24 Words People Tend to Mispronounce

If you hear someone who you know is smart mispronounce a word – especially if that person is young or otherwise inexperienced – you can bet good money they’re a reader. They’ve seen the word and they know what it means and how to use it, but not necessarily how to say it.

These 24 words are common but also commonly mispronounced, which means heck, we could all be doing it wrong!

If you want to make sure (and then be able to say it correctly, keep reading!

24. Genre (jhon-ruh)

Lots of people have a tough time with this word, but the emphasis should be on the first syllable, and the g’ is soft.

23. Niche (neesh OR nitch)

Americans like to go with the pronunciation that rhymes with “pitch,” but elsewhere in the English-speaking world, “neesh” is preferred.

Neither is wrong, but outside of America, you might get some looks.

22. Concierge (con-see-erge)

This is the person who answers your questions and gets you help at your hotel. The ‘g’ is soft!

21. Zebra (zee-bra OR zeb-ra)

Both the American and British pronunciations are correct, but since zebras are from South Africa, maybe they know best?

They say “zeb-ra.”

20. Mazel Tov (maz-ahl tove)

If you want to appropriately congratulate a Jewish friend, you’ll want to say it right – “maz-ahl tove.

The last word rhymes with “cove,” and I bet they’ll be super pleased that you took the time to learn!

19. Clique (click)

This time it’s not an “eek” ending, but just like “click.”

Simple, right?

18. Beignet (ben-yay)

The only thing better than eating these delicious, powder-sugar dusted donuts is ordering them correctly – they should be served warm, and ordered as a “ben-yay.”

Because yay.

17. Chaise Longue (chezz long)

If you want to get fancy and both buy and appropriately pronounce this piece of furniture, don’t do it like people did in the 1700s – “chays lounge” – but “chezz long.”

Feel free to stretch the ‘g’ out as long as you would like.

Just for funsies.

16. Deja vu (day-z jha vu)

This phrase, meaning “already seen” and usually used to denote that feeling like you’ve been somewhere before, is pronounced “day-zjha vu.”

No, not “view.” Sorry!

15. Amuse bouche (a-muze boosh)

This is a bite-sized appetizer that chefs use to show off their cooking skills.

It literally translates as “to entertain the mouth,” and is pronounced “a-muze boosh.”

14. Kayak (kye-yak)

It’s summer, so time to take those “kye-yaks” out on the water.

Not your “kay-yak.” I don’t know what that is.

13. Worchestershire (wus-ter-shire)

Now this one is helpful!

Both the sauce and the English town aren’t as complicated as it looks – it’s simply “wus-ter.”

12. Namaste (nuhm-uh-stay)

While most Americans pronounce this “nah-ma-stay,” the correct way is “nuhm-uh-stay.


11. Chalet (shall-ay)

If you’ve got an opportunity to run off to a French mountain cottage, you’re headed to a “shall-ay,” not a “chal-ay.”

Also, you don’t pronounce the ‘t’.

10. Provolone (pro-vo-lo-nay)

Like many Italian words, you pronounce the last letter in this one – same with calzone.

I don’t know if I can get on board with “pro-vo-lo-nay”, y’all!

9. Whet (wet)

You wet your lips, but you whet your appetite.

Don’t make this one more complicated than it is, friends.

8. Lingerie (law-jh’ree)

Most of us Americans get this one out in three syllables, but it should only be two – “law-ju’ree.”

Can it please be “law-jh’ray??”

7. Bruschetta (bru-sket-a)

If you want to use the correct pronunciation in your local Italian restaurant (or in Italy, I guess), it’s a hard ‘k’ in the middle.

Though no one in the U.S. will judge you for saying “bru-shet-a.”

6. Pho (fuh)

If you love this Vietnamese soup, make sure you’re ordering it correctly – it’s “fuh,” and you can stretch the word out a bit, too.

It definitely does not rhyme with “slow.”

5. Croissant (kwa-sahn)

Americans say “crus-saunt,” like heathens, but the proper pronunciation is “kwa-sahn.”

4. Prix Fixe (pree feeks)

This is how you talk about a free meal in French – it’s a “pree feeks.”

3. Foie Gras (fwah-grah)

This is a dish made of fattened goose liver, commonly eaten as a pate.

If that sounds like your bag, you’ll want to pronounce it “fwah grah.”

2. Escargots (es-car-go)

Snails with garlic and butter? If you say “yes, please,” the you should order the “es-car-go.”

The ‘s’ is silent, even if you’re getting more than one!

1. Frites (freet)

Steak fries in America are steak “freet” in French, but you really don’t hear the ‘t’ much at all.

We’re all just that much more educated now. Doesn’t it feel good?

What word do you hear people say wrong all the time? Share it in the comments!