May 16, 2024 | Jamie Hayes

The Most Common Misconceptions That People Still Believe

Common Knowledge

How many of these common misconceptions did you think were true?


Adidas Isn't An Acronym

Adidas doesn't stand for "All Day I Dream About Soccer". The man who started the company was named Adolf "Adi" Dassler. Adi Dassler. Adi Dass. The backronym came about decades after Adidas was founded.

Man in adidas sweatshirtTnarg, Pexels

Pepper Seeds Aren't Spicy

The seeds are not the spiciest part of a pepper. They're actually low in capsaicin. The spicy stuff is the white pith that the seeds are attached to.

hot pepper seedsUnknown Author, PxHere

Turkey Don't Make You Sleepy

We all grew up knowing that turkey was high in something called "Tryptophan" and it's what made you sleepy on Thanksgiving. Nope. Turkey doesn't have particularly high levels of the chemical. 

The reason we get sleepy is just plain old overeating.

roasted turkey on wooden trayMonstera Production, Pexels


Irregardless Is In The Dictionary

Irregardless is a word—it's been in most dictionaries for the better part of a century.

English Dictionarylibellule789, Pixabay

"Ye" Is "The"

"Ye Olde Pub" is actually pronounced..."The Old Pub". There used to be a letter called a thorn, þ, for the "th" sound, but it went out of use with the advent of printing presses. Since they didn't have a thorn, printers would just use a Y instead. It kinda looks similar I guess?

Doubtful guy in white t-shirtPhotodriveStudio, Shutterstock

Razor Blades In Candy Is Not A Thing

There has never been a single confirmed instance of someone giving out razor blades, drugs, or poison to children in Halloween candy—though it has been proven that some guilty parents have tried to use the excuse as a cover.

Girl holding Halloween candyZulfiska, Shutterstock

The Buddha Was Skinny

The Buddha wasn't fat. At least, not a single source describes the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, as fat. The chubby Buddha you're picturing is actually "Budai," a chubby Chinese monk from the 10th century CE.

Buddha statueSunilkumar Krishnamoorthy, Pexels

The Iron Maiden Didn't Exist

The Iron Maiden is a metal coffin lined with spikes, an icon of Medieval instruments of torment. The only problem? They never existed. Every single Iron Maiden you've ever seen was built after the 18th century and just for display.

Iron maidenMittelalterliches Kriminalmuseum, Wikimedia Commons


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Not A Single Witch Was Burned At Salem

Of the 19 people executed during the Salem witch trials, none were burned. Most were hanged, some passed behind bars, and one man was crushed while the citizenry was trying to extract a confession from him.

Salem trialsUnknown Author, Wikimedia Commons


The Chevy Nova Doesn't Mean "No Go"

People loved to make fun of the Chevrolet Nova, saying it meant "No go" it Spanish. Some people even said that's why the car was a failure in Mexico. But guess what: It sold great in Mexico, and everyone understood Nova to mean "new".

Chevrolet NovaRL GNZLZ, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Searing Doesn't Do What You Think

Searing doesn't seal in moisture; it actually makes your meat lose moisture. You do it for flavor, texture, or color—but not moisture.

Searing a porterhouse steak.Naotake Murayama, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Twinkies Don't Last That Long

Twinkies are actually relatively low in preservatives, and their shelf life is only about 45 days.

Twinkies on a plate - 2010Christian Cable, Flickr

Fortune Cookies Aren't Chinese

Fortune cookies are popular in American Chinese restaurants, but not because they're from China. Fortune cookies were actually invented in...Japan.

Close-up Photo of Unopened fortune cookiesKsayer1, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Peanut Butter Existed Long Before George Washington Carver

George Washington Carver did not invent peanut butter. Peanut butter has been around since the time of the Aztecs. Carver's innovations in peanuts, soy, and other crops were all related to his agricultural advancements.

Peanut ButterKarolina Grabowska, Pexels

Color Movies Existed Long Before Oz

The Wizard of Oz was not the first feature-length movie in color. Color film had been around for over two decades when it was released.

The Wizard of Oz (1939)MGM, The Wizard of Oz (1939)


The Spanish Lisp Isn't Because Of A King

If you've met someone who's been to Spain, you've probably heard that the reason some Spanish dialects pronounce a "th" sound in imitation of a medieval king who had a lisp.

