What’s in a Name: Cardboard

Often if you’re told to picture a general thing, the image you conjure up in your own mind differs wildly from the next person’s imagination. This is common simply because the thing that you were told to picture isn’t one extremely specific concept but rather has multiple variations or can be interpreted differently depending on someone’s culture or experiences.

Think about it for a minute, though. If I told you to imagine a house, you may think of a grand, two-story farmhouse with 5000 square feet if you grew up in a wealthier family located just outside of small farmtown. On the other hand, you may think of a small 1500 square foot house abutting other small similar houses, each with fenced in front yards and toys scattered about, if you grew up in a family with lower income located in the city.

Basically, a lot of the concepts out there differ so much from one person to the next because of our experiences and what we have come to know. If I say to picture a mug, you may think of something which we drink coffee and tea out of or you may picture a beer mug if you’re from a different culture.

One of those things that most people picture the same, however, is cardboard boxes. For the most part, we think of a rectangular brown box composed of corrugated cardboard. There’s not much else that springs to mind when you hear that term.

But did you know that these sorts of boxes can range from round to long and cylindrical to highly specialized for specific purposes? One of those boxes in particular is candy boxes. The last thing you’d think of when I say the word cardboard boxes is a box made for packaging candy, right?

Well, if you’re a baker or own your own confectionary business, candy boxes actually may spring to mind when you hear cardboard box.

This entire article goes to show that there are so many different things out there that one word doesn’t encapsulate what an entire population perceives as that word in particular. It all boils down to your own experiences, culture, and preferences.

And since there are a variety of items and concepts that fit into more general terms like “cardboard boxes” or “houses” or “mug,” it’s no surprise that different people would imagine different things when first hearing these terms.