Someone Asks People For Better Names For Badly Named Things And They Get Hilariously Creative

When you sit down for a while and really start thinking about language objectively, you realize that a lot of things don’t really make much sense. There are inconsistencies and irregularities to account for. Not to mention philological decisions that simply sound illogical. But that’s the reality of language—the way it organically evolves isn’t always tidy.

Redditor u/johnnylgarfield started up an intriguing thread about linguistics on r/AskReddit. They asked everyone what, in their opinion, is badly named and what a better name for it would be. For example, why is a group of squid called a ‘shoal’ instead of a ‘squad’? It’s a head-scratcher! Scroll down for some interesting suggestions—both witty and serious—to improve the English language.

Bored Panda got in touch with Lisa McLendon, Ph.D., from the University of Kansas. She shed some light on the challenges that people run into when trying to rename something, as well as the factors that influence how language evolves. We also reached out to the author of the viral discussion, redditor u/johnnylgarfield. Read on for both of our interviews.


Dentures. Should be Substitooths.

Image credits: donkeyknuckles

Lisa McLendon, the William Allen White professor of Journalism and Mass Communications and the coordinator at the Bremner Editing Center, explained to Bored Panda that some of the biggest challenges when renaming something include habits, the reasons behind the change, and practicality.

“People get used to certain names for things, and new names may need quite some time to take hold. A good example of this is when a business buys the naming rights to a stadium but fans keep calling the stadium its old name,” she told Bored Panda in an email.

“Another challenge is whether people see a reason for a change. A lot of formerly acceptable names for groups of people or conditions are mostly gone (in polite company, anyway) because people realized they were offensive or disrespectful and wanted to change them,” McLendon said.


Why is a group of squid called a shoal when it should be called a squad?

Image credits: xdark_realityx


I’m not the first to say it, but “pick-up artists” and “garbage men” should swap titles.

Image credits: GGAllinPartridge

If we had the power to rename everything and anything, we could have a lot of fun. A snake could become a ‘danger noodle.’ Meanwhile, a hedgehog could proudly call itself an ‘ouch mouse.’

However, changing language inorganically is a heck of a task. You would essentially have to convince the majority of English speakers that a thing they’ve been calling one way their entire lives should be called something else.

You would need to provide a compelling reason for everyone to learn to call a thing something else. Not only that, but all of those people then have to get into the habit of calling the thing the name you tried to convince them is more logical. This is going to take a lot of time, resources, and repetition.


Jet ski. Dumb name. Obviously it is a Boatercycle.

Image credits: KYbywayofNY


Miscarriages. Think about that – it’s essentially accusing the woman for “mis-carrying” the pregnancy. It places the blame on women for something that’s almost always outside of their control, and traumatic to boot. A much better and more descriptive term would be “pregnancy loss”, which is already used widely in many settings.

Image credits: jollyllama


I keep seeing people say that contractions should be birthquakes.

Image credits: ssssobtaostobs

It’s much easier to do this with new concepts, products, and technologies. Just look at how quickly AI spread across the globe and became a household term. In the meantime, for many people, ChatGPT has pretty much become the generic go-to term for most large language model chatbots. How this will change in the future is something we can’t wait to witness.

From our perspective, no language will ever be ‘perfect.’ For one, it would be incredibly difficult to come up with a unified understanding of what a perfect language would even mean. On top of that, it’s all of those linguistic quirks that make learning and using languages so enjoyable.


“Randomized Double Blind Trial” should be “Trick or Treatment”.

Image credits: RealityTimeshare


S’mores flavored Oreos are NOT called “S’moreos.”
I mean, what are they even paying their marketing people for?

Image credits: FictionVent


Emotional baggage should be called grief-case.

Image credits: Ragetaco3000

That being said, some aspects frustrate not only your ordinary folks but philology experts as well. Linguist and neuroscience expert Arika Okrentis notes on ‘Aeon’ that “English spelling is ridiculous.”

