Words that make you cringe when people pronounce the whole thing!

Hi SD,

It bothers me when people say often as “off-ten” or forward as “fore-ward”. It’s always been “offin” and “fo’word” for me. What are some others, that when people pronounce the whole damn word, you cringe? They make you sound pretentious!

Is there a name for words like this?


Wed nes day

And my long-ago elementary teacher would have told you that “offin” was a lazy pronunciation marking one as uneducated. Different strokes for different folks, and certainly many dialects don’t pronounce words the same way.

In fact, the ‘t’ is in that word’s spelling because the original pronunciation included it. At some point, it disappeared from Standard English, but it survived in some dialects (or was revived) and most modern dictionaries say both pronunciations are equally acceptable.

The example I though of from the OP’s title was “perquisite” when almost everyone shortens it to “perk” to such a degree that we’ve virtually forgotten that there was an original longer version of the word. But when I’m writing I feel like it ought to be abbreviated “perq,” which looks wrong… so especially in written communication I avoid the word altogether in every form.

That’s not exactly the same kind of example as the main body of the post, though.

Mine’s the opposite. I make my other half cringe when I say “forrid” instead of “forehead”. Growing up with the dueling pronunciations, my daughter took to saying “forehorrid” at one point.

:eek: If I ever meet you, I hope we NEVER discuss anyone’s brow-to-hairline area.

I’ve been messing around with Edward Gibbon recently, and my favorite word this week is “ambuscade”, which has replaced “ambush” in my vocabulary. So, yet another thing that makes me sound like a twit.

During the Jeopardy tournament of college scholars answering high school questions, Trebek took pains to always say “sophomore” as SOFF-oh-more, with an over-enunciated precision that sounded pretentious to me. As usual, in his case.

I recall that the cast of Firefly gave Sean Maher a hard time because he would enunciate the ‘p’ in “ship”, so that it was almost two syllables. Therefore, that is how I have pronounced it ever since. I get a lot of funny looks sometimes.

There should be a t pronounced in often and an r pronounced in *forward *although neither should receive emphasis.

The w in sword should be silent.


AT our meeting, I intend to discuss that facial region EXCLUSIVELY and shall be investing several weeks beforehand into researching the history of the forehead, its social, physiological and medical significance, and I shall work on developing extensive free-form verse about it.





There could be regional pronunciations, of course.

In Texas, they might look at you funny if you fully pronounced “barbed wire”.
To them, it’s just “bahr-wahr”.

And we all know that “double-you” is “dubya”.


Let me guess:

How many get peeved when someone actually pronounces:


(Mother was “English Teacher Fromm Hell”; I dread hearing ‘vetinary’ and "tempsure’. Hicks, every last one of 'em.


I get parliament, and vegetables, but how do YOU pronounce opening and penguin? And what words are joffrey and selltics? Never heard of them.