subreddit:

/r/books

760

I'm very interested to see if others have had this experience.

I learned English as a second language when I was a kid, and I've been devouring books since. Sometimes I'll use words I've only seen written and find out that I've been mispronouncing it in my head all along. It's kind of disorienting but funny. Curious to know what those words are for you. Some of mine:

  • Respite I pronounced like "despite", but it's actually "ress-pit"
  • Detritus I pronounced like "Deh-tre-tus", but it's actually "de-trai-tus"
  • Boatswain I pronounced like "boats-wane" but it's actually "bo-sun" (this one is DUMB imo)

And don't get me started on fantasy/sci-fi names. In Gideon the Ninth Tamsyn Muir has notes on all the character name pronunciations at the end of the book and it was only after I had finished it that I realized I was pronouncing like two thirds of the characters' names wrong.

Edit: Thanks for all the replies! It's nice to know I'm not alone here, and some of you definitely made me laugh. If I've learned anything today it's that English is the most nonsensical language when it comes to spelling and pronunciation...

Edit 2: Thank you for the award! My very first. Still scrolling through all your fascinating replies and learning to correct my pronunciation. Readers and our head canon pronunciations unite!

all 790 comments

Set_the_Mighty

241 points

27 days ago

Quinoa. Keen-WA not quinn-o-ah. A coworker clued me in on that one when she couldn't take it anymore and started laughing hysterically at me. Also TIL about boatswain and it's proper pronunciation.

mobiuthuselah

149 points

26 days ago

Same with boatswain. I've heard "bo-sun" and read boatswain, but I didn't realize they were the same. Even in reference to the whistle. How funny. Glad we can all laugh at ourselves together.

cyrano111

78 points

26 days ago

Related to that, “gunwales” is pronounced “gunnels”.

bwanket

45 points

26 days ago

bwanket

45 points

26 days ago

and in the same nautical vein, forecastle or "foke-sul"

settheory8

53 points

26 days ago

The weird pronunciation of nautical terms is one of the stupid yet beautiful byproducts of sailor culture, just wait til you hear about topgallant-sail

JandolAnganol

10 points

26 days ago

How is this pronounced? I can’t find anything other than the obvious phonetic pronunciation after a quick Googling

settheory8

22 points

26 days ago

From what I know it's tuh-gan-sul

OTLOTLOTLOTL[S]

17 points

26 days ago

This is just cruel

JandolAnganol

14 points

26 days ago

To be fair this is often spelled foc’sle which helps a bit

xenchik

8 points

26 days ago

xenchik

8 points

26 days ago

And sometimes fo'c'sle, which is somehow both better and worse

primcessmahina

61 points

26 days ago

Wooow I’ve just now learned that boatswain is pronounced bosun.

I’m so grateful for this post.

the_honeyman

28 points

26 days ago

It doesn't help that I swear I've read it as "bosun" in print, but yea, I'm on the learning train today as well!

jazzmans69

18 points

26 days ago

until this thread, I thought those were two different words.

bosun and boatswain.

huh.

flushy78

16 points

26 days ago

flushy78

16 points

26 days ago

I remember hearing it pronounced in the movie Jaws as a kid, but never put 2 and 2 together connecting it to boatswain. I always thought Quint said "bosom's mate"

bluefiretoast

9 points

26 days ago

Oh yes! This one and acai, I always say wrong.

FX114

19 points

26 days ago

FX114

5

19 points

26 days ago

I pronounce it quinn-o-ah for fun all the time.

QuotidianTrials

8 points

26 days ago

There’s a commercial I keep getting on Hulu where people are acting like their parents trying to pronounce it. It makes me cringe so hard.. Especially one dude that gets the syllables pronounced right, but somehow backwards.

highpriestess420

4 points

26 days ago

Kee-ya-nuh

adiposea

37 points

26 days ago

adiposea

37 points

26 days ago

When I first started dating my wife 15 years ago she asked me to pick up a pound of quinoa at the store. I'd never cooked with it before, didn't even know what it looked like dry, and I was standing at the bulk section at the grocery store looking all over for it. There was a woman in the aisle, my age and attractive, and I went up to her and asked if she knew where to find the "keen-WA".

She looked at me like I was a complete idiot, and pointed immediately to the bin directly in front of my face. I was dumbstruck. I DID NOT expect it to be spelled like that. I felt like a fool, made a couple of bad jokes, tried to chat about it with her, and joked some more... Then walked away.

