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Top 10 Products With Unfortunate Names

We all know that English isn’t spoken everywhere. It’s the universal language, yes, but the level of proficiency can vary widely from one place to the next. Or they might not even attempt to speak or understand it.

That said, with the dawn of the digital age, we know a lot more about each other than ever before, and photos can be shared around the world in seconds. This can lead to some...awkward...situations.

Words that look, sound, or are spelled the same as an English word can have an entirely different meaning in another language. This can create some hilarious product names for English speakers. The list is long.

These 10 products run the gamut from mildly amusing all the way to “WTF!”, and everything in between.

See Also: Do Your Emails Get Lost In Translation?

1. The Jew's Ear Juice

Okay. Let’s start off with a bang. This product from China may seem far to the “WTF!” end of the spectrum, but a little investigating quickly explains that it’s not as horrible as it sounds. Yes, the English name is unfortunate. Yes, it appears anti-Semitic at first glance.

But it’s not. Jew’s ear is a nickname for an edible mushroom-like fungus popular in China (formal name Auricularia auricula-judae). So it’s not an offensive racial slur. But it is essentially mushroom juice, and that’s still pretty bad.

2. Soup for Sluts

This one seems to do its best to perpetuate the meaning of its English name. Yup. Soup for Sluts and the slogan is “Cheap, Fast, & Easy”. Who wouldn’t want that staring up at them from a menu?

"Yes, I’ll have the, um...soup for sluts."

You can’t make this stuff up. The instant ramen noodles (a popular Japanese noodle soup dish) is spicy vegetable flavour and promises to satisfy your hunger, and offend your female friends. Two birds with one stone…and all for less than $2.

3. Pee Cola

You can’t make this stuff up. The instant ramen noodles (a popular Japanese noodle soup dish) is spicy vegetable flavour and promises to satisfy your hunger, and offend your female friends. Two birds with one stone…and all for less than $2.

This one falls under the chuckle category. Hailing from Ghana (which, oddly enough, is officially an English speaking country), this brand of cola is named after a bodily function that reduces most adolescents (and, let’s be honest, most adults males, too) to fits of giggles. Pee Cola. Pee. Cola.

The name, apparently, just means “Good” Cola in one of the other national languages of Ghana.

4. Spotted Dick

Spotted Dick

This next product can’t even say that it was lost in translation. It’s from Britain, and the last time I checked, they spoke pretty good English.

Spotted Dick is a popular pudding dish made with suet and currants or other dried fruit. But here’s where it gets a bit dodgy. Know what suet is? It’s the hard white fat found in the loins and around the kidneys. Yup, spotted dick is made with loin fat from either cows or sheep and dried fruit. Care for a slice?

As for the humorous moniker (another one that makes boys and grown men giggle uncontrollably), it’s hard to say for certain where it came from. The “spotted” likely refers to the presence of the currants or raisins, while “dick” was a common name for pudding in the 19th century. No matter how it got the label, it’s definitely amusing.

5. Only Puke(et)

Moving along, this snack product from China is the victim of a poorly designed bag. The product is actually called Only Pukeet, a honey-flavoured bean crisp. Sounds decent enough, if not everyone’s cup of tea.

Unfortunately, the -et at the end of the name is difficult to read against the clear packaging (the rest of the name appears on a green strip down the centre of the bag). The name stands out as “Only Puke” when you first look at it. Yum!

6. Pet Sweat

Pencil this one under “Gross” if you’re keeping score. It’s a hot and humid day. You’re thirsty. And nothing satisfies that thirst like an ice-cold glass of Pet Sweat. Eww.

Alright. Hold on. We’re getting ahead of ourselves. The product is made by the same Japanese company that makes Pocari Sweat (itself another example of an unfortunate name). Pocari Sweat is an electrolyte-replenishing sports drink similar to Gatorade. The manufacturer decided that, well, our pets should have sports drinks, too.

Viola! Pet Sweat. The product is an energy drink...for your dog. A strange idea with an even stranger name.

7. Coolpis

A Korean copy of a Japanese product, Coolpis is a line of beverages for the discerning individual. There’s delicious peach, and tongue-numbing kimchee (spicy fermented cabbage). Pick your poison.

Grab yourself some Coolpis on a hot summer day. Cool off, with Coolpis. There’s every other beverage, and then there’s Coolpis. The slogans practically write themselves.

8. Homo Milk

Yes, it’s a thing, but no, it’s not what you think. Found in Canada (yet another English-speaking country), homo milk is short for homogenized milk. But what’s that, you ask?

Most milk sold is pasteurized (heating it up and quickly cooling it down to kill harmful bacteria). It might be skimmed, 1%, or 2%. Homogenized milk in Canada, however, is 3.25% whole milk that has undergone a separate procedure to break down the fat molecules so they resist separation later (without it, the fat may come to rest along the top of the milk as cream, and you’d have to shake it vigorously to mix it back up).

So, it’s pretty straightforward. Homogenized Milk might be difficult to fit on some smaller cartons and bags (yes, we have bags of milk in Canada), so it was shortened to homo. There’s your explanation.

But it still makes kids giggle while grocery shopping with mom or dad.

9. Cemen Dip

This product could be one of the two “dirtiest” on the list. Cemen dip, popular in Turkey for dinner parties. I’m not kidding.

But, as with everything else so far, it’s obviously not what it might appear to be through English-speaking eyes. Cemen, in Turkish, is simply a dip made from tomato paste. Not dirty. Not kinky. Not something you’d expect to see in an XXX film.

So, at your next get-together, why not invite your boss to try the cemen dip...

10. Megapussi

Last but certainly not least, let’s head to Finland for our godfather of “does that say what I think it says?!”

You’re walking down the snack aisle in a grocery store in Helsinki. You’re craving salty snacks. Potato chips. And you have a hefty appetite, so you grab the Megapussi.

Yup. Megapussi.

But yet again, our English eyes deceive us. “Pussi” in Finnish just means bag, and mega means, well, mega. Loosely translated, Megapussi is a family or party-sized bag for your snacking pleasure.

Go ahead. You’ve worked hard all day. You deserve the megapussi.

Funny product names as a result of language differences aren’t going away anytime soon. Most of them are silly, childish, and may only appeal to boys and men (we can be pretty immature...at times), but they are all worth at least a second glance. Some sound gross. Some sound bizarre. And some are just plain rude, but hey...that’s the fun of language.

And there are others. Dozens. Hundreds. What other "Huh?!" product names have you seen out there during your travels? Add to the list in the comments below. From "Jussi Pussi" baked goods in Finland, to "Vag Fresh" breath mints in France, there’s a plethora of things that make you go hmm. You just need to look.

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