Recently I asked a similar question on Chinese SE: Why would Antimony (Sb) and Aluminum (Al) be confused?

It seems, though, that this is by no means a Chinese phenomenon.

The Wiki page for Tin foil mentions that:

aluminium foil, [...] is still referred to as "tinfoil" in many regions.

What other chemicals are often confused for different chemicals?

I'm especially interested in things that have retained their incorrect names.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Molybdenum is named after a Greek word which means "lead". There are other elements with names chosen like that. $\endgroup$ – Ivan Neretin Sep 12 '18 at 9:23
  • $\begingroup$ Questions asking for list of examples aren't a good fit for the StackExchange Q&A model. That's particularly true if the inclusion criteria has a somewhat subjective component to it. $\endgroup$ – R.M. Sep 12 '18 at 18:57

One especially serious example is confusing methanol with ethanol. Methanol is highly toxic and sometimes is deliberately added to or inadvertently present in bootleg alcoholic beverages, causing many deaths and blindness in survivors every year around the world. It would be a life saver for someone to develop a cheap dipstick test for methanol.

| improve this answer | |

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.