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10 Words You’ve Probably Been Mispronouncing Your Whole Life 

There are a ton of words that you may or may not have been pronouncing wrong your entire life. Some of them are pretty obvious, but some of them are trickier. See if you pass the test. 

Espresso

If your barista hasn’t corrected you already, your afternoon pick-me-up is called an espresso, not an EX-press-o.

February

The month doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but it shouldn’t sound like January. The impulse to drop the first R is called dissimilation, according to Merriam-Webster.

Mischievous

You thought this one has four syllables when it really has only three. It’s not “mis-CHEEV-ee-us”–it’s just “MIS-chiv-us.”

Prerogative

If you’re anything like me, this one will blow your mind. It’s not “PER-aw-gah-tiv,” as so aptly captured by Britney Spears. It’s “PRE-rog-ah-tiv,” like precognition.

Nuclear

Despite George W. Bush’s efforts to normalize the pronunciation “noo-CUL-ur,” the correct pronunciation is and will forever remain “noo-KLEE-ur.”

Gyro

Your yummy Greek pita shouldn’t sound like “gyroscope.” Order a YEE-roh or ZHIHR-oh instead when you’ve got a craving for yogurt sauce.

Hyperbole

No exaggeration, this four-syllable word has nothing to do with bowls thanks to its Greek roots. Fun fact: Hyperbole’s antonym is litotes, meaning an extreme understatement and pronounced LYE-tuh-teez.

Triathlon

Most of us add a syllable that isn’t there, pronouncing it “tri-AHT-a-LON.” It’s actually just “tri-ATH-lon.”

Jewelry

This time we tend to cut out a syllable that’s actually there. It should be “JEW-ell-ree,” not “JEWL-ree.”

Library

Just like February, the two R sounds in library make proper pronunciation especially hard. Lots of people (even college professors and presidents!) are documented as skipping one or the other.

Suit

Your hotel room is probably pretty sweet, regardless of whether you’re wearing a suit. (And don’t even think about saying sue-TAY.)

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