11 Points

11 Food Words We All Surprisingly Mispronounce
written by Sam Greenspan

This list is dedicated to all the people who pronounce "Chipotle" as chip-poh-tul, the Brittas of the word who prounouce "bagel" like it rhymes with "haggle," and, of course, the people from Louisiana who will literally cut you with a huntin' knife for saying pray-leen.

Here are 11 food and drink terms that are commonly mispronounced. My criterion for the list: If I've been pronouncing the word wrong without realizing it, it made the list. (That's why quinoa and gnocchi are nowhere to be found.)

  1. This is the chicken.
    Buffet
    Common pronunciation: buh fay
    Real pronunciation: boo fay

    Yes -- Cousin Eddie has been saying it right all these years. Try the yellow.

  2. Guacamole
    Common pronunciation: gwah kah moh lee
    Real pronunciation: wah kah moh lee

    So the 7,000 times a day that the staff at Chipotle says, "Guacamole is $1.75 extra, is that ok?" they should really be pronouncing it without the "g." Just pronounce it as if you're at a Mexican arcade and you want to play whack-a-mole.

  3. Muffuletta
    Common pronunciation: muff ah let tuh
    Real pronunciation: moo fah let tuh

    Sorry. But if I see the word "muff," I'm saying "muff." I blame my friend Nathan, whose favorite word from 1998 until present was muff.


  4. Indispensable newcomers.
    Sriracha
    Common pronunciation:sur ah cha
    Real pronunciation: shree ra cha

    Sriracha is one of those things that became a "thing" out of nowhere, and now people discuss it as if the world would cease to spin without it. It's the Downton Abbey of condiments.

  5. Pinot noir
    Common pronunciation: pee no no arr
    Real pronunciation: pee no nwahr

    I never knew I was pronouncing "noir" wrong. I guess I've also been pronouncing it wrong in the phrase "film noir." How I've been mispronouncing it for two decades -- that's a mystery. The kind of mystery that walks into your office on a slow day with red lipstick and gams that just seem to go on for weeks.

  6. Bruschetta
    Common pronunciation: broo sheh tah
    Real pronunciation: broo skeh tah

    Oh yeah, Internet? I pronounce "bruschetta" incorrectly? Then how come the servers at Buca di Beppo have never corrected me?

  7. Bouillon
    Common pronunciation: bull yawn
    Real pronunciation: boo yawn

    Turns out the little cubes you drop in soup aren't the same as the gold coins they sell during 3:00 A.M. informercials. Arguably because bouillon and bullion are different words.


  8. Jackée!
    Saké
    Common pronunciation: sah kee
    Real pronunciation: sah kay

    Fascinating. Who knew saké followed the same pronunciation schematic as Jackée?

  9. Mascarpone
    Common pronunciation: marz kah pone
    Real pronunciation: mah skar poh nay

    When you pronounce it right (and don't gets pwn3d by the last syllables), it lends itself so nicely to an Italian accent. (Which then, sadly, leads to me being unable to resist banging out a few more sentences of generic Super Mario dialogue. "Mascarpone. Let's-a go! It's-a me, Mario." And so on.)

  10. Horchata
    Common pronunciation: hore cha tuh
    Real pronunciation: orrrrrrrr cha tuh

    Drop the "h" and give that "r" the full-on Hispanic news anchor treatment. Bonus: If you roll the "r" for long enough, perhaps your tongue will go numb and actually allow you to briefly tolerate the taste of horchata.

  11. Hummus
    Common pronunciation: humm us
    Real pronunciation: hoom us

    After writing this, I'm going to start properly pronouncing 10 of the 11 words on this list. This is the exception. I refuse to be a hoom-us person. Because hoom-us people wear scarves in the summer and buy lillies and talk about the pros and cons of montessori education. I will NOT become a hoom-us person.


This post was originally published on Friday, March 1, 2013 at 11:00:00 AM under the category Food & Drink.

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