As clever as we might think we are, we all have gaps in our knowledge. After all, it’s impossible to know everything about our world. You might live your whole life believing that dolphins are land mammals who swim just for fun. Or assuming that a "birthday suit" is a specific set of clothes people wear when they turn another year older. Then, when someone points out that it's completely not true, you can’t help but wonder whether others thought the same as you.
Well, negan2018's post on Ask Reddit revealed that there are plenty of people who have also experienced these embarrassing moments. The user asked fellow community members, "What really obvious thing have you only just realized?" and thousands started sharing their stories.
As they say, the more you read, the more you know. So get ready to take a deep dive into some of the best answers we have collected from this thread. Make sure to upvote the ones you enjoyed most and share your own little misunderstandings in the comments below!
#1I recently realized I was allergic to carrots. I just thought they made everyone's mouth numb, you know, just like almonds.... I also learned recently that I have an almond allergy.
Image credits: Canwerevolt
#2I live in a part of Chicago called Greektown for 8 years and never realized the blue and white Christmas lights were meant to represent the colors on their flag. It just dawned on me today.
Image credits: letsgetrandy
#3The first time I visited the USA I was on my own and in NY and going to all the museums. I kept seeing signs that said "No strollers" and thought, because we call strollers prams in the UK, that you guys are super strict about the proper amount of attention required to visit a museum. I actually pretended to show more interest than I had in order not to be thougth of as some deadbeat out for a casual stroll.
It wasn't until about day three that I saw a "No strollers" sign that included a graphic for idiots.
Image credits: Flibble21
#4This girl I know has a dog named Deoji. Two years into knowing her and being around Deoji, I was having a conversation with her sister in law and I said "I love the name Deoji, how did she come up with that?" Her sister in law responds, "Deoji" and I said "yea, it's a neat name". She started laughing and said "No, D.O.G. ...the way you spell dog"
I'm still mindblown about this lol.
Image credits: PoTinkTink17
#5Not me but my sister asked me about 2 and a half months ago when we were watching John Wick 3 during the desert scene she asked me if they were real and I asked if what were real and she said “Sand Lands” and I busted out laughing so god damn hard and said “you mean deserts? Yes they’re real”. Thinking about it right now Got me laughing.
Image credits: Tonychina23
#6That parents have children write letters to Santa so they can figure out what to buy them for Christmas. I can’t believe how I never put that together after 32 years on this earth I just thought it was fun little tradition..
Image credits: currentlydownvoted
#7My mom used to make my sisters and I “belly-buttons” for dinner. I was 27 when I realized that they were actually tortellini, but she knew we were dumb kids and would refuse something named so strange even though they were delicious.
Image credits: no1flyhalf
#8I regret to inform you all that it just occurred to me the other day that the game is called Sims because they’re in a simulation. I’m 26.
Image credits: haleyrose927
#9That Jessica Rabbit is not a rabbit, but took Roger Rabbit's last name.
Image credits: joshg6108
#10That they put measurement stickers next to gas station doors so if a robber is running out of the store you can get a better estimate of their height. I always thought they were just there for something fun to do on road trip stops....
Image credits: iamconfusion0815
#11Saw a place labled as "Public house" when I moved nearby recently.
It was at that moment I realized "OH thats why they call them PUBS. Its short for public house"
#12I realized that to be in one's birthday suit it means to be without clothes. I thought for the longest time it was a specific set of clothes you would wear on your birthday each year. I found out when I asked, "what happens when you don't fit in your birthday suit anymore?" Lol
Image credits: BeastofWhimsy
#13This is going to make me seem dumb as hell but I recently realized why pickles don’t ever.. come fresh...
Image credits: thisisisle
#14I live in Denmark so english is not my native language and I just realised that weekend means the end of the week.
Image credits: denmark-the-best
#15The Grammys are called that because the awards are gramophones.
Image credits: L00katTheAww
#16For the longest time, I always thought Prima Donna was Pre-Madonna
Image credits: imbouttonutongod
#17I only just today realized that the “walk the plank” plank on a boat is not a special addition pirates added to their ships as a means of public execution that looked like a little wooden diving board.
It is, in fact, the very same plank as the gangplank you’d normally use to get on and off of the ship. It is not the presence of the plank that is threatening, but the absence of dock.
#18When I was little for some reason I hated toast. Just hated it. My parents always tried to make me eat it but I always refused. My grandma decided to try something different. She took toast, cut it up into tiny squares, put some butter on them and called them “Little Pillows.” I ate them all the time. Only now, at 22 years old, did I realize it was just freakin toast.
