Have you ever gotten something confused in your head, or maybe you just didn’t care, and called one thing by the wrong name for far too long because you consider them the same? The way some people seem to call any brown soda Coke even if it’s a Pepsi or a root beer or whatever? It can happen for any number of reasons but it also probably happens more than you’d think. We’re willing to bet that you thought at least one of these things was the same as something else when it absolutely isn’t.
10. Crevice and Crevasse Are Not the Same
Okay, imagine you’re out for a walk. It’s a warm day, and the air is fresh and clean and you’re having a great time. Life is good! But then, oh no, the earth splits asunder beneath your feet and you fall to your doom. Did you just fall into a crevice or a crevasse? There is a right and wrong answer here.
While both words mean a crack in something they don’t refer to a crack in the same thing. The root of each comes from Anglo-French crevace, to break, the way they’re used is different for a reason.
A crevasse is a bigger break, a deeper break, and is typically reserved only for referring to ice. So if your walk was on a glacier and it split, you fell into a crevasse. If the break was a little smaller and happened out on the earth itself, you fell into a crevice. In proper usage, a crevice is far less impressive, it may only be a surface crack, in fact. But a crevasse is going to seriously ruin your day.
9. TNT is Not Even Close Dynamite
In the song TNT by AC/DC, the chorus assures listeners that the singer is TNT, he’s dynamite. With all due respect to Bon Scott, that just wasn’t correct. Unless he was speaking to his own diversity, TNT and dynamite are not the same thing.
TNT is trinitrotoluene, and it’s a yellow, crystalline substance. It was discovered in 1863 and while it is explosive, it’s not as explosive as dynamite but the tradeoff is that it’s more stable.
Dynamite dates to 1867 and was discovered by Alfred Nobel of Nobel Prize fame. It’s made from nitroglycerine stabilized with diatomaceous earth and sodium carbonate. He made a safe(r) explosive than plain old nitro.
A stick of dynamite has a holding tube that is filled with an absorbent material covered in nitroglycerin and packed with other substances to stabilize it. It’s incredibly far removed from TNT and, aside from the intended purpose, is pretty much completely different from it in every way, especially chemically.
When they were first discovered, it was so hard to make TNT explode that it wasn’t even listed as an explosive compound, unlike dynamite.
8. Chrysalis and a Cocoon are Different
One of the most remarkable transformations in nature is when a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. Because it’s not a quick change magic act, the caterpillar needs to prepare to become a fancy new life form that flies and how does it do that? Does it form a cocoon or a chrysalis? The answer is chrysalis. No butterfly comes out of a cocoon because they are not the same thing.
Moths are a good example of cocoon makers and the difference between a moth cocoon and a butterfly chrysalis is how they are made. Like many creatures, a caterpillar grows by molting. That means it sheds its old skin as it grows larger beneath that skin. But when a caterpillar is set to become a butterfly, it never sheds that final skin. Instead, thanks to fun biology, that skin hardens into the outer chrysalis that allows the butterfly to form inside.
When a caterpillar becomes a moth, it uses silk that it produces itself, and maybe sometimes leaves and other bits of natural stuff to form a cocoon around itself. A cocoon is constructed by the caterpillar and then, once safely hidden away, it begins its transformation. Not all moths do this, but the majority do. No butterflies produce silk at all, however.
7. A Heart Attack is Not Cardiac Arrest
Let’s say you’re at a restaurant and a person at the next table clutches their chest and falls to the ground. They’re having a heart attack! Or are they suffering from cardiac arrest? As much as the two terms seem to be bandied about casually in pop culture, they are not synonyms and do not refer to the same condition.
A heart attack can trigger cardiac arrest, but two different things occur. A heart attack involves a blockage in an artery. Oxygenated blood can’t get to your heart and that part of the heart, now cut off from oxygen and blood, begins to die. That can be a quick process or a long one depending on several factors. You need to get medical help right away if this occurs because it can and likely will get much worse.
Cardiac arrest, which, again, can be triggered by a heart attack, is when the heart shuts down and stops pumping blood. It doesn’t have to be caused by a heart attack, though, and any disruption to the rhythm of your heart prevents it from pumping blood through the body. Your heart stops and you effectively die. CPR or other medical intervention will be needed to restart the heart or you could die quickly.
6. Pounds and Kilograms Measure Different Things
Here’s a confusing one. Pounds versus kilograms obviously refers to different measures but do they measure the same thing? A person who weighs 200 pounds can also be said to weigh 90.72 kilograms. So it’s two ways of saying the same thing, essentially. Or so it would seem, but that’s not technically correct.
