a traditional dress” but it’s not supposed to be used as a general term for all kinds of clothes. However it’s commonly used to refer to any kind of clothing and not often considered incorrect.



What do you think it means: Any kind of tight fitting covering for legs worn by women.

What it actually means: Tight- fitting covering for feet and legs held up either by suspenders or an elastic strip at thigh and not otherwise.

Many people use the term ‘stocking’ to refer to any kind of women hosiery, which is not correct. There are several kinds of women hosiers such as tights, leggings, pantyhose to name some, but none of them fall under the category of stockings.

‘Stocking’ exclusively refers to tightly-fitting, thigh-high women hosiers made up of light material that are not intended to conceal the legs, and if any female hosiery doesn’t meet even one of these criteria, it’s not a stocking.



What do you think it means: Muffin

What it actually means: A small cake baked in small thin paper or aluminium cup

The confusion between cupcake and muffin is common around the world. Many people even think these two are same and use the word interchangeably. Although they both look similar, the only major similarities between them are their size and their cuplike shape.

A cupcake is simply a normal cake, it’s baked from a cake batter in a portion to serve one individual whereas muffins are more of a quick bread; they are denser and less sweet than cupcakes and have texture that significantly vary from cupcakes. This is the basic difference between cupcakes and muffins, but if you’re interested more, numerous distinguishing features of these two are available in various web sources.


Spread the love

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.