Pick a language to speakRight Arrow
Ready to learn?
Pick a language to get started!

These Are The Most Mispronounced Words Of 2021

Words like “cheugy,” “Shein” and “yassify” confounded people in the United States and United Kingdom.
video thumbnail

To be fair, some people probably tried too hard to make “cheugy” happen. But in a year that saw all kinds of Gen Z vernacular take over social media, as well as the usual spate of newscasters tripping up over celebrity names, there were plenty of words to choose from when it came to the most mispronounced words of 2021.

The Most Mispronounced Words Of 2021 (United States)

Cheugy [CHOO-gee]

A term popularized by Gen Z, used to mock an outdated and unfashionable aesthetic typically associated with millennials (such as “Live, Laugh, Love” signs).

Chipotle [chih-POHT-lay]

The American fast food chain became the center of a viral trend this year challenging baby boomers to pronounce the name.

Dalgona [tal-goh-NAH]

A Korean treat made with melted sugar and baking soda, popularized following the September release of Netflix’s Squid Game.

Pronunciation note: Some speakers seem to produce a “K” instead of the “G” in the middle syllable.

Ethereum [ih-THEE-ree-um]

The cryptocurrency that skyrocketed in value this year amid the decentralized-currency boom.

Ever Given [EV-er GIV-en]

The name of the ship that blocked the Suez Canal in March, costing billions of dollars in lost trade. Many newscasters mistook the name of the ship as “Evergreen,” the name of the company that owns the vessel and which was printed on its hull.

Glasgow [GLAHZ-go]

The host city of November’s 2021 United Nations Climate Conference was mispronounced by both President Joe Biden and former-president Barack Obama.

Kelce [KEL-ss]

The Philadelphia Eagles center, Jason Kelce, revealed on the radio this year that his teammates and the media had been mispronouncing his name for years.

Shein [SHEE-in]

The Chinese fast fashion company at the center of the viral “Shein haul” trend, in which participants record themselves trying on numerous outfits from the company.

Stefanos Tsitsipas [STEH-fuh-nohs TSEE-tsee-pas]

Currently ranked as the fourth-best tennis player in the world, the Greek athlete rose to international prominence when he lost against Novak Djokovic in the final of the French Open on June 13.

Yassify [YEAH-sih-fai]

A popular trend whereby multiple beauty filters are applied to well-known pictures or portraits for comic effect.

The Most Mispronounced Words Of 2021 (United Kingdom)

Cheugy [CHOO-gee]

A term popularized by Gen Z, 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 following the September release of Netflix’s Squid Game.

Pronunciation note: Some speakers seem to produce a “K” instead of the “G” in the middle syllable.

Dogecoin [DOHJ-coin]

A divisive cryptocurrency first started ironically before being popularised by Elon Musk, causing its value to dramatically increase.

Gina Coladangelo [JEE-nah co-lah-DAN-ge-lo]

In June, the businesswoman was caught in a clinch with the then-Health Secretary, Matt Hancock. The fallout from the affair led to the Health Secretary’s resignation amid national outcry.

Giorgio Chiellini [JYOR-jyo kyi-LEE-nee]

Italy’s captain for the 2021 European Football Championship, where Italy beat England on penalties in the final on July 11. Chiellini was involved in a contentious foul late in the game, resulting in a yellow card and causing outrage across the U.K.

Keirin [KAY-reen]

A track cycling discipline that confounded newscasters when staged at the Tokyo Olympics during July and August this year.

Pronunciation note: KAY-rin is feasible as well.

Måneskin [MOH-ne-skin]

The Italian representatives and eventual winners of Eurovision 2021, staged in May. Their name is the Danish word for “moonlight.”

Pronunciation note: The first syllable is an approximation — the “å” sounds similar to the “or” in “morning.”

Nusr-Et [nus-RET]

London’s hottest new restaurant that opened in October, owned by Nusret Gökçe — a.k.a Salt Bae — and widely panned for its high prices.

Shein [SHEE-in]

The Chinese fast fashion company at the centre of the viral “Shein haul” trend, in which participants record themselves trying on numerous outfits from the company.

Wellerman [WELL-er-man]

The name of a sea shanty that went viral on TikTok in January this year. Many videos detailed performers mispronouncing the ship as “weatherman.”

Athletes, social media trends, Squid Game, and cryptocurrency were all implicated in the most phonetically challenging words of 2021, according to the U.S. Captioning Company and the British Institute of Verbatim Reporters. For the sixth year in a row, these organizations compiled lists of words that newscasters and people on TV struggled with the most this past year, both in the United Kingdom and the United States. Perhaps you’ve been pronouncing some of these wrong this whole time?

Language expert Todd Ehresmann has provided phonetic pronunciations and notes for this year’s lists.

Learn pronunciation in a new language.
Steph Koyfman
Steph is a writer, lindy hopper, and astrologer. She’s also a language enthusiast who grew up bilingual and had an early love affair with books. She has mostly proved herself as a New Yorker, and she can introduce herself in Swedish thanks to Babbel. She also speaks Russian and Spanish, but she’s a little rusty on those fronts.
Steph is a writer, lindy hopper, and astrologer. She’s also a language enthusiast who grew up bilingual and had an early love affair with books. She has mostly proved herself as a New Yorker, and she can introduce herself in Swedish thanks to Babbel. She also speaks Russian and Spanish, but she’s a little rusty on those fronts.

Recommended Articles

Professional Captioners Reveal The Most Mispronounced Words Of 2020

Professional Captioners Reveal The Most Mispronounced Words Of 2020

To be fair, no one’s really sure how to say X Æ A-Xii.
These Are America’s Most Mispronounced Words Of 2019

These Are America’s Most Mispronounced Words Of 2019

A rapper, a presidential candidate and a famous cathedral all made this year’s list of America’s most mispronounced words.
Professional Captioners Reveal The Mispronounced Words Of 2018

Professional Captioners Reveal The Mispronounced Words Of 2018

From “Jamal Khashoggi” to “specific,” here are the words and names people struggled to pronounce correctly this year in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada.