Names should be simple – something to designate this thing from that thing. The problems seem to arise as items get closer and closer together in function. Take planes. If you only own one, it’s “the plane”. However, as you acquire more, things get tougher: block plane, jack plane, jointer plane, smooth plane, low-angle smooth plane, large shoulder plane, medium shoulder plane, small shoulder plane, miniature shoulder plane, right-handed skew rabbet plane.
Get the idea?
This was my mindset when shopping for a tractor implement. I had some piles of dirt and other materials that I needed to move around and spread out, but didn’t need to invest in something as big as a front-end loader. A coworker told me about an attachment that sounded perfect. However, she had no idea what it was called – probably something complicated (12″ sliding compound miter saw comes to mind). I was going to do the usual online research, but how can you look something up without a name?
I decided to call one of the local tractor stores for help. I told the salesman, “I’m looking for an attachment for the 3-point hitch that allows you to back into a loose pile of dirt, etc., scoop it up, and then dump it by pulling a rope. I’ve seen them, but just don’t know what they’re called. What do you call that?”
He replied with what sounded like a straight face (supply your own hard Southern accent), “We call that a dirt scoop.”
(long pause) “You’re kidding.”