Is that how it's spelled?

In memory of the great Jimmy Durante: What a catastrophe!

Annihilate (You can argue that it’s spelled as it sounds, but to me it’s only “obvious” after you already know the pronunciation)
Colonel, of course


queue - pronouced “q” but looks as if it’s pronouced “kway-way.” Personally I think it’s just cheating at Scrabble.

Yeah, it is kinda unsettling when you realize that Jed, Granny and them were not only using a $12 word, but pronouncing it correctly as well!

I’m going to have hors d’oeuvers on Wednesday with Favre.

From the OP: segue. I always thought it was ‘suh-goo’, and that there was another word ‘segway’ (well … there is, I guess). I only found this out quite recently. Also, for the longest time I thought faucet is spelled fosset*. Oh, and gaol. I always get a kick out of that one. ‘He, look, someone misspelled goal’ :smiley:

* gives at least one instance in which it is spelled like that, but it’s from 1913 so I guess that faucet is the way to go.


Quay. I was in Sydney, Australia and was given written directions to meet someone at the quay. I mispronounced it several times asking for directions before some kind soul clued me in. With my Midwestern upbringing, it just hadn’t come up.

Facade. My sister-in-law once mispronounced this ‘fah-kade’ at least three times in a single conversation; she’s very image-conscious and it sounded like she was trying out this new fancy word to impress us.


English is tough stuff!!!


That makes two of us!! Thanks everyone for some superb examples to add to my list of common words whose spellings and pronunciations are at odds. I particularly like suede, colonel, boatswain, and gunswale. I had to check a dictionary for the last two. And I never knew the alternate pronunciation of waistcoat! Consider ignorance fought.

me (I would say “meh”)
I (“ih”)

We ask that you don’t post entire copyrighted works on the SDMB – especially when someone else already posted a link to it earlier in the thread.

I’ve removed most of the lyrics from your post, and placed the link in the edit notes.

I don’t understand. That’s pronounced exactly as it is spelled–except that the o is a schwa, but pronouncing vowels as schwas near the end of a word is VERY common in English.

A great many people pronounce it SPIC-it. I grew up calling it that.


A friend of mine thought “Au Fait” was spelled “Ofé”

And for that matter, sergeant. And lieutenant in British English. Unless he is the guy who watches over the toilet until you need it.

Most of these words are loans of non-English words, and the spelling is entirely consistent with the pronunciation in the original language.

The majority are French, most of the rest are Greek, and a very basic understanding of how those languages pronounce words makes almost every word in this thread easy to understand/pronounce.