Well, there was a King Peter of Castile who did have a lisp—but the rise of the sound in Spanish dialects didn't actually start until long after his death.

teenager girl exchange student holding Spanish, Shutterstock

You Can File Missing Persons Reports Immediately

You don't have to wait 24 hours to file a missing person report. If you have reason to believe something is wrong, you can report it right away!

shocked woman on phonefizkes, Shutterstock

Officers Can lie

Plainclothes officers definitely do not need to identify themselves by law, and it is not "entrapment" for an undercover officer to lie.

Police officer in suit is thinking .cottonbro studio, Pexels

Undocumented Immigrants Lay Low

Undocumented immigrants actually have a far lower crime rate than American citizens. Statistically, US-born citizens are four times more likely to be arrested than an undocumented immigrant.

undocumented immigrantsMatt Gush, Shutterstock

Sleepin' With The Fishes Isn't Real

There's not a single documented case of the mafia or any other kind of organized crime family using "cement shoes" to eliminate someone—the French Army did actually do it during the Algerian War though!

MafiaStokkete, Shutterstock

You Have The Right To Remain Silent!

Officers forgetting to read you your Miranda rights is not a "get out of jail free card". You can still definitely be tried—though any statements you made will be inadmissible at least.

Arrested man talking to policeRDNE Stock project, Pexels


Immaculate Conception Isn't What You Think

The "Immaculate Conception" does not refer to the fact that Mary was a virgin when Jesus was born. Rather, it's the belief that Mary was born free of original sin.

Mary, mother of JesusUnknown Author, Wikimedia Commons

St. Peter Is A LIAR

Not only is St. Peter's Cathedral not the official seat of the Pope, it's not even really a cathedral! By definition, a cathedral needs to be the seat of a bishop, and the Pope's actual seat is Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran.

St Peter's Cathedral - Rome, ItalySergey Ashmarin, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

The People Who Built The Pyramids Got Paid

The Pyramids of Egypt were not build by slaves. In fact, there is detailed archaeological evidence of the skilled workers who built the Pyramids in return for high-quality food rations and tax exemptions.

The three main pyramids at Giza, EgyptRicardo Liberato, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Greek Sculptures Weren't White

The bare marble look of Ancient Greek sculptures is very misleading. Back in the day they would have been painted with incredibly gaudy colors. Kinda changes the vibe...

Greek SculpturesGranger Meador, Flickr

The Vomitorium Wasn't For That...

The Romans did have rooms called Vomitorium, but they weren't for upchucking after a hedonistic feast. They were the tunnels through which crowds would enter and exit a stadium—they would "spew" out of the tunnels.

Vomitorium at the Amphitheatre of PompeiiNorbert Nagel, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

They Didn't Salt The Earth At Carthage

When the Romans defeated the Carthaginians, they did indeed raze the city and block anyone from living there again for centuries—but they didn't salt the earth so nothing would ever grow again. Some scholar just made that up in the 19th century and it stuck for years.

Roman soldiersPathé, Centurion (2010)

Julius Caesar Wasn't Born By Caesarian

Caesarian sections were occasionally performed in ancient times, but the mother could not survive the operation. Seeing as Caesar's mom lived until he was at least 45, that one's bogus. The name "caesarian" likely comes from caedere, Latin for "cut".

Julius Caesar, as depicted in  Rome in roman clothesHBO, Rome (2005–2007)

People In The Middle Ages Lived Long Lives

The average life expectancy in the Middle Ages was as low as 33 years, that's misleading. The reason the number is so low is because infant mortality rates were astronomical compared to today. If you made it to age 20, you could probably expect to live until at least your mid-60s.

middle ages babiesSailko, CC BY 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Vikings Didn't Have Horns

There isn't a single actual example of a Viking helmet with horns on it. It was invented for a German opera in the 19th century.

VikingsMGM Television, Vikings

Marco Polo Didn't Bring Noodles Back From China

Marco Polo described the noodles he found in China as "similar to lasagna," ie. they already had lasagna in Italy at the time.

Marco Polo Netflix, Marco Polo (2014–2016)

People Have Known The Earth Is Flat FOREVER

It's not old-fashioned to believe that the Earth is flat. Scholars have put together that earth is a sphere since at least 500 BCE. 

The ErdapfelMartin Behaim, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

An Apple Never Fell On Isaac Newton's Head

Isaac Newton was inspired to study gravity while sitting under an apple tree, but one didn't hit him in the head. He was just watching them fall to the ground.

Portrait of Sir Isaac NewtonGodfrey Kneller, Wikimedia Commons

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