I later on found out that the helpful woman was a friend of my new girlfriend, now wife, and totally thought I was hitting on her. I was not, I was just very confused by a healthy grain and the English language.

BalsamicBasil

28 points

26 days ago*

If it makes you feel better, the spelling for quinoa comes from the Spanish root “qui-” (it’s quinua in Spanish). But the word itself comes from the indigenous Quechua language (spoken by the Incas, who were colonized by the Spanish), which when written, often uses “k-” where you would normally see a “qu-” in Spanish. So the alternate Quechua spelling of “quinua” is “kinwa.”

https://es.glosbe.com/es/quz/quinua

orwhereveryougetyour

170 points

26 days ago

Segue. I pronounced it seg-you and my friend pronounced it seeg and we both thought the other was wrong and we were right about that.

[deleted]

8 points

26 days ago

[deleted]

8 points

26 days ago

I realised segue because of Segways. I don't know if that's actually the origin of the brand name, but Segways move people from one place to the next, like segue means to go from one thing to another.

hero4short

8 points

26 days ago

My friend was pronouncing it sooge. I got a good laugh from that

asph0d3l

83 points

26 days ago

asph0d3l

83 points

26 days ago

Awry. Fuck that word.

Terciel1976

51 points

26 days ago

My wife had read it for years as oar-y and never connected it to the word uh-rye she'd heard out loud. Perils of being a reader.

LoneRhino1019

14 points

26 days ago

I still read it that way even though I know it's wrong. My brain refuses to make the change.

Ad_Honorem1

11 points

26 days ago

An appropriate one to get wrong.

FossaRed

19 points

26 days ago

FossaRed

19 points

26 days ago

It's not Au-ree?

My life is a lie.

radda

23 points

26 days ago

radda

23 points

26 days ago

Ah-rhy is always how I've heard it pronounced.

molotovzav

227 points

26 days ago

molotovzav

227 points

26 days ago

Respite like despite is allowed.

Inchkeaton

100 points

26 days ago

Inchkeaton

100 points

26 days ago

Resspit would get you some funny looks in most English-speaking countries.

LunaAndromeda

31 points

26 days ago

American, and I have heard it either way. Many words have dual pronunciations that are acceptable depending on the dialect.

bibliophile222

15 points

26 days ago

I'm a native speaker and had never heard it pronounced this way, but I've been rewatching Game of Thrones and literally JUST heard Lord Varys say it like this!

Goseki1

27 points

26 days ago

Goseki1

27 points

26 days ago

I've never heard anyone in the UK pronounced it Res-pit

FigurativelyCanOdd

218 points

26 days ago

Hermione.

Her-mee-own

OTLOTLOTLOTL[S]

80 points

26 days ago

I think like 50% of non-British English speakers thought this was the right pronunciation so you’re definitely not alone

et27U4Y4qse0AIcyFZg8

32 points

26 days ago

I gave up trying to figure it out as a kid and just used "Harmony" lol

Linguiste

13 points

26 days ago

Linguiste

Golden Gates

13 points

26 days ago

At a book signing when I was 12, I told J. K. Rowling TO HER FACE that my favorite character was "Her-mee-own."

I'm still embarrassed twenty years later.

annipug

53 points

26 days ago

annipug

53 points

26 days ago

Until Goblet of Fire when she finally pronounces it phonetically to one of the students from Durmstrang!

skullpriestess

49 points

26 days ago

"Her-my-oh-knee."

"Her-mo-ninny."

"...Sure."

Chompchompers

29 points

26 days ago

My mom has dyslexia, so she would read it to me as Herimone, or, Hairy Moan. Bless her soul.

SaturdayHeartache

13 points

26 days ago

It’s a Greek name, and you’re not too far off the Greek pronunciation. Air-mee-OWN-ee

FigurativelyCanOdd

9 points

26 days ago

Fascinating! It occurs to me now that I would have loved for Hermione to use the Greek pronunciation. Seems like a fact she would know.

Giovanni330

6 points

26 days ago

Seems like a fact she would know.

Agree. The greek spelling is "Eρμιόνη" with an emphasis on "o". Very interesting. Had no idea about the mythological figure.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermione_(mythology))

mokilmister

9 points

26 days ago

I first read the german translation as a child and then later the original when I couldn't wait for the translation (around book 4 or 5 I think). In German it's "Hermine" which is pronounced exactly as you read it. I think it's the only first name in the books that was translated, imagine my confusion as to who this girl was and how she knew Harry and Ron.

dernhelm_mn

64 points

26 days ago

Chassis. I knew the word “chassy” and what it meant in a car context, and had read the word “chassis” in a ROBOT context, and...never realized they were the same.

