Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference bwtween the words ‘notion’, ‘myth’ and ‘superstition’

‘notion’ vs ‘myth’ vs ‘superstition’

What is the difference between the words ‘notion’, ‘myth’ and ‘superstition’? To understand these words correctly it is a good idea to first understand each one individually. The word ‘notion’ is a broad term that is best described as an opinion, belief, theory or idea. It could also be said that it is the impression or conception of a situation, whether it is real or imagined. An example using the word ‘notion’ is: They had very different notions of how the sign should be printed. A ‘notion’ is not necessarily limited to one person; it could also belong to a group of people, such as in the sentence: the company had the notion that sugar was unhealthy so they replaced the soda with bottled water.

The word ‘myth’ has a different, more specific definition. To use the word ‘myth’ correctly, it must be understood that ‘myth’ is defined as something that is not true, usually in reference to known or established historical or scientific facts. It may be believed by people, but there is no truth to it. For example, it is a myth that the Vikings had horns on their helmets. Many people think that Vikings had horns on their helmets, but in reality they never did. As with most myths, there is a reason for the confusion of reality. In the case of the Viking helmets, it goes back to a popular opera that featured Vikings wearing helmets with horns. Although this costume was not based on historical facts, people have misunderstood that Vikings wore helmets with horns as a result. So most myths, although untrue, can be traced back to the source of the falsehood with research. Myths of a scientific nature can be disproved through scientific experimentation.

‘Myth’ can also have a wider usage, because the word can be used to describe not just a statement, but an ancient story, legend or fable. Many cultures have myths or stories that are not used to tell history accurately, but rather to teach a lesson or just to explain how something happened. For example there is a myth that tells the story of how the fictional character Paul Bunyan created the Great Lakes in the United States of America with his giant feet. Paul Bunyan is not a historically accurate character, rather a made up one that explains how the feature of the Great Lakes was formed. No one actually believes the myth is a historical fact, but it makes a fun and interesting story. Many times, myths are passed down from generation to generation and are told to children as entertaining stories.

Finally, the word ‘superstition’ can be defined as a belief or idea that is based on fear, especially fear of the unknown. The concept of luck is based on superstition. A person thinks that certain events will bring good or bad luck. For example, many people believe in the superstition that a black cat crossing your path will bring bad luck. Long-held superstitions of a culture can be traced back to explanations of why things that could not be easily explained happened. When referring to a superstition, the explanation is of a supernatural nature, usually involving evil spirits.

Although the words ‘notion’, ‘myth’ and ‘superstition’ all refer to ideas or beliefs, there is a difference the usage of each word. ‘Notion’ is a more general term that refers to any type of idea whether real or not. A myth explains something, although incorrectly, but creatively. A superstition calls to supernatural powers to explain events.


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