“Sew and new don’t rhyme. Kernel and colonel do. When you see an ough, you might need to read it out as ‘aw’ (thought), ‘ow’ (drought), ‘uff’ (tough), ‘off’ (cough), ‘oo’ (through), or ‘oh’ (though),” Okrentis points out.

“The ea vowel is usually pronounced ‘ee’ (weak, please, seal, beam) but can also be ‘eh’ (bread, head, wealth, feather). Those two options cover most of it – except for a handful of cases where it’s ‘ay’ (break, steak, great). Oh wait, one more… there’s earth. No wait, there’s also heart,” the expert quips.


Any bacon alternative that is not named Fācon is an abomination.

Image credits: RitaPoonismysister


Whoever coined the phrase Dad Bod really missed out on Father Figure.

Image credits: dizzyeyedalton


Bee Hotels – lil wooden structure that solitary bees can nest in from time to time.
nThat’s great – support local wildlife etc.

But seriously, who was the marketing genius that decided NOT to call them all “Bee&Bee”s??

Image credits: L_E_Phantman

While millions upon millions of people around the globe have learned these linguistic quirks by heart, for non-native speakers, the process can be very frustrating. However, streamlining a language (if even possible) might remove many of the reasons why we fell in love with it in the first place.

Which of the linguistic changes featured in this post would you immediately embrace, dear Pandas? What things would you rename if you could? We’d really like to hear your thoughts on this, so if you have a moment, scroll down to the comments. (Meanwhile, we still think a group of squid should be called a ‘squad’…)


Otto Preminger wrote his own biography and failed to title it Otto-Biography. Once in a lifetime pun, and he just threw it away.

Image credits: hippo717


Now You See Me 2.

Should have been Now You Don’t.

Image credits: igenus44


Shipments go by land, but cargo goes by sea. That s**t needs to be reversed.


Butterflies should be Flutterbys.

Image credits: genderlawyer


Hedgehog. Should be Needlemouse.

Image credits: NoMaineKoonsAllowed


I can’t believe I’m the first to say sexual tension should be renamed to Bangxiety.


Narwhals should be renamed tunacorns.


A red onion is quite clearly a purple onion.

Image credits: GWofJ94


Hand sanitizer should just be hanitizer. All toddlers say it that way and it’s easier.

Image credits: JolieOiseau


Weather forecast is boring. Weather prophecy is awesome.

Image credits: dire18


Hemorrhoids should be asteroids obv.

Image credits: UncleDuude


My stepdad randomly called the fridge/freezers the oracles of food and it stuck. “Let me ask the oracles of food” sounds way more bad*ss than “let me check what we have in the freezer”.


A group of raccoons is called a “gaze” when the word “heist” is right there.

Image credits: _Captain_Dinosaur_


Veterinarian. Should be a dogtor.

Image credits: Nosfer97


Almond Milk. Should be called “Nut Juice”!

Image credits: Troubador222


From a sign outside of a bar:
nWhy is it called bisexual when ambisextrous is right there?


[Breasts] sweat —> humidititties.

Image credits: SlientK


Daylight savings. Should be “pointlessly mess up everyone’s sleep cycle”.


“Lisp” should be renamed to anything without an S in it.

Image credits: cornedbeef101


Astronomers should be called skyintists.

Image credits: OreoDad22


Mini corn dogs should be called corn puppies!!!

Image credits: mikelybarger


Not original but I love the idea of butt dials being booty calls.

Image credits: freecain


The “snooze” button should be renamed the “five more minutes of denial” button.

Image credits: Sharp-Culture7107


My daughter said podcasts should be called Ear TV, which I wholehearted agree with esp as the name podcasts is basically anachronistic now with the demise of iPods She also said bras should be called b**bytraps – she should probably go into advertising.


Cornhole needs to be changed back to Bean Bag Toss.


The Great Molasses Flood/Boston Molasses Disaster should have been called The Boston Molassecre.


