Whenever a name has different meanings within the same field it unnecessarily introduces confusion. But after some time people generally continue with the improper names since a large amount of literature already present has used it. The word “AC current” in electrical engineering is a very good example of a bad name continued. It literally means alternating current current and is contradictory and redundant.
In 1901, Max Planck explained the observed spectrum of light emitted by a black body by making the assumption that energy of the oscillators, i.e. atoms of the black body that emit radiation, is quantized.
In 1905, Albert Einstein proposed that electromagnetic radiation itself is quantized, not the energy of radiating atoms. Einstein called them as light quanta. In 1926, Gilbert N. Lewis popularized the term photon for light quanta.
At this point, light is considered to be both a wave and particle but electrons were still considered to be the classical particles.
In 1924, Louis-Victor de Broglie hypothesised that all things which were considered as particles at that time also had wave nature.
After this, there are neither waves nor particles. All “matter” has both wave properties and particle properties a concept called as wave–particle duality. But physicists have continued using the word particles to describe things like electrons even though they all know that these are not particles. A better name in my opinion is “warticle” (a portmanteau of wave and particle). If we mean warticle when we say particle then what word should we use to describe the classical particle? It is better to keep calling the classical particle as particle and rename the new one as warticle.
Another similar problem is there for the word “matter”.
- Sometimes it is used to describe anything that contributes to the energy–momentum tensor. According to this definition, antimatter is also matter as it also has positive energy. Dark matter and Dark energy are also matter according to this definition.
- Sometimes it is used to describe anything which has nonnegative baryon number or lepton number. With this definition, some anti matter like postitron is not matter. But bosons with zero charge like the photon, Higgs and Z bosons (also the hypothetical graviton if it really exists) are their own antiwarticles (some people like Professor Geoff Taylor argue that the concept of antiwarticles is only for fermions and not for bosons. But I think it makes sense to think of pair production of electron-positron pair from 2 photons as annihilation).
I think we should use the 1st definition for matter and we need to rename the 2nd one as “normatter” (a portmanteau of normal and matter) as opposed to antimatter since normatter is what we see normally and it contributes 5% to the total energy in the universe unlike antimatter which does not contribute significantly.
But in most cases, it will be obvious what the word means based on the context. So renaming these 2 is not very important but still it would be better if these are renamed.