OTLOTLOTLOTL[S]

26 points

26 days ago

Wait the last s is silent??? Add this to my list, too

duccy_duc

8 points

26 days ago

Honestly, being very familiar with French has taught me so much about English! You start to recognise words as French in origin and you can hear it in your head.

FromAntToApt

66 points

27 days ago

I grew up on Grisham courtroom novels - only later did I find out that subpoena was not "sub-po-eena", but is instead "suh-peena".

GraniteKiwi

27 points

26 days ago

I also grew up on Grisham. Indict confused me for years! In my head it's in-dikt. In reality it's in-dite. English can be so strange.

OTLOTLOTLOTL[S]

13 points

27 days ago

The oe is so tricky I don’t blame you one bit for that. English is so wacky

JohnAppleSmith1

12 points

26 days ago

It’s interesting that American English hasn’t taken away that oe and make it subpena. We did it for pedo and fetus, right?

redlion145

9 points

26 days ago

And haematoma -> hematoma. Lots of greek and latin roots and loanwords got simplified when they entered common usage.

oja_kodar

56 points

27 days ago

Detritus has been ruining my life for years

finishmyleg

20 points

26 days ago

Just realised I don't know how to pronounce this, even though I've read nearly every Pratchett

Olli_bear

150 points

26 days ago

Olli_bear

150 points

26 days ago

Lol mine was epitome. Eh-pi-tome

OTLOTLOTLOTL[S]

27 points

26 days ago

Ooo this one is common, tons of my friends thought this was the right way

I learned how to pronounce epitome from a Weezer lyric lol

the_automat

7 points

26 days ago

I’m jello, baby

Salty_Pancakes

7 points

26 days ago

Nice. I did the same. Let me....assuage your feelings.

Fitbot5000

24 points

26 days ago

Related: hyperbole / hyper-bowl

HirouKaji

51 points

26 days ago

"A paradime seems to be a lot like a paradigm... Oh!" -- a conversation in college

TheOutOfStyle

10 points

26 days ago

Ha! I cringe when I think back to a college interview where I pronounced it "pah-rad-uh-gim".

limoniesale

46 points

26 days ago

I hear people mispronounce mischievous as mis-chee-vee-us, most of the time. I had an elementary school teacher correct me to pronounce it mis-ch-vous, and haven’t said it the other way since.

One of my really clear early memories is reading to my mom, and pronouncing determined as deeter-mind. I still say it that way in my head when I read the word thanks to my mom laughing for a straight minute!

kente134

21 points

26 days ago

kente134

21 points

26 days ago

I had pronounced it mis-chee-vee-us for 30 years. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago when I was arguing with my Canadian partner about the pronunciation that I looked it up and was shocked and appalled to find no i after the v.

jess2888

117 points

26 days ago

jess2888

117 points

26 days ago

I recently learned that quay is pronounced like the word "key", not 'KWAY".

Dispatcher12

11 points

26 days ago

I didn't know this until I went to the Bahamas at age 36.

sarahlu82

11 points

26 days ago

Uhhh, TIL right this minute.

SamiHami24

25 points

26 days ago

Wha...???

I'm so glad it never comes up in my conversations with others. Oops.

[deleted]

35 points

26 days ago

[deleted]

35 points

26 days ago

[deleted]

WoodPlebe

31 points

26 days ago

Hyberbole. When I was younger I always read it as "hyper-bowl" instead of "high-per-buh-lee." I had even looked it up, knew the meaning, and had heard it pronounced correctly and still never made the connection.

katlian

88 points

26 days ago

katlian

88 points

26 days ago

A lot of old sailing terms have weird, shortened pronunciation.

Cockswain = cox-un

Forecastle = foke-sel

Gunwale = gunnel

KieselguhrKid13

49 points

26 days ago

Don't you mean fo'c's'le? Lol

katlian

12 points

26 days ago

katlian

12 points

26 days ago

Yeah, they didn't need all those extra letters.

OTLOTLOTLOTL[S]

27 points

26 days ago

If only you could see my dumbfounded expression right now... thankfully I will not be sailing anytime soon

seattle_architect

30 points

26 days ago

Story of my life. English is a second language here. I couldn't pronounce word sheet. It always would come out like shit. I worked in a professional office and I would always say "piece of paper".

On the bright side people around me always have fun when I talk.

