Ah...using the terms to try to buy a pattern is a bit different than just having someone trying to teach you something say, "Oh, that's easy."
I think you're right..sometimes you just have to look at it a bit to really tell. I guess those are just general guidelines--not an exact science. As you said..."easy" is different to everyone.
And it works both ways...for instance, from reading all the knitting boards, it appears that the kitchener stitch is tremendously complicated and scary and hard...but it only took me a couple of minutes to learn it, and I found it to be extremely easy!! But other things that folks say are easy scare me a bit. So, you just never know.
I'm Knittermom9 on Ravelry