50 Commonly Mispronounced Food Words, Plus 15 More

| Food

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Bad news: You’ve been unwittingly pronouncing "sherbet," "bruschetta" and probably a bunch of other words incorrectly all your life. Heck you probably even mispronounce "sriracha," a spicy sauce that uses some of the hottest peppers in the world to create this sauce or even healthy spaghetti squash recipes in which the sauce could go on.

While we do recommend changing your ways if you still don’t know how to say “quinoa” or “espresso,” we will warn you that you’ll risk being labeled as a pretentious ass if you insist on saying some of the others in this list correctly. (Example: Saying “No, no, no! It’s KWAH-sohn!” when your date says her croissant is delicious will most likely hurt your chances of a second date.)

Pronounce the following words correctly or incorrectly at your own risk.

Acai: This word deserves all the butchering it gets just for the obnoxious way it was spelled. Both ah-si-EE and ah-sah-EE are correct.

acia
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Anise or Star Anise: Not "A Niece".

star anis
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Bánh mì: Don’t beat yourself up for this one. How were you supposed to pronounce a word that ended in “nh” anyway? The best most Americans can do is BON-me, and yes, the emphasis is on the first syllable.

Banh Mi
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Boudin: Not boo-DEEN or boo-DON.

boudin
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Bouillabaisse: Now say it three times fast.

bouillabaisse
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Bouillon: Easy Enough.

bouillon
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Bruschetta: You might get away with ordering broo-SHET-uh here in the states, but don’t even think about saying it in Italy.

bruschetta
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Buffet: This isn’t about that silent “t.” The beginning of the word is the problem, since many people say BUFF-ay instead of BOO-fay.

buffet
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Caramel: To that stubborn group of people still saying CAR-mel, we are begging you: LET. IT. GO. It’s KEHR-ah-mehl or KAR-ah-mehl. Three syllables. And there are four syllables in caramelize.

caramel
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Chipotle: Apparently there are people out there who say “chi-POL-tay.” If you’re one of them, kindly correct yourself or step out of the burrito line.

chipotle
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Coq Au Vin: Please don’t attempt to order “cock” at that nice French bistro you’ve been wanting to try — even though that is technically what you’re ordering (i.e., rooster).

Coq Au Vin
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Créme Fraiche: Or you can call it fancy sour cream. Just not in public.

Creme Fraiche
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Croissant: Unless you’re French, you probably say cruh-SAHNT. If you want to pretend you’re French, say CWA-sohn. But we will judge you a little.

Croissant
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Crudite: No one correctly pronounces this French word for raw veggies with dip on their first try.

Crudite
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Cumin: We’re putting this debate to rest. Both KYOO-min and KOO-min are acceptable. And it’s unacceptable for you to not try adding it to your next batch of guacamole (seriously — you must try this).

Cumin
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Edamame: It’s not a rhyme for “said a mommy.”

Edamame
(Photo: Hella Wella)

>> Edamame is great for fighting fatigue. Find out what other foods will keep you going!

Espresso: FOR THE LAST TIME, THERE IS NO “X.”

Espresso
(Photo: Hella Wella)

>> Try out this Skinny Mom Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Foie Gras: You’re not likely to find this one on the menu in California anyway, but it’s FWAH-GRAH, not foy grass.

Foie Gras
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Ghee: Like that show you “don’t like” that has a bunch of high school kids singing popular songs, only without the “L.”

Ghee
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Gnocchi: Just say no to saying NO-chee.

Gnocchi
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Guacamole: People get heated about this one. Most Americans say GWAH-ca-MOE-lay, but the “g” is rarely heard in the traditional pronunciation of the word: WAH-cah-MOE-lay. We’ll call it whatever you want as long as it gets on our plate.

Guacamole
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Gyro: We’ll allow YEER-oh or JEER-oh, but if you say GUY-roh, we’re going to eat your YEER-oh in retaliation.

Gyro
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Habanero: If you really want to get finicky, you shouldn’t pronounce the “h" in habanero.

Habanero Peppers
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Haricot Vert: Something as simple as green beans shouldn’t be this difficult to say.

Haricot Vert
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Humus: Spelling this one phonetically was a challenge. The beginning of the word should have a soft “u” sound like “pull.” But no one will look at you funny for saying hum-iss.

Hummus
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Jicama: Pronounce the “j” like an “h.”

Jicama
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Kefir: This low-fat, fermented milk drink is frequently mispronounced in the U.S. as KEE-fur.

Kefir
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Macaron/Macaroon: This is more of a common spelling error than a pronunciation blunder. Macaron and macaroon are not the same thing, and if you’ve been under the impression that macaroon describes those adorable little French cookies, you’re wrong. The tiny meringue sandwiches that come in different colors are macarons, and although you can pronounce it the same way as macaroons — mack-uh-ROONS — the French say mack-uh-RONS. A macaroon is a chewy cookie made with almonds or coconut.

