Yes, this is a real issue and yes, we are obligated as a community to address it because we ourselves are the source of so many of the misconceptions and errors we so often complain about. The higher the level, the greater the accountability should be, but frequently isn't.
There are nearly innumerable examples of faulty language all throughout the physics literature and physics textbook at all levels. I will list some here. Before doing so, I also want to point out that science, ALL science, is based on progressively sophisticated models. Each new level of sophistication brings deeper understanding, and the process never ends. It's okay to use simplistic models and accompanying simplistic language as long as we warn the listener that in simplifying things, we're introducing errors that will be addressed in the more sophisticated models. We frequently neglect this warning.
"Vectors are quantities that have magnitude and direction."
It is not the case that every quantity that has a magnitude and direction is a vector (e.g. finite rotations). There are also different kinds of vectors, and unfortunately this is rarely mentioned in introductory courses.
"Vector components are scalars."
Well, not always. Components can be vectors as well. In fact, what we call scalar components are really pseudoscalars because of their behavior under coordinate inversion.
"Energy is the capacity to do work."
This is a model of meaningless circularity if ever there were one.
"The potential energy of the ball..."
A single entity cannot have potential energy assigned to it. Potential energy is a property of a system.
"Energy or momentum flows..."
Neither is a concrete physical substance so they can't flow. What we really should say is that we treat them mathematically as though they flow.
"Charging a capacitor..."
Charge is a fundamental property of matter, and yet we routinely use it as both a noun and a verb, which is a huge potential source of confusion. When we use it as a verb, we really mean and should say "accumulating" because that's the physical process we're trying to describe. "Charging a capacitor" simply means "accumulating charge on the capacitor". Actually, upon deeper thought, it amounts to a "redistribution of charge creating the appearance of accumulation of charge on the capacitor." Sometimes more words enhance the meaning.
I can think of the following words used by students to complete this thought: charge, current, potential difference, electric force, power. Electricity is really a meaningless word used as a substitute for lack of understanding of the concepts behind all those other words. If you mean power, then use the word power. If you mean current, then use the word current.
"Newton's third law says two objects exert equal and opposite forces on each other."
This directly contradicts the definition of force as a vector because two vectors cannot be equal if they have different directions. The term "equal and opposite" is inherently self-contradictory.
"Dot products and cross products are two ways of multiplying vectors."
These are very different from students' conceptions of multiplication. Dot products require both multiplication and addition (and sometimes subtraction). Cross products also require more than trivial multiplication. We shouldn't use the simplistic "multiplying" UNLESS we warn students that we're redefining what "multiplying" means.
"Moving clocks run slow. Moving rods contract."
These are very misleading. Time dilation and length contraction are nothing more than consequences of measurement from different frames.
- This problem took too much time. (time as a quantifiable concept)
- Distance is the product of speed and time. (time as a duration)
- What time is it? (time as a clock reading)
- Six times three is eighteen. (times as repeated addition)
- Please time the oscillations of this pendulum. (time as a verb)
- That was a very timely remark. (time as an adverb)
- Here is a time-dependent function. (time as an adjective)
These are a few from introductory and intermediate physics. Perhaps we should create a community wiki of more examples from advanced physics.