Image credits: Cosplaybaby13
#19I must've been around 11-12 years old, when I realized that "in order of appearance" during the end credits of a movie doesn't list the actors/actresses by who is the most good looking.
#20Super embarrassing but in college I would order Roman Cokes because I heard everyone else ordering the same...turns out I misheard everyone and found out it was just rum and coke
Image credits: Kaylakamrie
#21I thought astigmatism was A stigmatism. So I thought you could have two stigmatisms
Image credits: matthewdeanschmittw
#22My friend (22 y.o) only realized last year that dolphins have to swim and live in the water to survive. He thought they're land mammals but they just really like to swim for fun.
Image credits: marshmeowllo
#23That my girlfriends name is actually spelled Kihyah , I really though it was spelled Kia. Luckily she never found this fact out.
Image credits: MrSir_
#24My whole life I thought "Pay-per-view" was actually "paper view" because I had only ever heard people say it, and only recently saw it written out.
#25Cilantro and Coriander are the same plant.
#26VERY LATE BUT it's called the alphabet because the Greek "Alphabet" starts with the letter alpha, beta....
#27Raincoats typically have bright colours so you're easier to spot during heavy rain, not because raincoat designers have bad taste
#28Thought that raw hazelnuts don't taste good, because they give this weird tingle in your mouth. Found out I had a nut allergy when it suddenly turned from "tingle" to "anaphylaxis" and I ended up in hospital for eating nut chocolate
#29That Michelangelo's David is David from David and Goliath. How did I not know this?? I thought it was just dude called Dave.
#30My grandpa used to ask me when I was a kid if I could talk without moving my lips. Being a dumb ass kid I would always give it my best effort, and thought I was pretty good at it. 20 years later I realised the old bugger was just telling me to shut the f*ck up haha. Too bad I can't let him know I finally figured it out.
#31Pancakes are cakes made in a pan I thought they were invented by a guy named Pan until this morning
Image credits: izoom19
#32I was playing Monopoly, and someone owned a load of properties all clustered together. I said, 'You’ve got a bit of a monopoly on that part of the board. Hey that’s funny, because we’re playing Monopoly, and you got a...oh, I see now.
#33The piggy in 'This Little Piggy' didn’t go to the market to go shopping. ... I’m still horrified
#34The division symbol ÷ is just a fraction. The two dots represent numbers
#35That big ship's wheel I got to turn as a kid was not actually controlling the cruise ship.
Image credits: MiscWalrus
#36Oh you want a freaking doozy? For YEARS, I did not realize it was Mike Myers playing both Austin Powers AND Dr Evil. I don't know how I missed it, but it never twigged that it was the same actor. Felt like a right royal twat when that was pointed out to me!
#37I was 28 before I realized the meaning to the why is 6 afraid of 7 joke. I always just thought it was dumb, 7,8,9, like you’re just counting.......the electric bill wasn’t paid until later in my life.
#38When I was little we had an Australian shepherd named Sydney. I didn’t understand why her name was Sydney until 18 years later.
Image credits: Doggieboy5
#39I’m 30 and I realized a few months ago that “howdy” is Cowboy for “how do you do”
#40A screensaver has a purpose and it literally saves your screen from an image being burned into it. I'm 37
#41The mommy in that Christmas song wasn't cheating with Santa but instead, it's the dad dressed in a Santa Claus costume. That's why 'I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus
#42For a long time I thought "to bust a nut" meant that you were going to kick a guy in the balls or beat him up. So anytime I was getting worked up or angry talking about some guy I would say " I'm going to bust his f*cking nut" not knowing the real meaning. Nobody ever said anything but it was always followed by my friends laughing so I assumed it was because I was being dramatic.
Years go by and my coworker is telling me about some rude person he met and I said "you should definitely bust that guy's nut", to which he paused and said "do you even know what that means?" Suffice it to say I was extremely embarrassed and horrified when he explained it to me.
Image credits: Seacreeplandcreep
#43My boyfriend did not know that his electric toothbrush has a timer on it that goes off at 1 minute and 2 minutes. He actually returned it and got a new one thinking it was broken, since the “timer” is just a brief sort of pause/reduction in the vibration. He would be like “wtf I literally just charged this f*cking thing” thinking that the battery was already dying. One day, and I can’t remember exactly what the conversation was, I brought up how I liked that my toothbrush let me know when I had brushed long enough, and it was like a lightbulb went off in his head and suddenly he put it together that that was what his toothbrush was doing all along.
