Most Mispronounced Words in English

atkins bookshelf wordsWith more than one million words, there are a lot of words to know. Even though the average English speaker knows about 50,000 words, there are dozens that pose a challenge in terms of pronunciation. Reading a word and pronouncing the word out loud, in conversation, is another thing. Pronunciation is a skill, and like any other skill, practice makes perfect. If you use a word for the first time and mangle it, do not despair. Take pride that you are expanding your vocabulary and take comfort that plenty of other people on the planet (7.4 billion as of this writing; of those, 1.5 billion speak English; of those, 375 million are native speakers) who have mispronounced the same word. Besides, with almost half a million English speakers, one (or more) will take great pleasure in correcting you.

In August 2016, the editors of, published their list of the 30 most mispronounced words in the English language. The list was compiled based on the number of times site visitors clicked on the pronunciation of a word they looked up. Here’s your chance to learn the correct pronunciation of some words that you’ve been using for years.

1. affidavit [af-i-dey-vit]
2. almond [ah-muh nd, am-uh nd] [note that al-muh nd is acceptable American English pronunciation]
3. beget [bih-get]
4. cache [kash]
5. caramel [kar-uh-muh l, -mel, kahr-muh l]
6. coupon [koo-pon, kyoo-]
7. croissant [French krwah-sahn; English kruh-sahnt]
8. epitome [ih-pit-uh-mee]
9. espresso [e-spres-oh]
10. et cetera [et set-er-uh, se-truh]
11. façade [fuh-sahd, fa-]
12. fiery [fahyuh r-ee, fahy-uh-ree]
13. genre [zhahn-ruh; French zhahn-ruh]
14. haute [oht]
15. hyperbole [hahy-pur-buh-lee]
16. lambaste [lam-beyst, -bast]
17. mauve [mohv]
18. mischievous [mis-chuh-vuh s]
19. niche [nich]
20. peony [pee-uh-nee]
21. prerogative [pri-rog-uh-tiv, puh-rog-]
22. quinoa [keen-wah, kee-noh-uh]
23. reservoir [rez-er-vwahr, -vwawr, -vawr, rez-uh-]
24. salmon [sam-uh n]
25. sherbet [shur-bit]
26. turmeric [tur-mer-ik]
27. verbiage [vur-bee-ij]
28. Weimaraner [vahy-muh-rah-ner, wahy-, wahy-muh-rey-]
29. whet [hwet, wet]
30. Worcestershire [woo s-ter-sheer, -sher]

Read related posts: How Long Does it Take to Read a Million Words?
How Many Words in the English Language?
How Many Words Does the Average Person Speak in a Lifetime?
The Most Mispronounced Words
Common Latin Abbreviations
Words Invented by Dickens


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