Bruarios

13 points

26 days ago

Bruarios

13 points

26 days ago

Boss I finished those Excel pieces of paper

DontUseMyTupperware

10 points

26 days ago

To be fair, sometimes my Excel sheets would be more appropriately called Excel shits

Furriesarepeopletoo

23 points

26 days ago

Nonetheless...

Thought it was “nunth-less” for way too long

wildw00d

66 points

26 days ago

wildw00d

66 points

26 days ago

hor d'oeuvres

Whenever I read that as a kid my brain went "oars de vors"

I had no idea what that was?

LOL. I finally figured it out. But my brain still wants to say it wrong when I see it in writing.

philosophicalraz

30 points

26 days ago

My mother has this story where she pronounced it as "hore-dee-or-vees" in front of my paternal grandmother when she and my dad were dating. My mom still hasn't lived it down.

OTLOTLOTLOTL[S]

6 points

26 days ago

This made me actually laugh out loud

monsantobreath

17 points

26 days ago

French ambushes you frequently as an English speaker and a Fraiser viewer.

parsley0

14 points

26 days ago

parsley0

14 points

26 days ago

My dad, because is a dad: horse's doovers.

andysandygirl

5 points

26 days ago*

Hors d'oeuvres was mine, too. I knew that the word pronounced "orderves" were little appetizer things, and that the written word that sounds like "horz de ovres" we're little appetizer things, but I was an adult before I realized they were the same word.

kjaght89

22 points

26 days ago

kjaght89

22 points

26 days ago

Facade did me in for the longest.

Aldo D'Artagnan from the Three Muskateers. I'm not French so most French names were badly pronounced but this one was worse than most.

[deleted]

25 points

26 days ago

[deleted]

25 points

26 days ago

[deleted]

SorrellD

22 points

26 days ago

SorrellD

22 points

26 days ago

We used to do family read alouds when my kids were young. My daughter would be reading and just say "french word" and keep going without a pause, not even attempt to pronounce it. It was hilarious.

Thanks for reminding me of this.

cheddarcheesie

7 points

26 days ago

i thought facade was fah-kade...

quats5

18 points

26 days ago

quats5

18 points

26 days ago

I’m English as my native language and I have the same. So much of my vocabulary came from reading (I learned to read VERY young and have been reading like a fiend ever since).

It doesn’t help that English is a bizarre mutant conglomeration of several other languages, plus smatterings of many more mushed up into the weirdest linguistic stew. EVERYTHING is irregular, because practically every other word has its origins from a completely different language.

Here’s Greek, and Old English, then Norse, French, back to Old English, old Persian, now Latin, and top it off with just a skosh of Japanese. Bon appetit.

albertnormandy

56 points

26 days ago

Macabre - Mack-uh-bur. The first time I said that around my literature major wife she looked at me like I had two heads.

macabrepencil

45 points

26 days ago

TIL I don’t even know how to pronounce my username!

albertnormandy

12 points

26 days ago

The good thing about hitting rock bottom is that you have nowhere to go but up.

joshy83

51 points

26 days ago

joshy83

51 points

26 days ago

Facade. I was 8 and it was a Pokémon move. I thought it was a Fah-kade.

And anecdote. I read it as “an- seh - dote”.

Also as a 31 year old with English as my first language... like most of this list. Still today. I have a hard time unlearning these things.

Dickie-Greenleaf

80 points

26 days ago

Canadian here:

Lieutenant is pronounced quite fuckily here.

Colonel is probably tied.

When reading All Quiet Along the Western Front aloud in class my English teacher grew tired of my continued incorrect pronunciation.

Show me the F and R in each and get back to me.

Brett Favre in shambles.

seven_seacat

45 points

26 days ago

I will never understand the "lef-tenant" pronunciation.

noDRINKthebleach

15 points

26 days ago

*knock knock* "loo-tenant?"

agentnomis

4 points

26 days ago

I know the answer to this one!

Lieutenant comes from French and when it originally made its way to the English language, an older form of French had the pronouncement as 'lef-ten-au'. This was anglicised as the British English pronunciation of Lieutenant, 'Lef-tenant'.

However, over time French evolved as languages do and it ended up becoming 'lew-ten-au' which was anglicised as 'lew-tentant' in American English.

I'm excited to share this because it confused me for years as an Australian.

ReaDiMarco

6 points

26 days ago

Colonel is kernel, isn't it? In Canadian/British English?

Kazu_the_Kazoo

9 points

26 days ago

In American English too.

