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These are the Most Mispronounced Words of 2021

Billie Eilish on the red carpet
Getty Images

Have you ever looked at a word and immediately butchered it when trying to say it out loud? This was the case for several words that were popular this year, including the millennial-targeting term cheugy, Eilish (as in Billie) and Omicron.

These are only a handful of the words on this year’s list of most mispronounced words as compiled by the US Captioning Company, which is responsible for creating captions and subtitling events on TV and in courtrooms.

The words on the list are those that were the most difficult for newsreaders and people on television to pronounce. For the sixth consecutive year, the company surveyed its members to come up with the list. Below are the most mispronounced words, and their definitions.

  • Cheugy (CHOO-gee): A trendy term to describe anything uncool and untrendy. It was popularized by Gen Z to mocks the uncool things loved by millennials, such as skinny jeans.
  • Chipotle (chih-POHT-lay): The American fast food chain that serves Mexican food.
  • Dalgona (tal-goh-NAH): A Korean treat that was seen on Squid Game.
  • Dogecoin (DOHJ-coin): A cryptocurrency that was made popular by Elon Musk.
  • Eilish (EYE-lish): The Grammy-winning singer Billie Eilish, whose second album Happier Than Ever was released this year.
  • Ethereum (ih-THEE-ree-um): A type of cryptocurrency that became popular this year.
  • Ever Given (EV-er GIV-en): The name of the ship that blocked the Suez Canal in March. Many newscasters misread the name of the ship as “Evergreen,” which was printed on the hull.
  • Glasgow (GLAHZ-go): The most populous city in Scotland, and the host city of the United Nations Climate Conference. It was mispronounced by US President Joe Biden.
  • Kelce (KELs): The Philadelphia Eagles’ Jason Kelce revealed that his teammates and the press had been mispronouncing his last name for years.
  • Omicron (AH-muh-kraan / OH-mee-kraan): A new variant of COVID-19 first identified in November. (The first is the US pronunciation, the second is the UK.)
  • Shein (SHEE-in): The Chinese fast fashion company that is super popular with TikTokers and YouTubers for haul videos.
  • Stefanos Tsitsipas (STEH-fuh-nohs TSEE-tsee-pas): The Greek tennis player who lost to Novak Djokovic in the final of the French Open in June.
  • Yassify (YEAH-sih-fai): A trend of extreme beauty filters are applied to well-known pictures of celebs or portraits for fun.

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