This question is inspired by Is there a language where people do not use weight for mass?

When someone says "I weigh 75 kilograms" they are not necessarily using the wrong verb: assume the verb is correct, but they have chosen the wrong unit of measure.

Saying "I weigh 75 Decanewtons" would be approximately correct scientifically, and having the force unit in common usage would alleviate the need to misuse the force measurement verb to express mass.

Is there a language or locale where this is common?

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    I dispute your second paragraph. They are neither using the "wrong" verb nor the "wrong" unbit of measure. They are normally and correctly using human language to express and measure things about human experience. I find scientific pedantry just as objectionable as linguistic pedantry (like the people who insist that a tomato can't be a vegatable because it's a fruit).
    – Colin Fine
    Mar 26, 2022 at 20:29
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    Are there languages that can't express separation or relationship in space or in time, but only in space-time? No, as far as I know.
    – Colin Fine
    Mar 26, 2022 at 20:30
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    Just as there are no English word for "Covid booster". The concept is modern and no natural language distinguishes it because they were all evolved long before mass and weight were distinguished, in a 1-G field where they are indistinguishable.
    – jlawler
    Mar 27, 2022 at 17:22
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    This is a very reasonable question. To experience Newtonian physics and have a feel for it you don't have a degree in physics.
    – alephreish
    Mar 28, 2022 at 15:28

1 Answer 1


Wrong here refers to what is considered wring in a physics class, rather than in everyday life. Many terms in specific fields (like weight, work, heat in physics) have specific meaning withing these fields, which is different from from what they mean in everyday situations or other fields of scientce/technology/etc.

To give a few examples: quant means different things in physics and quantitative finance; elasticity means different things in mechanics and economics; theory in science has the meaning of a proven hypothesis, opposite to its meaning in laymen saying it's just a theory; socialism in economics and political science is equally opposite to what it means in everyday life, where the term usually referes to social democracy - a form of capitalism.

  • The fact that weight is different from mass and is "akin" to force can be and is verified by everyday experience. The analogy to quants and social democracy is incorrect.
    – alephreish
    Mar 28, 2022 at 15:27
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    @alephreish what you can show is that quantity X behaves like Y and not like Z. How you call them is a matter of convention, and those used by physicists are not identical with those used in everyday life. Don't worry, I know how it is defined in physics books ;)
    – Roger V.
    Mar 28, 2022 at 16:33

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