Story at a glance

  • The U.S. Captioning Company released the most mispronounced words of 2021 this week.
  • The company creates captions and subtitles for live TV and courtrooms.
  • Cheugy, Chipotle and omicron were among the words on this year’s most mispronounced words list.

The new omicron variant isn’t just alarming health experts, it’s also proving to be difficult to pronounce, according to the latest list of this year’s most mispronounced words.

The U.S. Captioning Company, which creates captions and subtitles for live TV and courtrooms, released a list on Tuesday that revealed the most challenging words for newsreaders and people on television, according to The Associated Press.

Babbel, a language-learning company, was commissioned by the U.S. Captioning Company to generate the list.

“As a language teacher, it’s always interesting to see that some of these terms are usually new colloquialisms, or are rooted or borrowed from another language. As a non-native speaker, I must confess it’s fun to see English speakers stumbling a bit for a change,” Esteban Touma, a comedian and teacher for Babbel Live, told AP.

In 2021, Americans have struggled to pronounce a slew of words, including pop culture references, COVID-19 variants and cryptocurrencies.


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The most mispronounced words of 2021, according to Touma:

Cheugy (CHOO-gee)

A new word popularized by Gen Z, it’s used to mock outdated and unfashionable style. 

Chipotle (chih-POHT-lay)

Despite being a popular restaurant in the U.S., it’s proved to be difficult to pronounce for baby boomers.

Dalgona (tal-goh-NAH)

A Korean treat that’s made with melted sugar and baking soda. The word became popularized through the Netflix series “Squid Game.” 

Ethereum (ih-THEE-ree-um)

It’s a form of cryptocurrency that’s skyrocketed in value this year.

Eilish (EYE-lish)

The 19-year-old singer Billish Eilish. In 2020, she became the youngest artist to receive nominations and win in all major categories at the 62nd Grammy Awards.

Ever Given (EV-er-GIV-en)

It’s the name of the ship that caused a national supply chain frenzy after it blocked the Suez Canal in March.

Glasgow (GLAHZ-go)

The Scottish city was the host of this year’s United Nations Climate Conference. Both President Biden and former President Obama both mispronounced the city’s name.  

Kelce (KELs)

Football player Jason Kelce, who plays center for the Philadelphia Eagles, told listeners on a radio show earlier this year that his own teammates and the media had been mispronouncing his last name for years.

Omicron (AH-muh-kraan/ OH-mee-kraan)

It’s the new COVID-19 variant of concern that was identified in late November in South Africa. The World Health Organization uses a Greek lettering system to name the variants. 

Shein (SHEE-in)

This is a Chinese online fast fashion retailer. The company has become popularized by consumers buying a “Shein haul,” numerous outfits that people then record themselves trying on.

Stefanos Tsitsipas (STEH-fuh-nohs TSEE-tsee-pas)

He’s currently ranked as the world’s fourth best tennis player. He’s a Greek athlete that rose to international prominence after he lost to Novak Djokovic in the final French Open in June.

Yassify (YEAH-sih-fai)

A popular trend where digital beauty filters are applied to well-known pictures or portraits for a comedic effect.


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Published on Dec 07, 2021