Pounds are actually a measure of force or weight and kilograms are a measure of mass. In order for 200 pounds to equal 90.72 you have to agree that mass equals force and that’s not the cleanest science but it works for most of us so we let it slide.
On earth, none of this matters much. But if you went to the moon, your mass would still be 90.72 kilograms while your weight would be much less than 200 pounds. You’d weigh about six times less, in fact, because pounds measure that force of gravity on you and there’s less gravity on the moon.
Mass is a more reliable measure because it’s very hard to change but weight, in the right circumstances, can change.
5. Snow Leopards are Not Leopards
Snow leopards are some of the most beautiful and rare cats in the world. The WWF estimates there are 4,000 to 6,500 of them out there. They’re perfectly designed to live in harsh, snowy mountains where natural camouflage makes them nearly impossible to spot. Also of note is that they’re not actually leopards, but members of the panther family.
From a genetic standpoint, while they have spots you might expect of a leopard, they’re more closely related to tigers. In general, we recognize five kinds of big cats in the world and those are lions, tigers, leopards, jaguars, and snow leopards which are off on their own.
4. Concrete and Cement are Closely Related But Not the Same
This is one people tend to get wrong a lot. When you’re out walking the dog down the sidewalk, is it cement underfoot or concrete? If you wanted to be a bit of a semantic and technical weenie, you could argue that both work, but we’re not doing that. You’re walking on concrete. But there is cement in it.
You need a few things to make concrete. The first thing you want is cement. Cement is made from limestone, silica, and a few other ingredients that are baked and ground down into a super fine powder. When you add water to that super fine powder you get cement paste. It’s halfway to being concrete!
All you need to do now is mix in something like rocks or gravel and you’re making concrete. You need to keep the stones down to a diameter of one inch or less to make proper concrete. Of course, if you just mix in sand then you’re making mortar.
Fun fact! Because cement needs to be fired in a kiln to make it, the chemical reaction produces a lot of CO2. Concrete is the most widely used substance in the world and as much as 8% of the world’s CO2 emissions come from cement production.
3. Strangulation is Not the Same as Choking
It’s late at night, you’re walking around Camp Crystal Lake with Hannibal Lecter trying to avoid a guy in a Scream mask and you haven’t slept in days because of Freddy Krueger. Suddenly someone attacks you from behind and pulls a cord around your neck. Are you being choked or strangled?
Choking and strangulation are distinctly different things. In simple terms, choking is something that happens internally while strangulation happens externally. You can choke on a delicious burrito but you’d get strangled by a rope.
More specifically, choking happens when something blocks your trachea and prevents air from flowing to your lungs. Strangulation is when something presses on your neck and compresses your trachea preventing that airflow. It can also happen by accident, of course, but it can be intentional far more often than choking can.
2. Macarons and Macaroons Come From the Same Origin But Are Very Different
For a long time, the average person probably had no idea what a macaron was. But then foodie culture exploded, everyone and their uncle was watching Iron Chef, and the discerning dessert enthusiast in all of us was just dying to try a delicious macaron. Or was it a macaroon?
A macaroon differs from a macaron in several ways. A typical macaroon is a drop cookie, meaning you scoop up the mix, splat it down off of your spoon, and bam, there it is. They’re made with coconut and whipped egg whites and baked and chocolate-covered. Some folks make them with oatmeal and a few other choice ingredients and do a no-bake version sometimes called a haystack that doesn’t include egg.
Macarons are a sandwich cookie where the sandwich part is an egg white meringue cookie that you bake. It should have a slightly crispy exterior but a chewy interior and be pretty thin. Then you fill the sandwich with some kind of cream or ganache or whatever.
The name is so similar because they have the same origin way back in Italy when both were made with ground almonds and then evolved in separate ways to become distinctly different treats.
1. Captions and Subtitles Are Not the Same
In 2022, a survey of 1,200 people determined that 50% of us are watching TV with the captions on, which is pretty significant. So what makes subtitles so appealing? There could be several things from poor sound mixing to bad speaker placement. But it’s also worth remembering that subtitles and captions are different things even though people use the words interchangeably.
Subtitles are added to movies by the filmmakers many times and sometimes later by distributors if they’re being made available in other language markets. They are designed to translate dialogue from one language to another so you know what the characters are saying.
Captions, on the other hand, are designed for people who are hard of hearing so they can read the dialogue regardless of language. These are what most people are turning on now to follow along because it’s just too hard to understand what people are saying on TV and no one seems keen on fixing it.