16 Common Foods You're Probably Mispronouncing

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iStock

by Reader's Digest Editors

The only thing more embarrassing than dropping a tomato-filled plate of bruschetta on your pants might be mispronouncing the dish that made the mess in question in the first place. Though the below foods are menu staples across America, you might be ordering them wrong.

1. BRUSCHETTA

Don’t say: Broo-sheh-tuh

Instead say: Broo-SKET-tuh

2. SRIRACHA

Don’t say: Sree-rah-cha

Instead say: SEE-rah-cha (Don't believe it? Ask the maker.)

3. MARASCHINO CHERRY

Photo of maraschino cherries
iStock

Don’t say: Mare-uh-sheeno

Instead say: Mare-uh-SKEENO

> > > These foods actually have different names in the U.K.

4. ANISE

Don’t say: Ah-nees

Instead say: ANN-iss

5. JICAMA

Don’t say: Hick-uh-muh

Instead say: HEE-kuh-mah

> > > You also might be mispronouncing these popular company names.

6. GYRO

Photo of gyro sandwich
iStock

Don’t say:  Jy-roe

Instead say: YEE-roe

7. AÇAÍ

Don’t say: Ah-kai

Instead say: Ah-SIGH-ee

> > > You won't be able to get enough of these gorgeous and healthy acai bowls.

8. BOUILLABAISSE

Don’t say: Bool-yah-bays

Instead say: BOO-yah-BESS

9. PHO

Photo of Vietnamese pho
iStock

Don’t say: Foe

Instead say: FUH

10. ENDIVE

Don’t say:  En-dive

Instead say: On-DEEV

11. WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE

Don’t say:  Wore-chester-shire

Instead say: WOOS-TUH-SHURE

12. LYCHEE

Photo of lychee
iStock

Don’t say: Lie-chee

Instead say: LEE-chee

13. GNOCCHI

Don’t say: No-key

Instead say: NYOH-key

14. CRUDITÉS

Don’t say:  Krew-dites

Instead say: Krew-dih-TAY

15. SAKE

Photo of sake
iStock

Don’t say: Socky

Instead say: Sah-KAY

16. ESPRESSO

Don’t say: Ex-press-oh

Instead say: ESS-press-oh

Harry Potter Fans Have Been Mispronouncing Voldemort's Name

Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. // Harry Potter Publishing Rights J.K.R.
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. // Harry Potter Publishing Rights J.K.R.

Just last month we learned J.K. Rowling included the correct pronunciation of "Hermione" in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire to keep fans from continuing to say her name wrong. And now we find out that the vast majority of Harry Potter fans have been mispronouncing Voldemort's name for 20 years as well. We need a second to collect ourselves.

According to Cosmopolitan, List25 tweeted, “#DidYouKnow Contrary to popular belief, the ‘t’ at the end of Voldemort is silent. The name comes from the French words meaning ‘flight of death.’”

Apparently, JK Rowling also confirmed the correct, silent "t" pronunciation of Voldemort three years ago—yet many Potterheads have been blissfully ignorant to their mispronunciation.

Back in 2015, a fan messaged Rowling on Twitter, saying, "One piece of Harry Potter trivia I always forget to mention: the ‘t’ is silent in Voldemort." According to ​The Sun, Rowling confirmed the common mistake by replying, "… but I’m pretty sure I’m the only person who pronounces it that way."

What's the Difference Between Straw and Hay?

iStock.com/dusipuffi
iStock.com/dusipuffi

The words straw and hay are often used interchangeably, and it's easy to see why: They're both dry, grassy, and easy to find on farms in the fall. But the two terms actual describe different materials, and once you know what to look for, it's easy to tell the difference between them.

Hay refers to grasses and some legumes such as alfalfa that are grown for use as animal feed. The full plant is harvested—including the heads, leaves, and stems—dried, and typically stored in bales. Hay is what livestock like cattle eat when there isn't enough pasture to go around, or when the weather gets too cold for them to graze. The baled hay most non-farmers are familiar with is dry and yellow, but high-quality hay has more of a greenish hue.

The biggest difference between straw and hay is that straw is the byproduct of crops, not the crop itself. When a plant, such as wheat or barley, has been stripped of its seeds or grains, the stalk is sometimes saved and dried to make straw. This part of the plant is lacking in nutrients, which means it doesn't make great animal fodder. But farmers have found other uses for the material throughout history: It what's used to weave baskets, thatch roofs, and stuff mattresses.

Today, straw is commonly used to decorate pumpkin-picking farms. It's easy to identify (if it's being used in a way that would be wasteful if it were food, chances are it's straw), but even the farms themselves can confuse the two terms. Every hayride you've ever taken, for example, was most likely a straw-ride.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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