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I was born in 1940, and was approaching age 5 when World War II ended. During the war, the Japanese were called "Japs." Naturally, when I discovered that we were also fighting the Germans, I made the leap and determined that "Germs" must be short for "German." For a while it made sense to me that the Germs were making people sick.
When I was a little kid I thought "End's Meat" was some sort of rare delicacy with a very complicated recipe because I kept hearing about people having a hard time trying to make it.
I thought the word mailman was male man and it seemed dumb to me as aren't all men male?
I used to think that when people were saying good grief they were saying good greeb. I still don't know what greeb means, if it's a word.
I thought 'infrared' was the past of 'to infrare'.
When I was 9 or 10, I used to call my friend a "dildo". For some reason, I thought it meant "silly", until my friend's horrified mother told me otherwise!!
Whenever me or my brothers were getting told off, my mum would say "if you do that again you will get a good hiding!" When she said it I pictured myself actually hiding in the wardrobe or another good hiding place
Up until I was 18--18! I believed that there were two kinds of appetizers one could serve at a party--"orderves" and "horse dovers." I had read about "horse dovers" many times in books and magazines, but at all the parties I'd ever been to, they only served "orderves."
It wasn't until I heard a woman on the radio saying that she could never remember how to spell "hors d'oeuvres" that I figured it out. When I tried to spell this word on my own and nothing looked right, the Frenchiness of it all clicked.
I'm from Ireland and in primary school coming up to St. Patricks Day they'd have plays and stuff on in scool and they'd always mention the millions of people who emigrated, but i thought emigrated meant disintegrated at the time so could never understand how millions of people went puff into dust... i pictured it kinda like vampires getting staked in Buffy... but Buffy wasn't on tv then so blame over active imagination....
My elementary school was very big on teaching us that litter was bad. I misheard the word as "glitter".
When my brother tried to drop a cup outside the window of our car once in a parking lot, I told him grumpily, "No glittering." I imagined that all the litter, if left on the sidewalk for long enough, would turn into glitter. Of course it made sense that glittering wasn't allowed--glitter was a pain to clean up if there was a lot of it spilled!
I used to believe that when people explained something and said 'Well basically...' it was because they thought you were too dumb to understand the complicated version.
My spanish teacher used to think "strip malls" were places you find strippers. She was shocked when someone in our class told her she was working at the strip mall
I had only heard the name of the combo Hall and Oates, so I thought their name was Haulin' Oats -- like what you do if you have to take your oats across town. It was associated in my mind with hauling ass, and it wasn't until college until I figured out my mistake when I said to a friend, "Hey, the show starts in ten minutes. We better haul oats."
When I was about 4 my neighbor would say "Peas" every time we said goodbye, I picked up on it and began saying "peas" to all my friends. My mother told me (after my neighbor moved away) that he was in fact saying "peace." D'oh
When I was little, I used to sleep in my Mom's room -- that is, the master bedroom. The door to the master bedroom was actually in the living room, so activity taking place in the living room and kitchen area could easily be heard from the master bedroom, but speech always sounded very muffled. When I was very little, probably about preschool age, I can remember waking up in my Mom's bed after my Mom and sisters were already awake, hearing their muffled conversation through the door, and concluding that my family spoke a different language in the morning -- but they only used it when I wasn't around. I'd often sit up in bed and listen to their strange "language," trying to decipher words and figure out what they meant,
I was certain that "earwigs" were basically toupees you wear on your ears.
When I was about ten, I asked my nan what a wet dream was and she answered 'It's when you have a nightmare and you pee the bed'. About two days later, after watching a scary film, I said to my dad 'I'm worried that film will make me have a wet dream.' (I am female). My dad didn't know whether to be embarrassed or angry.
I thought that "losing your cool" meant you weren't cool anymore (as in weren't awesome) so I felt offended when my mother told me I'd lost my cool.
When I heard the phrase "there's no rest for the wicked" when I was very young, I thought that it meant that wicked people get very little rest because there are so many wicked things that need doing. I believed that for many years.
when i was little i used to think that an appetizer was called lingerie, and that lingerie was an appetizer, so once i saw my mom maken like shrimps, and dips and such and i was like: "mom nice lingerie!"