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That’s How You Say It? 9 Words With Tricky Pronunciations

Updated on April 8, 2016Grammar
That’s How You Say It? 9 Words with Tricky Pronunciations Image

If you read a lot, you probably have an excellent vocabulary. But it also means that you may know a lot of words that you’ve only seen in writing and never heard spoken aloud. Sometimes even common words are easy to misread. Language enthusiasts have coined the term “misle” for a word that leads you to incorrect assumptions about its pronunciation. It comes from the word misled (as in, the past tense of mislead), which many language lovers admit to misreading at one time or another as the past tense of some imaginary verb along the lines of “to misle.”

Some common misles include:

Victuals: VITT-ulz (rhymes with “whittles”) n. Food; specifically, food fit for humans to eat

Biopic: BI-o-pik (portmanteau of “biography” and “picture”; does not rhyme with “myopic”) n. A movie about a person’s life

Ennui: on-WEE n. A pervasive feeling of boredom and dissatisfaction

Quay: KEE n. A structure at the edge of a body of water where boats load or unload passengers and freight

Chaise longue: SHAYZ LONG (not “chase lounge”) n. A type of long, low chair

Debacle: de-BOCK-ul (not DEB-uh-kul) n. A disaster

Desultory: DES-ul-tor-ee adj. Aimless, disappointing, or lacking serious effort

Spurious: SPYUR-ee-us (rhymes with “curious,” not “furriest” ) adj. Inauthentic, untrue, or deceitful

Caramel: KAR-mell, KAR-uh-mell, KEHR-uh-mell (They’re all correct! Just pick your favorite.) n. Candy made from butter, sugar, and milk; a light brown color

What misles have tripped you up? Let us know in the comment section below or via our Facebook or Twitter feeds.

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