25 Misleading Phrases If You Don’t Know Their True Meaning

Posted by on November 24, 2016

Some of these phrases will be things that only native English speakers would understand (how “bless your heart” is really an insult), some will be silly observations (the German word for poison is “gift”), and others will be somewhat serious (the allure and subsequent failings of communism). Regardless of all this, these are 25 Misleading Phrases If You Don’t Know Their True Meaning.

Featured Image: collegedegrees360 via Flickr

25

Having your work cut out for you

work cut out for you

So you’re saying I don’t have to do any cutting? Somebody already started on it?

24

Agent Orange

agent orangeImage: commons.wikimedia.org

It sounds like a punk band.

Note: actually, it is.

23

Having your wages garnished

coinsImage: pexels.com

So my paycheck comes with decorations?

22

Friendly fire

soldiers

Alright guys, let’s gather around this friendly fire and share some stories!

21

Molotov cocktail

molotov cocktailImage: pixabay.com

They taste like fire!


20

An outstanding bank balance

credit cardImage: pixabay.com

So you’re telling me that you’re not complimenting me on my account?

19

Puppy mills

puppies

It’s like a windmill…except with puppies.

18

Athlete’s foot

athlete

That sounds good, can I have two of them?

17

Positive test results

test resultsImage: pixabay.com

In a medical environment this might be misleading. Positive as in good or positive as in I’m going to die? 

16

The Manhattan Project

nuclear bombImage: commons.wikimedia.org

It sounds like a cool summer camp for kids. 

15

The Patriot Act

usaImage: pixabay.com

But then again, most bills with flowery names will likely be the opposite of what the flowery name suggests.

14

Democratic People's Republic of Korea

korea

With a name like that, how is that not the freest place on Earth?

13

Women’s Suffrage

voting

For a non-native speaker, “suffrage” is easily confused with “suffering.” 

12

Gift

poisonImage: pixabay.com

If you are ever in Germany, don’t be mislead. This means “poison.”

11

Waterboarding

wakeboardingImage: commons.wikimedia.org

This might sound fun without context.

10

Global warming

palm trees

This could sound appealing especially during the winter.

9

”Bless your heart”

bless your heart

You just got slapped southern style.

8

Communism

communism

On paper, it looks pretty good.

7

Microsoft Works

microsoft

Well, it usually doesn’t, but it definitely sounds good.

6

Convenience charge (for online purchases)

convenience-fee-meme

Sure, I’d love to pay the convenience charge!

5

Being grown up

adult

To the kids reading this…it is the opposite of what you think it is

4

Dutch oven

dutch oven

Unfortunately, this has very little to do with ovens…or the Dutch.

3

Multi level marketing

Multi level marketing

You’ve been warned

2

The electric chair

electric-chairImage: publicdomainpictures.net

So it’s like a battery powered wheelchair?

1

Candlelight vigil

vigil
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