From what I was taught in middle school, cations are those ions that move towards the cathode, likewise anions are those ions which move towards the anode.
I didn't have issues with this back then, since all we studied were electrolytic cells. But now that we've crossed over to electrochemical cells, I'm having doubts.
Every piece of chemistry literature I've come across so far, always deals with positive ions as cations and negative ions as anions; even my school textbook does it! That makes sense with respect to electrolytic cells, since the cathode's negative and anode's positive therefore positive ions would move to the cathode (hence 'cations') and negative ions would move to the anode (hence 'anions').
But in an electrochemical cell, the cathode's positive and the anode's negative. So if ions are to be classed according to the electrodes they move over to, then positive ions would be anions and negative ions would be cations, which is exactly opposite to the first case (on the basis of electrolytic cells).
This is really confusing....
So should I refer to positive and negative ions as cations and anions respectively or as anions and cations respectively? Or are both acceptable, depending on the scenario?