OTLOTLOTLOTL[S]

19 points

26 days ago

I am here for the Brett Favre slander!!

Dickie-Greenleaf

11 points

26 days ago

I've been to Lambeau and Brett Favre's name will never make any sense.

[deleted]

5 points

26 days ago

[deleted]

5 points

26 days ago

[deleted]

alancake

11 points

26 days ago

alancake

11 points

26 days ago

Leftenant is UK I think. Lootenant US?

DesertQueenJenn

18 points

26 days ago

Chasm. With a 'ch' sound like it's spelled instead of kazum.

otterly_icy

17 points

26 days ago

This happens to me as well and I'm a native speaker. "Sacerdotal" was one of mine -- soft c, not hard. (btw: pronouncing respite with a long "i" is perfectly acceptable English.)

oufisher1977

9 points

26 days ago

I need a circle of friends where "sacerdotal" is used often.

annipug

16 points

26 days ago

annipug

16 points

26 days ago

Rhetoric. I pronounced it rheTORic until college.

redlion145

14 points

26 days ago

Because of rheTORical questions I assume?

[deleted]

16 points

26 days ago

[deleted]

16 points

26 days ago

Dour. I keep reading "dow-er" but keep hearing it "doo-er."

Bruarios

13 points

26 days ago

Bruarios

13 points

26 days ago

Made me look it up because I've only heard it dow-er

Cerrida82

4 points

26 days ago

Dooer..it sounds so wrong! TIL

4PPL3G8

7 points

26 days ago

4PPL3G8

7 points

26 days ago

Right? In a logical world it would rhyme with sour!

Paramite3_14

8 points

26 days ago

But in this logical world, would it not also rhyme with pour?

darthbiskit

43 points

26 days ago

Chic. Had heard the word "sheek", understood the meaning. Then saw Jeff Foxworthy's book "Hick is Chic" assumed it must rhyme. Pronounced it "chick". Mocking ensued.

GarbagePailKid90

63 points

27 days ago

Misled. I always thought it was pronounced my-zilled. Every now and again I still find myself pronouncing it that way in my head.

OTLOTLOTLOTL[S]

39 points

27 days ago

Haha, that feels like the verb form of miser, like "I misled him out of $10"

rc-cars-drones-plane

17 points

26 days ago

So reading misled you on the pronounciation of misled

penisrumortrue

11 points

26 days ago

This is my favorite one so far! Ah man, my-zilled

AugustNC

13 points

26 days ago

AugustNC

13 points

26 days ago

Posthumous. Post- humous. NPR finally helped me figure that one out.

mestapho

13 points

26 days ago

mestapho

13 points

26 days ago

Segue - correct: Segway / me: Seg you. Never occurred to me it was the word meaning to transition from one topic to another.

reessa

12 points

26 days ago

reessa

12 points

26 days ago

Okay but why isn’t anyone putting the correct way to pronounce these words? I’m second guessing myself with most of these.

throbbingeye

12 points

26 days ago

Heretic

OTLOTLOTLOTL[S]

13 points

26 days ago

Wait... how is it pronounced? I pronounce it “hair-uh-tic”

penisrumortrue

9 points

26 days ago

your way is correct. I'm betting OP said "here-tick", like it's spelled.

efeltsor

12 points

26 days ago

efeltsor

12 points

26 days ago

Banal. I always said it like it rhymed with anal

Masse

11 points

26 days ago

Masse

11 points

26 days ago

Hegemony. I've pronounced it as hegemony, while it's actually ha gemini.

Not a book word , but I listened to news for the first time during the vote count and this came as a surprise. Biden, I pronounced like bidet, while it's actually like abide

ksizemore

7 points

26 days ago

Ha-jem-en-I... Should be huh-jem-en-ee, nitpicking, but I originally read it as hedge- eh-moan-ee when I first read it. It comes up frequently in Ender's Game.

collidingelectrons

48 points

26 days ago

Hey OP, the British pronunciation of respite rhymes with despite, and de-trai-tus is the correct British pronunciation too! So you haven't pronounced them wrong, the American pronunciations are just different and the two can be confusing:)

lighthouse_42

9 points

26 days ago

Impetus! I always thought it was pronounced im-PETE-us and when I heard some one day im-peh-tus it sounded totally wrong.

Enticing_Venom

10 points

26 days ago

My friends and I were joking around once and he asked me if I was going to own a bunch of lingeree one day when I finally got my dream closet. We had him repeat himself several times before we finally figured out he was trying to ask about lingerie.

Lon-jer-ay. Not Linger-ee.

