The 10 most mispronounced words of 2016

Between trying to decipher whether President-elect Donald Trump was saying bigly or big league, we mispronounced a few words of our own this year.

Global language-learning app Babbel commissioned U.S. Captioning Company to identify 10 of the most mispronounced words of 2016.

U.S. Captioning Company, which is responsible for subtitling live events, surveyed its members to identify words and names most commonly mispronounced.

Here’s a look at the 10 most mispronounced words of 2016, with phonetic pronunciations provided by Babbel’s director of didactics Miriam Plieninger:

- Bowie (/’boʊ-iː/; boh-ee) – David Bowie died in January, 2016, and as people lamented his passing around the world, they may have also botched his last name.

- Breitbart (/’breɪt-bɑːrt/; breyt-bart) – A conservative news outlet that in many ways became the news this year. Shortly after the 2016 election, President-elect Donald Trump announced Stephen Bannon would be his chief strategist in the White House. Bannon was previously the head of Breitbart News, which he had dubbed “the platform for the alt-right."

- Cisgender (/’sɪz-dʒɛn-dɜːr/; sizz-gen-dehr) – A term used for people who have a gender identity that aligns with the sex they were born with.

- Hygge (/’hjuː-gə/; HUE-gah) – The Danish term is defined as "quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being," according to Oxford Dictionaries. Never heard it? The Nordic trend rose to popularity this year with many in the U.K. and U.S. trying to embrace enjoyment and positivity by taking a page from the Danes.

- Marion Cotillard (/’koʊ-ti:-ja:r/; koh-tee-yar) – A French actress known for roles in Allied and Assassin's Creed. She was also thrown into the Angelina Jolie-Brad Pitt divorce drama after tabloids reported that she had an affair with her married co-star.

- Narcos (/’nɑːr-koʊs/; nark-ohs) –  Chances are, you've been mispronouncing the name of your favorite Netflix show. The title stems from the Spanish word "narcotraficante," which means drug trafficker, according to  Plieninger.

- Nomophobia (/’noʊ-moʊ-‘foʊ-biː-ə/; noh-moh-pho-bee-ah) – You should know this word by heart. It means a fear of being without your cell phone. Sound familiar?

- Quinoa (/kiː-‘noʊ-ə/ or /kiː-‘nuː-ə/; kee-NOH-ah or kee-NOO-ah) – A healthy grain product that no one can agree on how to pronounce.

- Rattata (/’ræt-æ-tæ/; RAT-ah-tah) –  A  fictional character from augmented reality app Pokémon Go. It's safe to say we are OK with leaving this craze in the past. Shortly after Pokémon Go swept across the globe stories of injuries, crimes, accidents and safety advisories involving players of the app began pouring in.

- Roald Dahl (/roʊld/ /dɑːl/; rohld daal) –A deceased English author who entertained children (and adults) with classics like Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach. He would have been 100 in September. But while Dahl died in 1990, his legacy lives on in his books and the many film, television and theater adaptations of them, such as the movie version of The BFG this summer.

- Xenophobia (/‘zɛn-oʊ-‘foʊ-biː-ə/; zen-oh-phoh-bee-ah) – Xenophobia means a “fear or hatred of foreigners, people from different cultures, or strangers,"  according to Dictionary.com. The word was dubbed the word of the year in 2016 by Dictionary.com as a nod toward an increasing fear of "otherness"  around the world.

- Zika (/’ziː-kə/; zee-kuh) – A virus transferrable by mosquitos which can cause devastating birth defects in babies born to women infected while pregnant.

Contributing: Kelly Lawler

Follow Mary Bowerman on Twitter: @MaryBowerman 


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