Culture

Pretentious Words You Secretly Don't Know How to Pronounce 

Robert Wabash
Updated February 24, 2020 9.1k votes 1.1k voters 158.9k views 25 items

List Rules Vote up the most high-faluting words

What are some of the most overused, mispronounced words people use to try to sound smarter? There are plenty of pretentious vocabulary words people frequently mispronounce. The English language is a mash-up of so many different languages and influences that it can be hard to keep up with new additions, but some words are just so impossible it seems like they're trying to screw you up on purpose. Below are some of the worst examples of pretentious, unpronounceable words people use to try to sound cool.
list ordered by
1
Oeuvre is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Pretentious Words You Secretly Don't Know How to Pronounce
Oeuvre
UHH-vv -- An individual artist's entire body of work. Kind of hard to pronounce even when you technically do know how to pronounce it, honestly.
2
Açaí is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Pretentious Words You Secretly Don't Know How to Pronounce
Açaí
ah-sah-EE -- An extremely overpriced berry that mostly contains stuff you can get from orange juice.
3
Ennui is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Pretentious Words You Secretly Don't Know How to Pronounce
Ennui
on-WEE -- A consuming, Goth-like sense of boredom.
4
Pho is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Pretentious Words You Secretly Don't Know How to Pronounce
Pho
FUH -- Most people mispronounce the name of this traditional Vietnamese noodle soup, causing them to tragically miss out on a universe of immature jokes and puns.
5
Coiffure is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Pretentious Words You Secretly Don't Know How to Pronounce
Coiffure
kwah-FYOOR -- A hairstyle which is expensive, time-consuming, and often ginormous.
6
Denouement is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Pretentious Words You Secretly Don't Know How to Pronounce
Denouement
day-noo-MAHN -- The end of a story, but French.
7
Charcuterie is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Pretentious Words You Secretly Don't Know How to Pronounce
Charcuterie
shar-KOO-tuh-REE -- A big plate of cold cuts, cheese, and sometimes olives/pickles/etc. Except that it's French.
8
Propitious is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Pretentious Words You Secretly Don't Know How to Pronounce
Propitious
pro-PISH-us -- When things seem inclined to go your way, e.g. "my odds of totally destroying this loser in Hearthstone appear propitious."
9
Haute Couture is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Pretentious Words You Secretly Don't Know How to Pronounce
Haute Couture

OAT koo-TOOR -- Fashion accessories too expensive for normal people to afford.

10
Chemise is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Pretentious Words You Secretly Don't Know How to Pronounce
Chemise
shuh-MEEZ -- The sexually-repressed term for a "sexy" nightie.
11
Semiotics is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Pretentious Words You Secretly Don't Know How to Pronounce
Semiotics
see-mee-OT-iks -- The practice of dissecting something so minutely that it no longer makes any sense, but fills up an entire 24-page term paper.
12
Frisson is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Pretentious Words You Secretly Don't Know How to Pronounce
Frisson
free-Son -- The physical thrill of excitement that shoots up your spine every time you receive a new text message.
13
Egregious is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Pretentious Words You Secretly Don't Know How to Pronounce
Egregious
eh-GREE-jess -- So glaringly horrible, outrageous, annoying, or tacky that you literally cannot even.
14
Bruschetta is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Pretentious Words You Secretly Don't Know How to Pronounce
broo-SKET-tuh, and/or broo-SHET-tuh -- No one really knows how to accurately pronounce the name of this popular Italian appetizer, but if you ever go to an Italian restaurant, you're sure to overhear at least one person rudely correcting someone else.

More Bruschetta 

#169 of 439 The Most Delicious Foods in the World #9 of 44 The Best Italian Foodslisted on Weight Watchers Food Points

15
Rancor is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Pretentious Words You Secretly Don't Know How to Pronounce
Rancor

rang-KER - When you have some bitter and salty feelings but you want to be all posh about it.

16
Conundrum is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Pretentious Words You Secretly Don't Know How to Pronounce
Conundrum

 

cun-NUN-drum -- A problem so confusing or difficult, it appears unsolvable. Don't say this word out loud when you're drunk.

17
Decoupage is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Pretentious Words You Secretly Don't Know How to Pronounce
Decoupage
day-koo-PAHJ -- Cutting out pictures of things and gluing them onto other things to trick all of your friends into thinking you're crafty and artistic.
18
Nouveau is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Pretentious Words You Secretly Don't Know How to Pronounce
Nouveau
noo-VOE -- Originally this was the French word for "new"; then Art Nouveau happened, and now this word is applied to any sort of thing that is like another thing, only newer.
19
Mnemonic is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Pretentious Words You Secretly Don't Know How to Pronounce
Mnemonic
nee-MON-nick -- A rhyme, acronym, or other device used to remember important information, e.g. "Beer before liquor, never sicker."
20
Ménage is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Pretentious Words You Secretly Don't Know How to Pronounce
Ménage
may-NAJ -- A word Americans only use when awkwardly attempting to elicit a three-way.
21
Vapid is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Pretentious Words You Secretly Don't Know How to Pronounce
Vapid
VAPP-id -- Flat, tedious, boring, devoid of intelligence. Like a Michael Bay movie.
22
Espresso is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Pretentious Words You Secretly Don't Know How to Pronounce
Espresso
ess-PRESS-oh -- Like coffee, but with more coffee, less water, and more condescending glares from your server.
23
Subpoena is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Pretentious Words You Secretly Don't Know How to Pronounce
Subpoena

sub-PEE-nuh -- a written document ordering a person to appear in court

24
Miscellaneous is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Pretentious Words You Secretly Don't Know How to Pronounce
Miscellaneous

 

miss-uh-LANE-ee-us -- A category for things that don't go anywhere else (typically abbreviated as "misc." since it's also impossible to spell).

25
Genre is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Pretentious Words You Secretly Don't Know How to Pronounce
Genre

 

ZHAN-ruh -- A word snobby people use to be dismissive of any artwork that has an intelligible story, interesting setting, or likable characters.