Macaron
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Maraschino: It’s OK. Your local bartender probably doesn’t know either.

Maraschino
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Mascarpone: There are two ways you could have screwed this one up: Either you’re adding an extra “r” between the “a” and the “s,” or you’re pronouncing “pone” as one syllable — or you’re doing both.

Mascarpone
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Mayonnaise: Not MAN-aze. You pronounce the “o” when you say “mayo,” so don’t forget it in the long-form version.

Mayonnaise
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Moussaka: You’ve probably been placing the emphasis on the second syllable, but it’s actually on the third.

Moussaka
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Muffuletta: If you can’t say it right, you don’t deserve it.

Muffuletta
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Niçoise: Now you can confidently order your nee-SWAHZ salad.

Nicoise
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Parmesan: Surprisingly, the last syllable is not pronounced like the French name Jean. It’s PAR-mə-zon. Also important: Never judge a person for how much they choose to put on their pasta.

Parmesan
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Pasta: If you live in America and aren’t an Italian chef or Gordon Ramsay, you’re probably saying this incorrectly. It’s PAH-stuh, not PAW-stah. Pretend you’re going to say “pat” to get the hang of this one.

Pasta
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Pho: This Vietnamese noodle dish does not rhyme with “yo.” It should sound like the beginning of a certain four-letter word.

Pho
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Pommes Frites: If you like your fries extra French, you order pohm-FREET.

Pommes Frites
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Poutine: Even the Canadians disagree on this one, but we’re standing by our research.

Poutine
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Prosciutto: The best kind of shahr-KOO-tuhr-ee.

Prosciutto
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Quinoa: Impossible to figure out on your own.

Quinoa
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Radicchio: Not rah-DEECH-ee-o.

Radicchio
(Photo: Hella Well)

Risotto: Gordon Ramsay might look snooty as hell saying ree-SOT-toe on “MasterChef,” but he’s right. While the rest of us barbarians are going around saying ree-ZOH-toe, Ramsay knows not to use a “z” or long O sound in the second syllable.

Risotto
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Sake: Technically it’s SAH-keh if you want to pronounce it like they do in Japan.

Sake
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Salmon: This is why the English language is so damn frustrating. The “l” in “salmon” is silent. Why? Absolutely no reason.

Salmon
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Sherbet: There’s only one “r” in “sherbet.” And unless you’re under the age of 10, you really should have upgraded to sorbet by now.

Sherbet
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Sriracha: Truth hurts.

Sriracha
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Tumeric: There are multiple ways to get this wrong. Many people say TOOM-uh-rihk, while others mistakenly emphasize the second syllable and say ter-MARE-ik.

Turmeric
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Tzatziki: So yeah. All cleared up, right? We still couldn’t say it after watching this video.

Tzatziki
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Worcestershire sauce: Easier solution: Just say Lea & Perrins.

Worcestershire Sauce
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Hors D'oeuvre: To save you ordering the “horses doovers,” let us whet your appetite with this little treat. It’s not as complicated as it looks.

hors d'oeuvre
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Calzone: With a big old Italian “eh” at the end (see “marscapone”)

calzone
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Provolone: And while you’re getting the habit, here’s provolone. Think about all the times cheese has made you happy — you could at least get its name right.

provolone
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Dulce de Leche: Found in various forms all over South and Central America. And in your kitchen too if you ask for it correctly.

dulce de leche
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Vichyssoise: You’ve been saying what now? Just be happy we no longer call it Crème Vichyssoise Glacée.

vichyssoise
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Cachaça: Very popular in Brazil and an ingredient in your caipirinha (kye-peereen-yah). Try it again after a couple at the bar.

Cachaca
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Raita: Traditionally call pachadi, the delicious condiment from the sub-continent certainly is worth the effort.

raita
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Arancini: There’s only one “c” so it’s not “cheeny.”

arancini
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Ceviche: It’s that final “e” again that insists on tripping up the American tongue.

Ceviche
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Orecchiette: This small, disk-shaped pasta has a name that means “little ears.” So listen up.

Orecchiette
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Amandine: Although it means a garnish of almonds, it is not (as is often the case) spelled “almondine,” either.

Amandine
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Guanciale: Not the way your friend says it. It’s not from Chile.

guanciale
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Paczki: These jelly doughnuts are to be found in your local Polish bakery if you’re lucky enough to have one. And now you can ask for them with impunity.

Paczki
(Photo: Hella Wella)

Gouda: You might just hate us for this one but your favorite Dutch cheese is actually pronounced “how-dah” after the city of its origin. We’ll quite understand if you ignore us.

Gouda
(Photo: Hella Wella)

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