#44...learned from a similar thread, but I was 40 years old before I realized that there is an arrow indicating what side the gas cap is on by the gas gauge.
#45When I realize words I use all the time are painfully literal in their meaning. For example, breakfast implies you are literally "breaking your fast". Afternoon is "after the noon hour". I feel that when I find words like these, I've had an radical realization, but, I'm just dense.
#46The song "it's getting hot in here" isn't actually talking about here temperature
I felt very, very stupid
Image credits: ekoth
#47I learned a couple years ago that it's not "The mayor of bad news" it's actually "the bearer of bad news". I'm 25.
#48Valve released Steam. It took me a long time to realize the pun.
Image credits: hobbitdude13
#49The houses in Bikini Bottom are car mufflers...
Image credits: hi_its_lizzy616
#50That to take off the plastic piece on top of deodorant you just simply twist the bottom a few times lmao
Image credits: woodyprowlers
#51English is not my first language, so I was mind blown when I realized how "keys", "kiss", "he's", "his", "this", "these", etc differed in sound (pronunciation).
I first noticed this when I told my boyfriend I wanted a "keys" and he looked very confused lol. Now I try my best to pronounce them properly
#52When teenagers said “we’re going to TP a house” I always thought it was “teepee” and it never made sense to me since they just covered a house with toilet paper. I recently realized that TP was the initials for toilet paper.. I’m 27.
#53In order to properly use a hand dryer, you have to rub your hands.
I used to just put my hands under it and question why it was taking so long, but then I saw one of my friends rubbing their hands, and I felt stupid
#54Eeyore' is the noise donkeys make
#55When people said 'it's a double-edged sword,' I thought the sword's hilt was also a sword. Only until yesterday, it was explained to me by my brother that it was just sharp on both sides of the blade
#56Today my friend realised pipe cleaners were originally for cleaning pipes....
(after I suggested using one to clean a metal straw because it's similar to a pipe)
#57I learned that allspice is actually one spice and not a blend of spices containing cinnamon and nutmeg.
Image credits: sarloui
#58I was a voracious reader and was way ahead of the curve during school, but didn't realize until age 50 that there are two discreets/discretes.
One website said the trick to remembering them is the two E letters stay next to each other when they want to whisper a secret.
#59That the phrase mint condition means like new because it's the condition coins leave the mint in
#60That calling some one simple is just a nice way of calling some one stupid. Wife informed me of this, after 28 years of my grandma calling me simple.
#61I just finished reading Dracula by Bram Stoker. At the end of the book, there was a little blurb about the author, Abraham Stoker. Bram is short for Abraham. I didn't know that.
#62As a child I was confused as to why Mary, Kate, and Ashley were referred to as the Olsen twins and why ads on TV only ever showed two of them at a time.
And then 16 year old me found out about Mary-Kate.
#63When I was a kid my mom told me my rabbit Rosie went to live on a farm. In my early twenties I saw an episode of The Sopranos where everyone makes fun of Tony when he realizes his dog didn't really go to live on a farm. That's when I realized Rosie had not gone to a farm either. Edit: I would like to officially apologize for the cascading wave of terrible realizations my post has caused. Truly we sit on Thrones of Lies. ~~~~~edit 2: it turns out a lot of animals really do get to go live on the farm from the responses here so that's cool
#64Cruella de Vil was a cruel devil.
#65Personal injury lawyer commercials play more frequently during daytime TV because their clientele is injured, stuck at home, and watching daytime TV.
#66I always thought “You can’t have your cake and eat it, too” was a weird saying because why wouldn’t I be able to eat my freaking slice of cake? It’s my cake.
Nobody was telling me that I can’t have my cake. Turns out they mean you can’t eat the cake while also still retaining it. Once it is eaten, it is gone. An idiom I did not understand until this year. I am 27.
#67Phineas and Ferb are shaped like a p and an f
#68The reason the cord hook on the vacuum spins is so you can take the whole cord off at once instead of unraveling it one loop at a time, like I have been my whole life.
#69In the movie "Cats vs Dogs" when the dog goes "Son of my mom!" He's actually saying Son of a b*tch
#70That you have to add a can of water to Campbell's soup. Apparently I've been drinking straight condensed soup...
#71That people who always seem to know what direction it is (north, south, east, west) AREN’T somehow magical magnets but are rather just noticing where the goddamn sun is in the sky... why did no one tell me?!
