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UK’s most mispronounced words of 2023 might surprise you

UK’s most mispronounced words of 2023 might surprise you

I mean, we're probably all guilty of saying at least one of these wrong

We’ve all got that one mate who constantly pronounces a word incorrectly but insists they’re right – don’t even get me started on ‘fajeetas’.

So it’s probably unsurprising to hear there’s a whole ranking of the UK’s most mispronounced words of the year.

But you might actually be surprised to hear just what has made the list.

Prepare yourself for some second-hand (or maybe even direct – no judgement here) embarrassment. When you’ve been singing along to one of this year’s summer anthems, you might have been well off.

Or perhaps when you were prepping for a day at the cinema banging on like a film buff, you were actually bluffing.

Language learning platform Babbel has teamed up with the British Institute of Verbatim Reporters (BIVR) to list the top 10 words mispronounced by politicians, public figures, newsreaders and well, normal people.

And in no particular order, here they are:

Stone of Scone

No, it's not a cake.
Andrew Milligan - Pool/Getty Images

Yeah, I’ve no idea either. After a year of the royal family having quite the moment, this term refers to a stone used during coronation ceremonies.

Also known as the ‘Stone of Destiny’ (which sounds way more fun) it was presented during the King’s big bash in May.

But it’s not pronounced like the sweet treat.

Pronunctiation: Stown uhv skoon


Are you team Barbie or Oppenheimer?
Warner Bros

The two films dominating cinema this year, Barbie and Oppenheimer were of course both released on 21 July.

Barbenheimer was quickly coined as viewers took them in as a double feature, watching the pink and black flicks back-to-back.

Pronunciation: Baa-buhn-hai-muh

Tom Wambsgans

One of the main characters in HBO’s Succession, Tom Wambsgans was played by Matthew Macfadyen and had some viewers tripping over the name.

Pronunciation: Woms-gans


David Becker - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images

Padam, Padam, I hear it and I know… but have we all been singing it wrong?

Despite pop princess Kylie singing it over and over in the top 10 hit, turns out not everyone has been saying it correctly.

Sure, the word doesn’t have an actual meaning, but it’s pretty much become anything we want it to – particularly in the LGBTQ+ community. Padam.

Pronunciation: Pad-dahm


A big one for the Londoners this year and one that’s caused nightmares to pronounce as well as for those drivers who are getting charged more.

It’s an abbreviation for Ultra Low Emission Zone.

Pronunciation: Yu-lez


Back in September, Narendra Modi, India’s Prime Minister, used this Sanskrit name for the Indian subcontinent for the first time.

Pronunciation: Buh-ruht

Nepo Baby

Ah, those lucky little children of major stars.

David Beckham with eldest son Brooklyn.

I mean, the most obvious has to arguably be Brooklyn Beckham, with the term refering to those said to have succeeded purely because of who their mum and dad are.

Pronunciation: Neh-po Bay-bee


This is a name for those people who want us all to slow down with the progress of techonology – partiucalry with AI. It’s short for decelerationists.

Pronunciation: Dee-Sell


Sharon Osbourne used it too.
Steven Ferdman / Contributor / Getty Images

The usage of this medication seems to have rocketed in 2023, with debates about its side effects and purpose firing up.

Ozempic is actually for diabetes but has been used by celebs, influencers and others for weight-loss.

Pronunciation: Oh-zem-pick

Suella Braverman

Well we’ve certainly been hearing this one all year.

The politician was Home Secretary (again) until November 2023 when she was fired in the Prime Minister’s reshuffle.

Pronunciation: Su-ell-uh Brah-vuh-mum

Or, you know, maybe you’ve just been calling her after a certain Disney dog villain.

Featured Image Credit: Warner Bros/Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Academy Museum of Motion Pictures

Topics: UK News