The Strange Name Given To Individual M&M's

English is a strange language. If you are a non-native speaker, or simply think back to your elementary school English class, you may remember what a struggle it was trying to master memorizing all the plural word exceptions. While English simply adds an "s" to plenty of plural words, there are also words like tooth turning into teeth, person turning into people, and sheep, seemingly inexplicably, staying the same. And, it seems that M&M's candy should go on the list of exceptions.

When opening a new bag of M&M's, you may assume that pulling out a single candy should be referred to simply as "an M&M." But Mars, Incorporated actually refers to a single M&M as a lentil. Yes, the name of these versatile legumes is technically the right word to use when talking about an M&M. "Individual M&M's are referred to either as lentils or candies," a representative from Mars, Incorporated confirmed to Nexstar. And it's not just Mars, Incorporated that's using this word for its product.

Lentils are common throughout the candy industry

While this may seem like an odd term, the Mars, Incorporated company did not come up with the descriptive word on its own. In fact, the term is used across the candy-making industry, and it refers to all small chocolate candies that have that iconic M&M's-like shape and candy coating. It's also likely a really old and global term. 

A similarly-shaped Czechian candy, known as Lentilky, has been produced for over a century. And, the early 19th-century versions of chocolate Smarties were originally called Chocolate Lentils before going through other name changes. Even Skittles, while not chocolate, were believed to have been (and possibly still are) called lentils.

So, even if you're purchasing an off-brand version of this classic candy, or you're trying another nation's version, you can feel confident telling your friends that each individual piece is indeed called a lentil.