Words We’ve Been Pronouncing Wrong For Most Our Lives
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Prepare to have your mind blown! Trust me, mine was when I found out the list of words that I’ve probably been mispronouncing my whole life….Like did you know the word triathlon only has three syllables…not four as I have thought my whole life…here’s more:
The building blocks of communication are words, so the way they are pronounced matters. Whether it’s to indicate your level of education or talent with language, you want to know how to speak and write correctly.
Here are a number of words you’ve probably been saying wrong your whole life. Time to sharpen up.
You thought this one has four syllables when it really has only three. It’s not “mis-CHEEV-ee-us”–it’s just “MIS-chiv-us.”
While most people say “mawve,” the correct pronunciation is actually “moave”–as in, rhymes with “grove.”
There is no “x” in espresso. Period. Be particularly careful not to say “expresso” if you do any business with Europeans.
What you thought was “kill-OM-it-er” is actually “kill-o-MEET-er.” You pronounce “meter” like this: “MEET-er.” The same goes for kilometer.
If you’re anything like me, this one will blow your mind. It’s not “PER-aw-gah-tiv,” as so aptly captured by Britney Spears. It’s “PRE-rog-ah-tiv,” like precognition.
While “supposably” is a word, it doesn’t mean what you think it does. In fact, Dictionary.com has devoted a blog post to the distinction between supposably and supposedly. The fact is, most people who use supposably really mean supposedly, and it should be pronounced as such.
Despite George W. Bush’s efforts to normalize the pronunciation “noo-CUL-ur,” the correct pronunciation is and will forever remain “noo-KLEE-ur.”
This one you really want to get right, because it can, in fact, make you look ignorant if you get it wrong. There’s no “x” at the end of this word–it’s true to its “k.” Thus, the correct pronunciation is “ASS-ter-ISK” — not “ASS-ter-IX.”
Chances are, your science teacher got it wrong, but your Latin teacher got it right, since Latin is where it comes from. It’s not “LAR-vay.” It’s “LAR-vee” (rhymes with Humvee).
Most of us add a syllable that isn’t there, pronouncing it “tri-AHT-a-LON.” It’s actually just “tri-ATH-lon.”
This time we tend to cut out a syllable that’s actually there. It should be “JEW-ell-ree,” not “JEWL-ree.”
The correct pronunciation here is going to sound crazy, but it’s true: It’s not “zoo-OLL-oh-gee.” It’s just “ZOO-loh-gee” (rhymes with “eulogy”).
In English, there are many words that contain silent letters. This is one. It’s supposed to be “OFF-en.” The “t” is completely silent.
You’ve probably been adding an “r” here since you were able to swallow sherbet. It’s not “sHUR-burt.” It’s “SHUR-bet.” When said correctly, it rhymes with “curb it.”
While commonly mispronounced “nitch,” this word comes from the French word nicher, which means to nest. Accordingly, the correct pronunciation is “neesh.”
It turns out we’ve all been calling the Boston Celtics by the wrong name. Incorrect: “SELL-tick.” Correct: “KELL-tick.”
The word itself means “trickery” or “deception,” and its pronunciation is obligingly tricky. You thought it was “shi-CAN-nuh-REE.” It’s actually “shi-KAY-nuh-ree.”
That delightful Italian dish of grilled bread with garlic, olive oil, and tomatoes actually takes a hard “r.” This is because in Italian, “sch” comes only before “e” or “i,” and is always pronounced like the English “sk.” Thus, it’s not “broo-SHET-ah,” it’s “broo-SKET-ah.”
The technically correct way to say this sounds so wrong that it may not be worth doing. The word, which refers to one’s strong point, is actually pronounced “fort,” not the commonly used “for-TAY.”
When you say “liability,” you probably include all the right syllables. The same goes for the adjective form of it: It’s pronounced “li-AH-bull,” not “LIE-bull.”
Let’s just settle this debate once and for all: The actual inventor of the GIF says it’s pronounced “jif.” Don’t believe it? Watch him make the determination himself (skip ahead to 0:53 if you’re short on time).
It is, of course, your prerogative to mispronounce any word you choose. Just don’t get mischievous and hold me liable.
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