Twelve Words that Mean Something Completely Different on the Farm

Only two percent of Americans are farmers. Several more work with the industry while a few more simply live in rural areas. For all those people, these dual meanings might be second nature, but for the rest of us, talking to a farmer can be really confusing!

Clear up your confusion below!

1) Combine

What it usually means: To unite or merge – like you would combine the flour and baking soda in a recipe

What it means on the farm: A machine which moves down the grain field removing the seeds from the stems of ripe plants of grains

2) Elevator

What it usually means: A platform or compartment housed in a shaft for raising and lowering people or things to different floors or levels, i.e. “Take the elevator to the penthouse and look around.”

What it means on the farm: A building or terminal where grain is elevated and transferred to an alternate mode of transportation (e.g. truck to rail, rail to ship)

3) Chick

What it usually means: A young woman – sometimes called out from a construction site as an attractive lady walks by

What it means on the farm: A baby chicken

4) Head

What it usually means: The upper part of the human body typically separated from the rest of the body by a neck, and containing the brain, mouth, and sense organs

What it means on the farm: The “scissors” of the combine – there is actually a “corn head” and a “bean/wheat head.”

5) Pen

What it usually means: An instrument for writing or drawing with ink

What it means on the farm: A stall for an animal

6) Pod

What it usually means: A group of prison cells

What it means on the farm: The container for seeds on a legume plant

7) Weed

What it usually means: The most commonly used slang word for marijuana

What it means on the farm: A plant that is not valued where it is growing and in competition with cultivated plants

8) Stalk

What it usually means: To harass or persecute (someone) with unwanted and obsessive attention, i.e. “Quit stalking me!”

What it means on the farm: The trunk or stem of corn

9) Field

What it usually means: An area of level ground, as in a park or stadium, where athletic events are held

What it means on the farm: An area of open land, especially one planted with crops or pasture, typically bounded by hedges or fences

10) Hybrid

What it usually means: A car with a gasoline engine and an electric motor, each of which can propel it

What it means on the farm: Seed produced by cross-pollinated plants; one of the main contributors to the dramatic rise in agricultural output

11) Sprout

What it usually means: A vegetable that you cook with; usually a topping on a sandwich

What it means on the farm: When a crop begins to grow; shoot forth, as a plant from a seed

12) Maze/maize

What it usually means: A series of paths that are designed as a puzzle through which one has to find a way.

What it means on the farm: The scientific term for corn.

This blog originally appeared on June 24, 2014 on