Let’s Clear Up This Misconception Because It Makes Us Crazy!

Have you ever been chatting at a cocktail party, having a wonderful evening, when someone brings it to a screeching halt by telling you it’s a misnomer that the air we breathe is mostly oxygen?  (It’s actually 78% nitrogen).  Well, it’s enough to make us drink more heavily, because this scintillating factoid is actually a misconception, not a misnomer, which makes us crazy.  A misconception is a mistaken belief, a wrong idea such as:

There are several common misconceptions about the theory of relativity.
You're obviously under the
misconception that I care about your problems.
It’s a
misconception that if you pull the stem out of an apple, it will deflate and you won’t be able to eat it.

On the other hand, a misnomer is the use of a term that is misleading, a use of a wrong name. Examples include:

Calling it a driveway is a bit of a misnomer since you don’t drive on it, you park on it.
Calling it a parkway is a
misnomer since you don’t park on it, you drive on it.
Chinese checkers is a
misnomer since the game has nothing to do with China. It was invented in Germany!