Is there any example of major controversy in the scientific community caused due to poor wording and/or misinterpretation of words?
Giovanni Schiaparelli ...
He wrote in 1877 about his telescopic observations of Mars. He described some features using the Italian word canali. English translation would be channels. But the term was mistranslated as English canals, which was taken to mean they were artificial constructions. This led to much controversy about whether Mars was inhabited!
Airborne Contagion and Air Hygiene by William Firth Wells was one of the earliest works on disease transmission through air. There was research in there showing that droplets in general will tend to stay airborne the longest if they are around 100 microns in size. There was also a specific study included which showed that tuberculosis in particular is infectious if the droplets are under 5 microns (note that tuberculosis specifically needs to reach a deep section of the lungs in order to infect someone--deeper than other diseases). But apparently people skimmed over the 100 microns part and fixated on the 5 microns part. Fast forward to 2020 and now we have an article explaining how this misunderstanding lead to COVID guidance such as "3-6 feet apart". (Further reading: Wikipedia article.)
What must have happened, she thought, was that after Wells died, scientists inside the CDC conflated his observations. They plucked the size of the particle that transmits tuberculosis out of context, making 5 microns stand in for a general definition of airborne spread.
I submitted the paper to TOCS in 1990. All three referees said that the paper was mildly interesting, though not very important, but that all the Paxos stuff had to be removed. I was quite annoyed at how humorless everyone working in the field seemed to be, so I did nothing with the paper.
See paper  from his webpage.