A recent experience prompted me to think about this. As iNaturalists and general nature lovers, I think we all become well-acquainted with the intricacies of whichever aspect of nature captures our imagination and focus. This may be common names, scientific names, the ecology of the area, certain jargon, etc.
For me, this applies mostly to birds, mammals, and to some extent, plants. The other day I was observing a Black Sparrowhawk nest where the mother was perched on a branch, when someone approached and asked what I was looking at. “Sparrowhawk,” I replied.
I could see their confusion, so I just shortened it to “hawk”. They seemed to get it then, admired the bird, and left.
It got me thinking - something as simple as the name of ‘sparrowhawk’ tripped people up because they were unfamiliar with the term, even though I had thought it a common enough name that at least laypeople would be a little familiar with it. Apparently not …
Have you had similar experiences where you related a term or name to someone else that you thought was widespread, only to find out that it wasn’t the case at all?