The sentence goes: "stating that this device is "unbreakable" is a misnomer since it already broke after I've barely used it". Is that a wrong usage? It seemed to fit but after reading the definition notes from: http://www.dictionary.com/browse/misnomer I felt that it was probably not correct. If it's not correct, what would be a better word for that?

The website states:

"Confusables note Expand Misnomer is not a fancy, more elevated word for mistake. Nor is it a synonym for misstatement, misconception, or misunderstanding. As the word's Latin etymon nōmināre (‘to name’) tells us, a misnomer is a special kind of mistake: a wrong name. The consequences of a mistake can range from trivial to catastrophic—from typos to train wrecks. But a misnomer is often just embarrassing, like trying to impress a friend by referrring to a Burgundy wine as a “Bordeaux.” Sometimes, however, what began as a misnomer has become a standard term: the game of Chinese checkers does not come from China; the funny bone is a nerve, not a bone; hay fever is not caused by hay and is not a fever; and a pregnant woman's morning sickness can occur at any time of day. Other kinds of mistakes or misunderstandings—giving a driver wrong directions, thinking that the earth is flat, drawing an erroneous conclusion—are not misnomers. In fact, the word misnomer when used to describe a behavioral mistake or a misperception of reality is itself a misnomer!"

I don't get to use this word often and have not been able to hear or see it used often so I'm curious how wrong it is and if anyone would notice.

Edit: Perhaps saying "false advertising" would fit the bill? I was looking for a specific phrase or word to match the meaning.

  • "Misnomer" would mean that it didn't live up to its name.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Oct 15, 2017 at 2:08
  • Thank you, so, was it used correctly in that sentence then?
    – VegASLan
    Commented Oct 15, 2017 at 2:10
  • Not unless the device has "Unbreakable" or "Rugged" or some such as a part of its name.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Oct 15, 2017 at 12:38

1 Answer 1


If a product called Oxytock was advertised and described as 'a 100% reliable headache cure' and it did not work, that would be a false description.

But if the product were called 'NoMoreHeadaches' and it didn't work, then, yes, that would be a misnomer.

From the definition link quoted in the question :

a misapplied or inappropriate name or designation. an error in naming a person or thing.

it is indicated that, in my above example 'NoMoreHeadaches', it is not an error that is the problem, it is a matter of misapplying the name to the product. It is just not an appropriate designation.

And in business terms, that is a culpable matter.

  • While this is correct as far as it goes, it would be hugely improved by explaining why its two statements are correct.
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Oct 15, 2017 at 11:44

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