17 Words Even Smart People Mispronounce
If you pronounce these words differently, don’t worry—many people do. But here’s how they were originally meant to be pronounced 50, 100, or 200 years ago—and, according to the dictionary, still should be.
How to pronounce TRANSIENT
It has two syllables not three, so it’s “transhent,” not “tran-zee-ent.” (Mind blown? Ours too.)
How to pronounce PRELUDE
“Pray-lood” is incorrect; the proper pronunciation is “prel-yood.”
How to pronounce VALET
Downton Abbey got it right. It’s not a French word, so pronouncing the last syllable as “ay” is incorrect. It should be sounded as “val-it.” (Another fake French word: foyer, which is pronounced “foy-ur,” not “foy-ay.”)
How to pronounce FORTE
If you’re discussing someone’s “forte,” as in a strength, the “e” is silent. “Fortay” is correct only if you’re using it as a musical term.
How to pronounce DECREASE
If you’re using it as a noun, it’s de-crease. If you’re using it as a verb, it’s de-crease.
How to pronounce CARAMEL
“Kah-ruh-mull” is the original way and still the preferred way, although “kar-mull,” which was once a Midwestern regional pronunciation, is also acceptable.
How to pronounce MAUVE
It once rhymed with “stove,” but now the “au” is sounded as “aw.”
How to pronounce EITHER
“Eee-thur” or “aye-thur”? “Eee-thur” is the preferred way. (And so is “nee-thur.”)
How to pronounce QUASI
Today it’s often pronounced “kwah-zee,” but it’s more correct to say “kway–zi.”