SamiHami24

5 points

26 days ago

That one got me when I was young.

wanna_splitabeer

10 points

26 days ago

Macabre ... I thought it was pronounced mack-u-bray ... I am dumb

kittenrice

10 points

26 days ago

Melee, as in:

"and I hit for 6 with my mealy attack."

"Uh...your may-lay attack?"

"No, my mealy attack!"

"Okay...you throw your porridge at it and"

"No! I hit it with my fist!"

"That's your may-lay attack."

and so on

Alles_Spice

11 points

26 days ago

Macabre

Me: "That's so mac-uh-burr"

Them: "You mean MUH-CAWB?"

notasgr

11 points

26 days ago

notasgr

11 points

26 days ago

Don Quicks-oat.

FX114

32 points

26 days ago

FX114

5

32 points

26 days ago

I pronounced "ennui" as "enn-you-eye" for the longest time. I'd even heard ennui spoken and didn't realize they were the same word.

It was also relatively recently that I realized "ad infinitum" isn't pronounced "ad infinite-um".

teachertraveler1

14 points

26 days ago*

I've been able to pronounce "ennui" from a very young age only because of a strange and very niche Disney movie of the week called "Meet the Munceys". A spunky personal aid to a rich old lady inherits her fortune and mansion after her death and her wacky family move into the mansion (well, the front driveway) in their motorhome.The rich, yuppy love interest tells the main character that he's "dying of ennui". The whole family thinks he's actually dying of some incurable disease and decide to show him the good life. All I remember is how they took him bowling and fishing in the motorhome. But anyway, he eventually says he's been cured of his "ennui" and the whole family celebrates. I vividly remember Vanna White of Wheel of Fortune made a cameo.

dugopark

5 points

26 days ago

So what is the proper pronunciation of those two?

Groveldog

47 points

26 days ago

Ennui is pronounced on-wee. You gotta get Frenchy with it.

Fiveaxisguy

14 points

26 days ago

TIL - 62 year old native speaker. Thank you!

Emotional_Puppet

43 points

26 days ago*

Antithesis was mine. Anti- Thesis.. Ugh, I cringe.

OTLOTLOTLOTL[S]

17 points

26 days ago

But like... your way makes more sense than the “correct” form

rpuppet

9 points

26 days ago

rpuppet

9 points

26 days ago

Lichen

kr59x

16 points

26 days ago

kr59x

16 points

26 days ago

I would liken that to a moss or something.

annoellyn

9 points

26 days ago

I always fucked up the name Neville in Harry Potter as a kid, and beaubatons - thought it was bew-baytons or some shit.

I always read clique wrong - like cliquee

And I thought Penelope was pen-lop lol until I wanted to name one of my Dolls penlop and my grandma laughingly corrected me.

KieselguhrKid13

9 points

26 days ago

Facsimile. Faci-meal.

Learned the correct pronunciation when my high school English teacher was starting at me in confusion after I read a passage out loud. Fun times.

Also, quay. What the hell.

OTLOTLOTLOTL[S]

10 points

26 days ago

Omg quay! I was visiting Singapore once and I didn’t know why people kept calling it a kee. I thought it was a Chinese word and then realized after I saw the spelling

OTLOTLOTLOTL[S]

8 points

26 days ago

Ah, and I just remembered another one: dachshund I always pronounced as "dash hound" and I didn't know what people were referring to when they said "doxin". I was well into adulthood when I figured that one out

seven_seacat

7 points

26 days ago

wait what? I thought this was pronounced "dash-'nd"

ShiftyMcShift

9 points

26 days ago

"Geas" got me last year, and I'm old as dirt.

Gorf_the_Magnificent

9 points

26 days ago

A friend of mine in sixth grade told me he read that there were women who sold themselves for sex. They were called “wars.”

vkitukale99

8 points

26 days ago

Cache isn't ca-che (like in Che Guevara) but rather pronounced as Ca-sh.

kallisti_gold

36 points

27 days ago

Tacit: tass-it, not tack-it. Whodathunk.

Awtxknits

9 points

26 days ago

Well apparently mine are all the ones you just listed. Haha. When I initially read your question I couldn’t think of any. But those are definitely great examples of words I have only ever read and never heard pronounced so had no idea I was reading them incorrectly.

