I find that many people confuse refactoring with any change in code. Sometimes they even use the word to mean huge changes that break the application — “we need a month to refactor this monolith.” I think that in those cases, we are misusing the word refactoring, robbing it of its proper meaning, and ultimately, robbing ourselves of the power to communicate an important concept.
Let’s revisit what refactoring is and what it is not.
Some folks might consider this post semantic pedantry, but I think there’s value in knowing the difference between refactoring and merely changing stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I misuse the term on the regular, but when I’m being more diligent with my word choice I will reach for rejiggering instead.