Recent editions of Webster’s Dictionary and the Oxford English Dictionary have each had almost half a million words. While most of us use only a few hundred in everyday speech, we often encounter unfamiliar words, and even if we can figure out what they mean, we might not be sure how to pronounce them.
Of course we like to get things right, including pronunciation, and certainly don’t want to be perceived as ignorant or out of touch. (Here are 50 words people get wrong all the time.)
24/7 Tempo has compiled a list of America’s most mispronounced words of 2021. Most of them aren’t so much words as names that have been in the news, including some that might have been unknown one day and everywhere the next, and others that have become staples of pop culture, including musical acts and even a song. (Here are 30 words that didn’t exist 30 years ago.)
Among the musical acts are Billie Eilish, who has been a major star for a while now, and Måneskin, the Italian glam rock band that suddenly seems to be everywhere. There are also sports stars on the list. Giorgio Chiellini is an Italian footballer and Stefanos Tsitsipas is a Greek tennis player.
There are some words that were briefly in the news and that will probably soon be forgotten. For example, Ever Given was the name of the container ship that blocked the Suez Canal in March and has hardly been heard of since. The Scottish city of Glasgow got attention for hosting the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference. It hasn’t been in the news since then, although climate change unfortunately hasn’t gone away.
Unfortunately, our list also includes omicron, the latest variant of COVID-19, and we can’t wait for that to be forgotten.