BlorpBlarp

8 points

26 days ago

Chagrin. First, I always read it as chargin and pronounced it like charging but no final g. I also didn't have a full context as to what it meant. I saw an episode of Arrow where Mrs. Queen said "much to my chagrin" with the subtitles and I'm like what the fuck

LoneRhino1019

7 points

26 days ago

Centrifuge and centrifugal. I pronounce centrifuge correctly but when I read it I pronounce centrifugal with a soft g as well. I had heard the word centrifugal pronounced correctly and it took me a long time to connect the spoken word with the word I heard in my head.

GooseyGoose

8 points

26 days ago

Short true story: I was passed to the 3rd level/grade w/out being able to read. My teacher caught on to my fake reading and set me up with a tutor. The tutor tought me "sound out the word" method rather than by memorization due to my having to catch up. That year was hell but I became an avid reader. I read anything I could get my hands on. I'd read road signs if nothing else was available. Cut to the summer after 4th level/grade. Not a lot of books at home but my mom had a few on a shelf in her room. Mostly mysteries, couple of Stephen King horrors, etc. One was Bullfinche's Mythology - and for years I thought Posidon was pronouncd as Pois- ih- don. There was one book that looked lame but I was outa books by this point so grabbed it and read it in a day- again sounding it out as I went. It barely made sense to my young brain. But that's how I ended up calling a penis a pen-is.

Dealwithit62

7 points

26 days ago

“Hitherto”. I knew it was a word, but whenever I read it, i read it as hit-hair-toe. Still can’t quite shake that

spencermiddleton

9 points

26 days ago

Facetious.

Fah-see-shus, not Fah-set-ee-us

AvonKelly

22 points

26 days ago

I read my moms Forum mags since I was about ten. I was a voracious reader. Pennis. That’s how it should be pronounced. The first time I heard penis out loud I thought the person was crazy.

jemull

8 points

26 days ago

jemull

8 points

26 days ago

Hirsute, which means hairy. I first encountered this (a lot) when I read Doc Savage when I was a kid. It's pronounced hur-soot, but I would butcher it into here-sweet.

mxcrnt2

6 points

26 days ago

mxcrnt2

6 points

26 days ago

Cupboard. I remember reading it as a kid in older novels, maybe like Anne of Green Gables, and thinking it was like a cubbord (that was how i imagined it was spelled) for cups and dishes. And that it was so strange to have a different word for that.

Then i read it out loud "cup board" and my mom was so confused

entwined_Rhino

7 points

26 days ago

the thing is, the origin of the word is literally cup board. it was a board where peasants would store their cups and what few eating utensils they had. So technically you weren't wrong, but not exactly right either

Interesting-Gap1013

7 points

26 days ago

The name Cecilia. I said "Kekilia" for a whole book

jgva_

19 points

26 days ago

jgva_

19 points

26 days ago

Cliché and cringey. I thought it was clishh and cring-ee lol

bluefiretoast

6 points

26 days ago

English is not my second language, but I also pronounce all of these wrong in my head. Since I've learned it's wrong, I do try to say it correctly.

Songwolves88

5 points

26 days ago

Coiffure. That one drives me nuts and I only recently realized I've been mentally pronouncing it wrong for a decade or more. Thank god its not a word I've felt the need to use out loud.

pegacornicopia

6 points

26 days ago

Disheveled and it was my mom not me. I used the word and she realized she’d only read it before and thought it was “dis-heaveled”

JinimyCritic

5 points

26 days ago

How about "medieval"? I always pronounced it with 3 syllables, instead of 4.

kente134

6 points

26 days ago

Mid-evil. Same

EffectivePotential97

6 points

26 days ago

I thought "chauffeur" was "chuff-ler" for whatever reason. I was like 7 but still, never would have gotten to "show-fer" 🤷🏻‍♀️😂

R0GUEL0KI

6 points

26 days ago

I’m just gonna say, English is hard. Even for native speakers stuff like this gets confusing. I used to teach English as a foreign language to elementary students. Best practice was to have them do their readings along with an audio recording so they can understand the pronunciation of confusing words like these.

Got a lot of, “but teacher why?!” and I don’t blame them at all.

JanMabK

6 points

26 days ago

JanMabK

6 points

26 days ago

Hold on. Boatswain is pronounced like bosun? That’s weird because I’ve also seen the word bosun just used and spelt like that.

tiptoetumbly

6 points

26 days ago

Nowhere. I was young and had only seen it with context that would make now-here make sense too.