Airports should be called plane stations.


Fire truck. Should be Water truck.


A driveway should be a parkway and a parkway should be a driveway.


Olives should be Greece’s Pieces.


I am giving a serious response.
n1. Borderline Personality Disorder is not being on the line between two different things. It is having difficulty regulating emotions.
n2. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is not a lack of attention or an overabundance of activity. It is the brain moving too quickly and the body can’t keep up. It is needing to structure things differently to be functional. It is being able to see things that others can’t.
n3. Sexual Desire/Interest/Arousal Disorder is not a disorder at all. It is a different sexual orientation: asexuality.


Fencing (the sport).
n“Swashbuckling” has been just *right* there for lo, all these centuries.


Scarecrows are no crows. They should be called crowscares.


I still don’t get how “inflammable” means “flammable.”.


Air Oven > Air Fryer.
nIt’s a small oven. It doesn’t just fry. .


Gonorrhea should be an anti-diarrhea medication.

Image credits: Anonymous_oneee


Uterus Didelphys (double uterus) should be called a “twoterus”.


Faux pa > step-dad.


Iceland and Greenland.


Lasagna, I prefer Pasta Cake.


Headphones should be headspeakers.

Image credits: frank-sarno


Trampoline should be called jumpoline.


Hot water heater. It’s really a cold water heater.

Image credits: GuliblGuy


Killer whales should have been named Sea pandas.


Blowjob doesn’t involve blowing and for most people it’s not their job.


Mitch Hedberg nailed it. It’s not a cheese grater, it’s a sponge ruiner.


American “football”
nShould be something more like Armor Rugby , etc.


Uranus. Yeah it sounds like what it sounds like; but it’s also the only planet not named after a Roman god (in fact it’s not named after a god at all, it’s named after a Titan). It’s named after the Greek deity of the sky, and the father of the first generation of Titans.

It would almost be one thing if it was the last planet or something, but nope. Then we have Neptune, which is named after the Roman god of the sea. This leaves Uranus as the etymological sore-thumb of the Solar System.

The better name would be Caelus, because that’s the Roman equivalent, and it doesn’t sound like an inappropriate body part.


Toothbrush should really be called a teeth brush.


Forks should be called Stabby Grabbies.


Beheading should be called deheading. Not sure how that one slipped.


Answering Machines never really got a f*****g name. They were always just like, some left you a message on The Answering Machine. I always thought it should have been The TeleCorder.


Abbreviation should be a much shorter word.


Abbreve works. Breve’s even better.


Unicorn ? cuz apparently unihorn makes too much sense.


A stroke should be called a Brain Attack.


Traction should be called gription.


As a clarinetist, I hate that the fingering chart (little chart that tells you which fingers to use to play certain notes) is called a fingering chart. It’s suggestive to those with dirty minds. I’m not sure what a better name would be, but someone’s got to have one right?


Pressure Points





Pointed feet. At least in Dutch, they’re called “spitz-voeten”, with spitzen being the pointes ballerina’s wear.
nMy daughter looked at my feet and said “you have Barbie feet”, that’s what I call them now. It also reflects a lot better what my ability to walk is.


Glove compartment. It should be extra fast food napkin compartment.


Bullfrogs – I’d call ’em chuzwuzzers.


Laundry detergent should be called laundry sauce.


Starfish and jellyfish, neither are fish.


Queue should be que. like why the extra ue? Its dumb.


Broom, it should clearly be called a sweep/sweeper.


For all intents and purposes Starlink really should have been called Skynet if it wasn’t already taken.


Garage, it’s obviously a car hold!


Near misses in aviation. Did you nearly miss? Then it’s a crash. Really should be a near hit or something.


Rhode island isn’t an island.


Cookies, it should be bakes.


Why is it called chilly when it’s warm?


Birth Control should be called Pregnancy Preventer.


Mailman should obviously have been mailmale.


Buildings. Should be builtings.