Most Common Mispronounced Words, Names of 2021

Yes, 'omicron' is on the list
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 7, 2021 9:35 AM CST
Most Common Mispronounced Words, Names of 2021
This combination of 2021 photos shows the Philadelphia Eagles' Jason Kelce, left, and Billie Eilish in London. Their names (KELs and EYE-lish) are often mispronounced by broadcasters.   (Tim Tai/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP, Pool, Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)

“Cheugy” is apparently a lot to chew on. Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Billie Eilish and Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce have something in common—broadcasters butcher their names. And virtually everyone is iffy about "omicron." All four made it onto this year's list of most mispronounced words as compiled by the US Captioning Company, which captions and subtitles real-time events on TV and in courtrooms, per the AP. The company surveyed its members to generate the list, which was commissioned by Babbel, a language-learning platform. Esteban Touma, a comedian and teacher for Babbel Live, breaks down the proper pronunciations for some of the words:

  • Cheugy (CHOO-gee): A trendy term popularized by Gen Z and used to mock an outdated and unfashionable aesthetic typically associated with millennials, such as "Live, Laugh, Love" signs.
  • Dalgona (tal-goh-NAH): A Korean treat made with melted sugar and baking soda, popularized in Netflix's Squid Game. Touma notes that some speakers seem to produce a "K" instead of the "G" in the middle syllable.
  • Dogecoin (DOHJ-coin): A divisive cryptocurrency that began somewhat ironically before being popularized by Elon Musk, causing its value to dramatically increase.
  • Eilish (EYE-lish): The singer Billie Eilish.
  • Ethereum (ih-THEE-ree-um): Another cryptocurrency that skyrocketed in value this year amid the decentralized-currency boom.
  • Kelce (KELs): The Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce revealed on radio this year that his teammates and the media had been mispronouncing his name for years.
  • Omicron (AH-muh-kraan/OH-mee-kraan): The newly named COVID variant. The New York Times separately weighed in on this one: "In the United States, it is often pronounced 'AH-muh-kraan,' Merriam-Webster says. Less common are 'OH-mee-kraan,' as Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain pronounced it, or 'OH-my-kraan.'"
  • Shein (SHEE-in): The Chinese fast fashion company at the center of the "Shein haul" trend, in which participants record themselves trying on numerous different outfits from the company.
  • Stefanos Tsitsipas (STEH-fuh-nohs TSEE-tsee-pas): Currently ranked as the world's No. 4 tennis player, the Greek athlete rose to international prominence when he lost to Novak Djokovic in the final of the French Open in June.
  • Yassify (YEAH-sih-fai): A popular trend in which multiple beauty filters are applied to well-known pictures or portraits for comic effect.
(More words stories.)

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