When we were young, we made the common mistake of pronouncing a word before we'd actually heard it -- which is why we're very thankful that someone eventually took us aside to inform us that "epitome" doesn't actually rhyme with "metronome." And since we live in the age of the neologism, there are more new words to mangle than ever.

So, it's with great humility that we present to you a list of words we reeeeeeeeally wish everybody would quit mispronouncing. You can click on each to hear audio of how it's actually supposed to sound in English (even if that isn't its actual language). Feel free to email it anonymously to that loved one who pronounces "Qatar" like it's something Sammy Hagar might play.

Chipotle

It's a pepper, it's a mayonnaise flavoring, it's a restaurant chain beloved by both soccer moms and MMORPG players alike. And it's NOT pronounced "chip-ole-tee." It's chee-POHT-lay.

Sudoku

This is phonetic, but people must be intimidated by the vowels. It's soo-DOE-koo.

Açaí
You probably see this berry/alleged miracle juice advertised at your Whole Foods or in shady Internet ads. Just like in French or Spanish, the "squiggly C" cedilla indicates that it's soft. It's also three syllables: ah-sah-EE.

Espresso
"Express" is a type of train or a store for women (and slightly girlish men). There is no "ex" in ess-PRESS-o.

Meme

This originally meant a concept that spreads within a culture, and now it refers to viral internet phenomena like Sad Keanu and Keyboard Cat, and accordingly, "meme" rhymes with "team."

Segue

Just like Gob Bluth's beloved whip, this verb (which means "to make a transition from one thing to another smoothly and without interruption") is pronounced SEG-way.
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Asterisk
The last syllable of this punctuation term should sound like the board game about war, not multiple people named Rick. It's ASS-ter-isk.

Hermès

If you're referring to the clothing label (and not the Greek god), it's pronounced in the French way: air-MEZ.

Nguyen

This common Vietnamese last name is one of the Internet's most popular "how do I pronounce" searches. We'll save you a click: it's nuhWEN.

Gyro
OK, sure, a lot of people use the Americanization -- but you don't pronounce the L in "quesadilla." It's time to stop pronouncing the G. It's YEER-oh.

Siobhan
This Irish girl's name only looks hard to say. It's she-VAHN.

Qatar
Welcome back! This commonly mangled Arab country is pronounced like the name of your favorite Gabe Kaplan hero: KAH-tur.

Be sure to leave the mispronunciations that drive you batcrackers in the comments.


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