Choosing a name for your baby can be a real challenge, and sometimes a name that you love ends up being pretty difficult for those unfamiliar with it to pronounce.
As it happens, there are a number of names that we generally find hard to pronounce, which means that there are people all over the world correcting people on the pronunciation of their names. Here are just a few of the ones that come up regularly, our top 20 mispronounced names!
Girls’ Names That Are Hard to Pronounce
The Harry Potter series might have made this name famous, but that doesn’t mean people necessarily known how to pronounce it. In fact, before the movies came out, even Harry Potter fans admit to getting it wrong. The name is not pronounced Herm-ee-own-ee but Her-my-o-nee.
The character Hermione played by Emma Watson
Niamh is an Irish name that means “bright” or “radiant”, but like many Irish names, the way that it’s spelt doesn’t link up with the way that it’s said through English pronunciation. This moniker is actually pronounced Neev, not Nee-am.
Ah yes, another Irish name guaranteed to trip people up if they’ve never had to pronounce it from the written form before. While it looks like it should be said See-ob-han, the name is actually pronounced Shiv-aun. Consider yourself educated.
On the surface Alicia doesn’t seem like a complicated name, but this is one with serious variety, with around three regularly seen pronunciations! We’ve seen Al-ish-ia, as well as Al-ee-sha and even Al-iss-ia, so if you’re trying to guess you are definitely on your own.
You think people would get this one because they know how to pronounce the world island, yet folks are always tripping up and pronouncing this name as Is-la. Nope ladies and gentlemen, this one is definitely Eye-lah, with a totally silent S.
The letter X almost always throws a cog in the works of pronunciation and this name is no different. People try Ex-an-thee and also leave the X out altogether for a pronunciation of An-thee. In reality, this one is pronounced Zan-thee.
Sonja is a unique variation on the spelling of the name Sonia that some parents love. However, despite looking like it’s pronounced Son-ja, this one is actually pronounced Son-ya as if the J was a Y.
It’s no surprise parents like the name Eva. It’s short and simple everywhere but where pronunciation is concerned. Some people pronounce it as Ee-va, while others are adamant that the correct way is Ay-va.
There aren’t that many names out there that start with a Y, so it’s no surprise that people struggle with them. Names like Yvonne might sound like they should have a standalone Y in the pronunciation, but this one is actually pronounced Ee-von.
Another Irish name to test yourself out on, this is one that even we had to look up to make sense of! No it’s not Say-oh-ears, nor is it Sar-eeshe or Say-oyr-see. It’s actually pronounced Ser-sha. Woah.
Just when you thought you were done with the crazy pronunciations, a name like Aoife comes along. This is definitely not pronounced Ay-oyf and it’s not Aye-oi-fee. Nope, it’s actually said Ee-fa. Go figure.
Helena is another name that has two different pronunciations. You’ll either get Hel-ay-nah or alternatively Helen-a, depending on the cultural origin
I remember when Zooey Deschanel became well-known – and I thought – ‘Wow – what an unusual name.’. I pronounced it ‘Zoo-eee’ – but not – it was wrong. Seems it is just an alternative spelling to Zoe – and is pronounced ‘Zoh-ee’.
Boys’ Names That Are Hard to Pronounce
This name trips people up because it is pronounced in two very distinct ways. Some people pronounce it Zavier, as though the first letter isn’t there at all, while others pronounce it X-zavier, putting a particular emphasis on that X at the beginning.
This is another name with two distinct pronunciations, usually depending on the roots of the name. You’ll find that in Australia, most people will automatically pronounce it Lew-iss, but the name can actually also be pronounced as Lew-ee so be mindful!
There are a few names out there that definitely deserve their tricky title, and Joaquin is one of them. While it seems like the name should be pronounced Joe-quinn, it’s actually said Wock-keen.
Another name that looks deceptively simple on the surface, people do pronounce this name An-thony most of the time, but every now and again you’ll get An-tony so keep an eye out!
Technically, this is a name with Buddhist roots but it was made famous by Patrick Swayze in Point Break. Most people want to say Bod-hee, but it’s actually pronounced Bowd-ee, with the first syllable rhyming with road.
Not quite Elijah, this name probably trips people up because they’re getting it confused. Elias is actually pronounced Ee-lay-yuhs except in French where you say it El-iyas.
The inspiration behind the pronunciation of this name definitely differs depending on how the parents chose it. Some people prefer to pronounce it Lee-vy after the jeans, while others like Le-vey like the river.
This is a popular name for little boys born at Christmas, and we think this is where the trip up comes. While it seems like it should be No-El, it’s actually pronounced as one syllable, like Noll.