Encyclopedia > List of words commonly mispronounced

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List of words commonly mispronounced

In English, many words have variant pronounciations. Often these are simply matters of taste or local habit: for example, some people pronounce castle as kas-el, others say it as kar-sel (that is, kah-sel, if you speak a rhotic dialect of English). Neither one can be considered incorrect, they are simply variants.

As a general rule, language experts regard any common pronunciation as, by definition, "correct". However there are exceptions, notably those that are clearly the result of simple ignorance, especially words that are imported into the worldwide English language from a particular area.

Please note: the list below should only include words that are both commonly pronounced in different ways, and for which there is a clear correct pronunciation which applies to all versions of English. (There is also a list of words with disputed pronunciations.)

wordmispronunciationcorrect pronunciation, notes
Antarcticaan-TAR-tika ant-ARK-tika is correct
minute (adjective)like minute (noun)my-NOOT or my-NYOOT or mi-NYOOT
mores morz correct pronunciation is MOR-AYS (both syllables equally stressed)
indict[?] in-DICT generally accepted English pronunciation: in-DYT
Moray MURR-ay when referring to the place in Scotland. Note that the "moray" in moray eel[?] has a different etymology and is pronounced mo-RAY.
pianist PEE-ann-ist pee-ANN-ist

Place names

  • Hawaii is pronounced haVA-ee by the locals
  • Melbourne (mel-BORN - but MEL-bn is correct)

See also:

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