Common Yet Irksome Mispronunciations

I must confess that I get the pronounciation wrong on words often, but only because most of them I’ve never said or heard before. I read a lot (as I expect many other SDMBers do) so I’ve got a large vocabulary of words that I’ve never actually heard. Now, the ones that annoy me are:

pellow (for pillow)

and one I’ve been called on:
in-TEG-ral for IN-teg-ral, how do you pronounce it?

Just to clarify a few things:

Omniscientnot: I didn’t say fwa-yay was wrong, just perhaps pompous. :wink:

It it proNOUNce, but it’s not proNOUNciation.

To my knowledge, “flassid” is an example of a (former) mispronunciation making its way into the dictionary after years of common (mis)use. (Ditto for cue-pon. Sadly, it’s now in the dictionary as well.) Either way you choose to pronounce it, I hope you don’t have much cause to use the word. :wink:

Not trying to pick nits, just contribute to the discussion.
Thanks for keeping me on my toes.

ChrisCTP, your story sounds familiar.

In sixth grade, I won the spelling bee for my class. I won for the grade, too, then for the school. I went to the regional championships.

And on my first word, the idiot behind the microphone said, “in-FAK-choo-ate”. He said the same thing when I asked him to repeat it, and use it in a sentence. So I spelled “infactuate”, which was of course wrong, because there’s no C in “infatuate.”

I’m still bitter, because I watched the whole rest of that competition, and then the nationals on TV, and I knew every single word that came up after that point. I woulda been da champ…

::grumble whine moan complain::

By the way, don’t ya hate it when people mispronounce “forte”?

I’m not a warlock.
I’m a witch with a Y chromosome.

Adam said:
“Reprise really is Re-Prize”

No, it’s not - are you sure you didn’t look up “reprisal”?

Another word commonly mispronounced: bade.


It bugs me when people say Feb you ary instead of Feb brew ary

LaundrO-mat is a registered trade name,which has become generic. Based on the registered Auto-mat , which is also generic.Down here we got laundrA,laundray(All Day Laundray{shudder}) and others all registered and of course the KWIK-Wash (with the KWIK upside down on purpose {covulsions}) They is just all places weuns go to wArsh are close.
VolUMPtuous is almost the same as voluptuous,just more UMPH. (hyperbole)
sway do or even sue ay doh for psuedo. Nom de Plume! I know three people who say that.
deh CORE uh tiv for decorative (DECKrehtiv or even DECKruhtiv) ahhbsuerve the decoreuhtive art in the fwahyay.
OK, THE deCOREuhtiv Arts, I can take, but even that is preetindseeus.


four head instead of for’id (forehead).

I worked with a woman who often referred to someone else as being the “blunt of the joke.” That missed on so many levels, it wasn’t worth trying to rescue.

What really makes my teeth grind is usage errors. Effect/affect, fewer/less, their/they’re/there, hear/here, etc. I’d like to meet the person who turned disrespect into an active verb. I will probably have a coniption fit the next time I hear someone say “myself” when they should say “me”. “He’s going with me.”, not “He’s going with myself.” Give me peace!

The 23d letter of the alphabet. NOT “dub-ya”, double u…Sandwich. NOT “sammich” Florida. NOT Flor-da Penn-syl-van-i-a. NOT Pennsylvan-ya


Here is a great place from my liberry of online dikshyounerries.
only trouble is I can’t get it to work for me from the home page. So what I do is go here, type in my word, click ‘general’ then ‘look it up’.On the list that appears I go to Collins Cobuild Student Dictionary (usually number two) click the high lighted word, turn up the speaker and click the lips. hit toks raht good.

Sorry, Doug Bowe, but the tenor’s name REALLY IS prounounced PLAHcido Domingo.

Perhaps you have the pronounciation confused with that of the word “placenta.”

Oh, and the pronounciation of your brow depends on the spelling. It can be spelled and pronounced farhead or it can be spelled and pronounced forehead. I don’t know what planet “for’id” (rhymes with torrid??) comes from.

I’ll personally add the word “idea” to this list. I hate when people say “I have an ideer.”

I also hate when “plebeian” is pronounced “pluhBEEan.”

And yes, data is Dayta, NEVER dahta.

I don’t know who first said “everyone’s a critic,” but I think it’s a really stupid saying.

Data is Dayta, NEVER dahta.
Hmmm. Perhaps in the U.S. but certainly not for the British (and some Canadians).

I’m surprised these haven’t made the list yet:

strength (STRING-th, not STREN-th)
length (LING-th, not LEN-th)

Both pronunciations are acceptable, but that doesn’t make them any more pleasing to the ear.

Has anyone heard Dennis Miller’s monologues? He asked the question: “Is it ‘NOO-kyoo-lar’ or ‘NYOO-klee-ar’? I once heard a Senator on C-SPAN say ‘NOO-kyoo-lar.’ Color me reactionary, but I think we should get together on this [expletive deleted] before we vote on it!..I would hate to spend my last few moments on this earth mired in a syntax discrepancy!” My Random House dictionary suggested that the incorrect pronunciation imitates “molecular.”
I have always elided the “th” sound before a “z” or an “s”; so I say “Wi’ sunshine above,” etc. My older brother, as bellicose as ever, recently criticized me for prounouncing “wash” as “woish,” although I have prounounced it that way all my life (I’m from Indiana).

aunt is pronounced with a short ‘a’ not “awnt”.

Also it’s “herb” (‘h’ pronounced) not"erb".

Re-la-tor instead of real-tor

Joo-lar-ee instead of jewel-ry

My mom is the queen of malaprops. (Gotta love her.)

Here’s her advice on getting rid of a nest of wasps. “Now Pammie, wait to spray the nest until early morning, when they’re not very active, they’ll be real nostalgic and you can sneak right up on 'em.”

So I went out early in the a.m. and played some Sinatra tapes. Worked like a charm on those lethargic little devils.

Oh, you guys. Regional pronunciations shouldn’t matter - I think it makes our country cute. I’ve purposefully adopted a few because every time I say those words, I think of the dear folk I learned them from (“mebbe” for maybe, and “sammich” come to mind).

The “axe” for ask is a common pronunciation for folk of African descent. It, and a TON more peculiar pronunciations, have to do with how new African slaves learned English by using (usually) West African language rules. Many pronunciations are pidgin English holdovers. Centuries of segregation have cemented them into the culture. I for one love the sound of them, and while I don’t necessarily agree with teaching them as a “second language”, I fully believe in their validity and contribution to American culture.

That being said, MY all-time winner is “onery” for “ornery”.

“With enough courage, you can do without a reputation.” - Rhett Butler

The one that really bugs me is “melk”.

It’s MILK dammit!

HERB IS pronounced erb not herb

I hate people who say:

ISRAEL it is Is Ra El (three syllables) not Is Real (two syllables)

SAUDI it is SAW OOO DEE (three syllables) not Sawd EE (Two Syllables)

People also pronounce the “L” in the following words


See, all of this discussion is what happens when you put constraints on languages! :).People will always pronounce things as they damn please! No amount of correction will change it. Bostonians will always pronounce “car” like “cah”, Midwesterners will always say Spanish words like “San Jose” as “Sahn Joe-see”. You also get overly anal people who cringe at simple mispronounciations LOL.

One nitpick:

Aunt can be said like: ant, or awnt (it’s in my Websters Dictionary). What isnt permissible is saying it like uhnt. I actually had a friend in high school who said it like that.