Correct pronounciation for gyro (The sandwich)

Always curious and have heard 3 different ways. So which is correct?

I was told it’s GEE-roe , but neither I nor the person who told me is Greek.


No, not really. In Cyprus I recall hearing sorta like a soft, guttural “y” sound, with a hint of “g” at the start. Kind of “YEE-ro” with a Greek accented “y”.

All three of the ones that I’m supposing you’re referring to can be called correct, according to my Oxford. However, I have personally only heard the one pronunciation used, and would tend to assume that it is the more commonly accpeted one, being ‘Ye-ro.’ But, ‘Ji-ro’ (like as in autogyro) or even ‘Jee-ro’ (which I personally think is a ridiculous way to pronounce it) are all acceptable ways.

-Captain Myrrh

This seems to be saying YEE-roe

More info:

My grandfather was greek. I eat frequently at my favorite greek restaurant downtown.

Yee-ro. The R has almost a D sound though.

Thanks all. We’re going to a new Greek restaurant tonight and I haven’t had one in years. Wanted to make sure I didn’t sound like an idiot. (I save that for the Pit threads) :wink:

When in Greece you say “YEEE-roh”.

Some friends and I were lucky enough to discover two side-by-side gyro shops in Athens. The owners apparently hated each other, and always tried to steal one another’s customers by undercutting their prices. After listening to them argue for about ten minutes one evening, we huddled together, flipped a coin, and marched into one of the shops. The owner fawned over us and stuffed us with food for about two hours. At the end of the evening the tab was only about $15 or so. Not bad for feeding eight.


Or something.

Punoqllads, that was quite good. :smiley:

Strange thing, here in Sydney (where we have a very big Greek population), this food is more popular than hamburgers, but they are always sold as YEEROS. Now, while some people ask for “a yeero” (which would seem to be correct), the vast majority - including me - ask for “a yeeros” (pron: YEAR-oss). I actually thought it was this latter pronunciation as the short ‘o’ followed by the ‘s’ just seems naturally Greek to me, but obviously I have been mistaken.


But to use this as an opportunity to be pedantic, the pronunciation of Greek Gyros is the origin of the American name hero for a sub, grinder, po-boy, wattevah…

It may be incorrect, but there’s just no way us Americans will pronounce a word begining with the letter G with a soft Y or H sound. A breathy, soft J (as in JEE-ROE) is the best we’ll do! :smiley:

The “os” ending is the singular. The plural would be “gyroi”, if I remember my greek correctly. You would only use “gyro” as the vocative, when you are addressing the sandwich: “Gyro! Slather yourself with more tzatziki!”

I think the problem with the pronounciation is that the Greek “g” is somewhere between a hard “g” and a “y” sound in English. Given that English really doesn’t have that sound, “yee-ro” and"gee-ro" are equally incorrect, or equally acceptable, depending on your point of view.

Sheesh, years of college level Greek (ancient AND modern) and I never fookin’ realized that. :smack:

I’ll add my voice to the building consensus: it’s not “gee-roe,” its’ YEE-ros, with a guttural Y, a rolling R, and a sibilant S.

That’s the way I was taught by some greek friends. The R had the tongue moving from the hard to the soft pallet quickly which made it have a “d” like sound to the “r”. (That was ten years ago so my memory might be incorrect, but that’s how I remember them telling me how to pronounce it).

Exactly. YEE-ros. YEE-ros, with an unvoiced “s” sound at the end (and that palatal “r.”) “Gyros” is like “kudos.” You don’t have one kudo, and you gon’t have one gyro. Kudos/b]. Gyros**.

Anyhow, the Kronos Gyros posters which you see in every second fast food joint in Chicago have engrained this knowledge into our brains. (The slogan is “It’s pronounced YEE-ros”.)

According to Leslie Threatte in “The World’s Writing Systems”, greek “g” is pronounced as a velar fricative (it’s sort of a softer “g” sound. This is the g sound between vowels in Spanish) in front of a, o, and u typically. In front of the front vowels e, and i, it becomes like "y’ /j/.

Y in transliterated Greek is always “ee” /i/.

So, gyros should be pronounced “yee-ros” with a trilled r (for those who know SAMPA IPA: /jiros/)

However, i’ve heard the proprietor of the mediterranean market here pronounce it with a velar fricative rather than the “y” sound. But definitely not with a hard g sound /g/. I don;t know if he’s Greek or not.

Yep, you’re being pedantic(been that, myself).

Nope, you’re incorrect in your assertion.

At least, you are until you can provide some reference other than your intuition.

Can you give me a cite(sorry :smiley: ) for the first use of the word “gyro” in the US? That’s the most important. Can you give me a cite, or any help, for when Greek “'gyros” appeared in the US?

Let me suggest that “gyro” in Greek doesn’t mean “sliced lamb with yoghurt sauce.” Does it have anything to do with the spit upon which it’s cooked?

Food for thought.

Just to confuse things, I’ve also heard gyros referred to as a type of shawarma. I guess in some cultures the two are somewhat interchangable.

Anyone that refers to it as a JY-ro gets at least a small lecture from me. Otherwise me might as well eat TAY-cos, lin-GWEEN, or maybe some goose liver PAYT. I’ll fight that kind of ignorance tooth and nail.

I had a Texan girl in one of my Spanish classes and her redneck drawl made her pronunciation atrocious! You live in Texas! Right next to (and almost part of) Mexico! Sheesh.

“Yeeros” and “doner kebab” are virtually interchangeable here in Sydney. If you want to get technical, you might be able to ask for tzatziki on the former and hommus on the latter (though often both are available), but in general it’s a flat bread roll full of processed meat, lettuce, tomato, onion and your choice of chilli, bbq, or tomato sauce. The only difference between a yeeros and a doner kebab is that the proprietor of one shop is Greek, and the other is Lebanese.

Strange things happen when cultures collide, food gets westernised etc…