#72A chef is called a chef in a restaurant because restaurants originated in France and ‘chef’ just means 'boss' in French
#73I always found it funny how ABBA songs fit the movie Mamma Mia so well...it took me years to figure out the movie was made around the songs
#74That the Houston Astros name comes from astronauts
#75It called Men’s Wearhouse and not Men’s Warehouse. It’s been a couple years since I realized this and I just think that’s a clever name.
#76My bedroom door was broke and I finally got around to fixing it. Thought the knob was broke cause it was pushed in towards the door so I pulled it out and realized that was how you locked the door.
#77I kept seeing the same Chinese characters on restaurant's signs and I always wanted to know what it meant. A week ago I found out: they mean restaurant.
#78Not just now, but I think it applies. I'm currently in my mid 30s. I didn't realize until I was about 28 years old that my mom's name was Betty and her sister's name was Wilma. Betty and Wilma. From the Flintstones. (And yes, they were definitely named after the cartoon, I asked.)
Flash forward two years later, my aunt Wilma informed me that they were fraternal twins. Again, another thing for 30 years I had not known.
Edit: A few folks have asked for a bit of context on the twin thing. My mom died when I was fairly going so I never had her birthday as a thing. I wasn't super close to Wilma, so I wasn't really celebrating hers either. I guess it was just "known" in my family so nobody ever mentioned it until totally randomly she said something about it.
On the name thing, they actually both went by nicknames their whole lives so I never even thought of them as Betty and Wilma, but just Mom and Aunt Cookie (she likes to bake).
#79The Lead singer of Blur, is the lead singer of Gorillaz.
#80This sounds ridiculous, but I recently found out about the term "knee jerk reaction"
My whole life I had been saying it how I heard it, and just figured it was spelled something like "neidric reaction" like it was some psychology term
#81Up until last year I thought Nat Geo was a person. I then realised it was short for National Geographic.
#82That Ecuador is named after the Equator.
#83Not me but my husband just understood that queue is pronounced 'q' and not 'quay'. His mind was blown
#84It's called a Department Store because there are, wait for it, separate departments within the one store.
I had a Sudden Clarity Clarence moment with that one recently.
#85I'm in my fifties. I grew up in a rural area north of New York City, I'm a veteran, I'm reasonably intelligent, reasonably well-traveled.
I've been hearing (and repeating this expression on and off for all of my life:
Friend/acquaintance 1: "Hey, man see you soon!" Friend/acquaintance 2: "Not if I see you first." smirk
It's just within the last few years that I realized that's a -almost always joking, kind- jab at Friend/acquaintance 1.
It was so ritualized as a way to say goodnight to a buddy, that it never occurred to me that it meant that the friend would choose to avoid the other person.
#86I didnt know the characters on Family Guy had accents. Live in New England Watching with my wife (not from here) and she says wow they really nailed the accents! I say "what accents?" Blew my mind when she explained not everyone talks like that lmao
#87Today the radio taught me Mariah Carey wrote and sang “All I Want for Christmas is You.” All this time I thought it was just a cover that she did so well, people loved it more than the original. Turns out it is the original
#88Ok, this was a couple of years ago, but it was something I realized WAY too late in my life...
You're supposed to use the towel to dry yourself after a shower. I was just wrapping it around myself and sitting / walking around in it until I air dried.
#89that a skirt and a dress are two different things. I'm 42.
Image credits: Owlmoose
#90i realized at the age of 26 that narwhals are real because they were on an octonauts episode
i walked into the room and was like, "i thought they only do real animals on this show" then the kids' dad said, "you're joking... right?"
#91It's "For all intents and purposes", not "For all intensive purposes." How did I not recognize what I'm saying just doesn't make sense?
#92That when I was a kid and my dad would take me to the video store on Friday nights and he would go into the back room where only adults were allowed, that he was looking at porn.
#93I used to always pour water into our coffee maker one glass at a time. It was such a pain in the ass, especially to fill the reservoir to the number of cups I wanted. Until I realized I could just fill the carafe with water, which has the exact same measurements, and pour the water in that way
#94By “tornados sound like trains” they don’t mean tornados whistle a “choo choo” sound.
#95Undergarments and socks are there to cover places that sweat and stink so that you don't sweat and stink on the thing on top of the undergarment and can replace the undergarment more often
#96Dove soap and Dove chocolate are different companies.
#97Principal Belding from Saved by the Bell is named "bell ding."
#98This is so so stupid but I didn’t realize my moms were gay until I was almost 14 and I literally heard my mom say “I’m gay” to my grandma as a joke.
I knew that lesbians/same-sex/gay were relatively interchangeable but it didn’t click as “my moms are lesbians which is another term for being gay and they are gay” until that moment.