7 Things That Have Totally Different Names, Depending on the State

United States in close up on the map. Focus on the name of country.

Written by Tabitha Boothe

Published: January 13, 2024

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English is a confusing language. Ask anyone trying to learn it. Sometimes, it’s confusing for people who are native English speakers. There are so many times when things can easily get lost in translation. This becomes even more commonplace when the conversation is happening with two people on opposite sides of the country. Each region across the United States has its own vocabulary and a different name for things.

So, what one person might call something in one state, another person elsewhere might call it something completely different. Yet, they are talking about the same thing. This article has compiled together a list of seven things that might be called something different depending on where you are.

1. Firefly vs. Lightning Bug

Night firefly light macro exposure

A favorite pastime with these bugs is to catch them and put them in a jar.

At different times throughout the summer, depending on where you live, you might encounter an insect whose rear end lights up. Now, if you live in the South or the Midwest, you will probably refer to these as a lightning bug. However, if you are in the New England area or along the west coast, you will hear them being referred to as fireflies. Either way, it is the same bug, and it gets its name from the way its behind lights up to attract a mate or some prey.

2. Soda vs. Pop vs. Coke

plastic bottles with soft drinks background

The carbonated soda beverage was created in 1767.

This carbonated beverage has many different names attached to it. While, of course, you can call the drink what it is, like Sprite or Dr. Pepper. However, there is a more generic term that people use, and it differs depending on where you are. A decent chunk of the country simply refers to these drinks as soda. But, once you get around to the Midwest, the name changes to pop. This originated from the popping sound the drink made when glass bottles were originally opened. Finally, come down to the south, and every carbonated drink is a coke. Albeit there are still others who call these drinks soda pop. At least you’ll know where you’re at when you hear what these drinks are called.

3. Lollipop vs. Sucker

Background of sweet candies and lollipops

This candy comes in many different flavors.

This hard candy on a stick was, at one point or another, every child’s favorite candy. However, not everyone calls it or calls it the same thing. While most people will call these lollipops, there are folks in the South and the Midwest that refer to these treats as suckers. However, there is actually a slight difference between the two. Lollipops tend to have a flat disc shape. Whereas suckers are normally more round in shape.

4. Waterbug vs. Waterstrider

Gerris lacustris, commonly known as the common pond skater or common water strider

This insect spreads it weight out evenly across its body, so it doesn’t sink.

What are these things that glide so easily across the top of water? They are able to use their long legs and the water’s surface tension to their advantage. Well, most people across the United States would call this a water bug. However, there are people in the northeast and some in the mid-west that call them water striders. Still, there are even others who call this a water spider or a water crawler. No matter how you slice, it’s all the same bug.

5. Pill Bug vs. Roly Poly vs. Potato Bug

woodlouse crawling on a stone

These bugs are part of the crustacean family.

Touch these little guys with your finger or a stick, and they will quickly roll into a little ball. For such a small creature, it sure does have a lot of names. The most popular name for this bug is a roly poly. However, in some parts of the Northeast and the Midwest, it is called a pill bug or sometimes a potato bug. There are even some people in Texas who call this a doodle bug.

6. Crawfish vs. Crawdads vs. Crayfish

Boiled red crawfishon close up top of view

Crawfish, or Crawdads, are typically found in lakes and streams.

What are these mini lobster-looking things called? Well, that depends on where you are. Not that it matters, they are delicious either way. But, if you are in the South, you’ll hear them being called a crawfish. However, certain sections of the Midwest know them as Crawdads. Conversely, other parts of the Midwest and also the east coast refer to these as Crayfish.

7. Daddy Long Legs vs. Grandaddy

Giant daddy longleg spider, Artema atlanta

Daddy Long Legs are harmless spiders.

Spiders of any kind aren’t normally anyone’s cup of tea. Especially when they have super long legs like these guys. But what are they called? The most common term for these harmless spiders is Daddy Long Legs. But, if you decide to head south and ask some folks there, they’ll tell you that they are called a Grandaddy.

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About the Author

Tabitha Boothe is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on penguins, forests, and castles. Tabitha has been writing and researching animals and nature for the past three years. A resident of Texas, Tabitha enjoys reading, playing board games, and caring for her dogs Buttercup and Leia.

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