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What’s in a word? A lot, it turns out. Language is a beautiful thing, but sometimes, the mispronunciation of certain words can be like nails on a chalkboard. You know the feeling – that involuntary shiver down your spine when someone gets it oh-so-wrong. So, what are these lexical landmines that can make even the most composed of us wince?
Niche (neesh or nitch?)
Pronounced “neesh,” not “nitch,” this word refers to a specialized and specific area of interest. Mispronouncing it can turn a sophisticated discussion into a cringeworthy moment of linguistic confusion.
Espresso (eXpresso or es-presso?)
It’s “es-presso,” not “eXpresso.” This coffee term shouldn’t be confused with an extra-strong pronunciation. Saying it incorrectly might get you extra strong looks of disapproval from coffee aficionados.
Library (lie-berry or li-bray?)
Despite the temptation to insert an “r,” it’s “lie-bra-ree.” Saying “li-bray” instead of the correct “lie-bra-ree” is like adding an extra part to the story of how the word developed over time.
Nuclear (nook-yuh-lar or new-cue-lar?)
The correct pronunciation is “new-clee-ar.” Saying “nook-yuh-lar” might conjure images of quaint nuclear-powered reading nooks, which, while interesting, isn’t quite right.
Supposedly (supposably or supposedly?)
It’s “sup-po-zed-ly,” not “sup-posa-bly.” While the latter might sound more cozy, using the correct pronunciation prevents raising eyebrows over your word choice.
Mischievous (miss-chee-vee-us or mis-chuh-vus?)
It’s “miss-chee-vus,” not “mis-chuh-vus.” The latter sounds like an overused sneeze, which isn’t quite the charm the word intends.
Chipotle (chi-polt-ay or chip-ol-tay?)
“Chi-pot-lay” is the way to go, not “chip-ol-tay.” Saying it wrong might get you a burrito, but it won’t get you in the good graces of Mexican cuisine enthusiasts.
Prescription (per-scrip-tion or pre-scrip-tion?)
It’s “pri-skrip-shun,” not “per-scrip-tion.” The latter sounds like you’re describing something that happens before writing, not medication.
Ask (aks or ask?)
It’s “ask,” not “aks.” While “aks” might seem more laid-back, the correct pronunciation doesn’t require any additional explanation.
Sherbet (sher-bert or sher-bit?)
It’s “sher-bit,” not “sher-bert.” Adding an extra “r” in there might create a frosty dessert hybrid that doesn’t exist.
Specific (spe-ci-fic or pacific?)
The pronunciation is “spe-sif-ik,” not “pa-sif-ik.” While it might be nice to imagine that the Pacific Ocean has a way of narrowing things down, that’s not what this word means.
Jewelry (jew-el-ree or jew-ree?)
It’s “jew-el-ree,” not “jew-ree.” Dropping the “el” might save you some time, but it won’t win you any linguistic accolades.
Realtor (reel-a-tor or real-a-tor?)
Pronounced “real-ter,” not “reel-a-tor.” Saying it the latter way might sound like you’re trying to sell someone a cinematic experience.
Prescription (pro-bly or pre-bly?)
It’s “prob-a-bly,” not “pre-bly.” Skipping the “a” might make the word easier to say, but it won’t do wonders for your enunciation.
Height (hite or height?)
The correct pronunciation is “hite,” not “height.” Adding the “h” at the end can make you sound like you’re discussing mountain peaks.
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