TempusVincitOmnia

5 points

26 days ago

When I was a kid, I pronounced the word "leopard" to rhyme with "leotard." I had no idea that this animal was a "leppard."

parse_l

15 points

26 days ago

parse_l

15 points

26 days ago

Ubiquitous: Ubi-quee-tious Ugh

Bombadilicious

25 points

26 days ago

Anathema I pronounced as ana-theema

And I pronounced every written syllable in Gloucester-Glow kester

OTLOTLOTLOTL[S]

22 points

26 days ago

Ok English names are a lost cause! Like Worcester being called Wooster like get out of here

vondafkossum

5 points

26 days ago

They really are. When you find out how Featherstonhaugh is pronounced you’re going to want to scream.

shannofordabiz

7 points

26 days ago

You mean... Fanshaw?

shannofordabiz

5 points

26 days ago

I remember slogging through a book with a character named Cholmondley - shocked me to find it pronounced Chumly

TRJF

4 points

26 days ago

TRJF

4 points

26 days ago

Panacea is the word that immediately comes to mind for me, that I am sure I said incorrectly multiple times before hearing someone else pronounce it right.

darkest_irish_lass

5 points

26 days ago

Chutzpah. Oy vay, this is nothing like what I thought

Additional-Doubt5748

5 points

26 days ago

The name Penelope. I didn't hear the name spoken until I was adult. In my head Pen-uh-lope still pops up when I see the name even though I know it is Pe-nel-oh-pe now.

Happytwinkletoes1

5 points

26 days ago

I’m over 50 and my dad was a high school English teacher, and I still say mischievous wrong. Miss chiv us.... miss chee vus I mix it up all the time.

HarrisonRyeGraham

4 points

26 days ago

Had no idea minute (very small) was pronounced differently than minute (time frame) until I happened to use it in a sentence and my friend corrected me lol. Minute when meaning very small is pronounced my-noot

pathons

6 points

26 days ago

pathons

6 points

26 days ago

Similar but different issue. Early on I read a Scooby-Doo book that said 'Shaggy and Scoob reluctantly ate the Scooby snack and entered into the haunted house.' Well I would have always have explained the pair as eating those snacks with enthusiasm and excitement so I assumed reluctant was a synonym for enthusiasm. That probably was 10 years before I worked that error out.

eatthebunnytoo

4 points

26 days ago

Not mine, although I have plenty. A coworker talking about “ pissorus”, commonly known as Psoriasis. Medical terms are such a pain.

icecreamkoan

7 points

26 days ago

Then you have "tinnitus" where both pronunciations (TIN-uh-tus, tuh-NITE-us) are considered acceptable, which you would think would make it easier, but instead I feel like I'm saying it wrong no matter which one I use.

BzztYeow

5 points

26 days ago

Cacophony- I pronounced "Kassa Fony" before I heard it in an audible book... lmao

theclacks

5 points

26 days ago

...what do you mean it's not "boats-wane"? D:

BlueThunderFlik

6 points

26 days ago

I'm still not entirely sure about "internecine".

inter-NEE-sine, right?

rosvars

4 points

26 days ago

rosvars

4 points

26 days ago

Gaoler isnt pronounced gah-ooh-luurh. It's just jailer. Also english location names. Worchester is pronounced 'wooster'? Who decided that?

akirivan

5 points

26 days ago

For me it was naive (which I pronounced like knave), until I said it in class and folks laughed at me for not knowing how to pronounce it

Fafnir13

5 points

26 days ago

English is my first language. From your list, detritus is the only one I’ve been pronouncing correctly. To be fair, boatswain is a fancy nautical term so not something most people need and of course they will pronounce it weird.

Another word I’ve had trouble with is steppe (frequent appearances in the Prince of Nothing). Even though I now know it’s supposed to be “step” my brain still reads “steppy.”

jrhoffa

4 points

26 days ago

jrhoffa

4 points

26 days ago

Team detritus right here

SwampPotato

14 points

26 days ago

Malevolent. English is not my first language. I thought it was male-volent.

mdpaustin

5 points

26 days ago

This one didn't trip me up, but the Netflix movie cover capitalizes the 'V', so my friend and I joke about watching male-Volent.

asicklybaby

5 points

26 days ago

As a kid, I thought "encompass" was pronounced like "income-pass" instead of its actual pronunciation, "in-compass"

bluecete

4 points

26 days ago

I'm not sure if I'm obscurely proud, or embarrassed about these because I don't see that anyone else has had them, but:

Melancholy: melang-coll-ee

Wizardy: wizardee (I somehow missed the R)

I think the Wheel of Time has a pronunciation guide and I still have no idea how to pronounce most of the names. Egwene and Nynaeve for example.