I want to think there is a word for when one accidentally uses one tool in the place of another and vice versa, such as with someone using their straw to eat cereal and their spoon in the milk, or unscrewing two differently sized caps and attempting to screw them back on to the wrong containers.

Edit: I should mention that while there are a great many synonyms of "confused" or "mixed up" that could fit this, I'm looking for a fairly specific word for this scenario.

  • 2
    I call those times "days of the week". Commented Feb 6, 2016 at 20:18
  • 1
    Oh one of those weeks. Commented Feb 6, 2016 at 20:19
  • All words are specific words. Is there one you would care to specify? Otherwise we're playing the, "guess what I'm thinking" game. Commented Feb 6, 2016 at 20:28
  • "unintended shift" ?
    – Graffito
    Commented Feb 6, 2016 at 20:30
  • @CandiedOrange a word that happens to describe more or less specifically the kind of mix ups in the question (which is unfortunately maybe a little too specific – I haven't been able to find anything that refers to that specifically and not confusion more broadly in all my searching)
    – gntskn
    Commented Feb 6, 2016 at 20:31

2 Answers 2


If you simply wish to express that the two objects have exchanged their proper positions there is




  1. cause (two or more things) to change places with each other.

"the captions describing the two state flowers were accidentally transposed"

synonyms: interchange, exchange, switch, swap (around), reverse, invert, flip

"the blue and black plates were transposed"

  1. transfer to a different place or context.

"the problems of civilization are transposed into a rustic setting"

synonyms: transfer, shift, relocate, transplant, move, displace

"the themes are transposed from the sphere of love to that of work"


  1. a matrix obtained from a given matrix by interchanging each row and the corresponding column.


As in, "I believe you have transposed my dining accoutrements"

But that kinda talk is a bit fancy for breakfast.


If someone gave me a straw in my cereal bowl and a spoon in my glass of milk I'd say there's been a


noun informal

a confusion of one thing with another, or a misunderstanding or mistake that results in confusion.

"there's been a mix-up over the tickets"

synonyms: confusion, muddle, misunderstanding, mistake, error; informal screw-up

"there was some sort of mix-up in the birth records"

a combination of different things, especially one whose effect is inharmonious.

"a ghastly mix-up of furniture styles"


  • This definitely fits, but I probably should have specified that I'm looking for a more specific word :) thanks though!
    – gntskn
    Commented Feb 6, 2016 at 20:24
  • 2
    @giantskin Well specify your specifics then. What specifically are your looking for? Commented Feb 6, 2016 at 20:26

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