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50 Hardest English Words to Pronounce and Spell in English

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Hardest English Words to Pronounce

50 Hardest English Words to Pronounce and Spell in English

There are lots of hard English words to pronounce and students find them quite difficult for them to pronounce correctly. It is quite essential for students to understand that hard English words exist and the spellings may not match the pronunciation the way they want them to pronounce.

It is therefore quite challenging for students to understand how they can pronounce those words in a comfortable manner. Students need to understand that English is a language which does not work like any other language but it has certain rules and regulations that students need to follow. 

There are many words that have no rules but just because they have cultural connotations, they are pronounced in different ways. Therefore, some words need to be memorized as they are pronounced correctly and that is what is going to be the way for students.

Practice is essentially the most important factor here when it comes to pronouncing the words correctly.  You will be learning 50 hardest English words to pronounce correctly in this article and that will help you to feel more confident as to how you can pronounce various difficult words in English.

Check This: Best Way to Improve English Listening skills

Tips to Pronounce hard Words in English

There are lots of tips that are going to be essential for you and blow are some of the tips that can help you to pronounce words correctly:

  1. Listening and repeating

It is imperative for you to listen to English speakers and analyse their way of speaking. Once you start becoming careful about how certain English words are pronounced, it will help you to improve your pronunciation.

  1. Taking the help of phonetic transcriptions

You can take the help of phonetic transcriptions as they are going to be great for you to understand how English words are pronounced correctly and for that thing, you need to understand pronunciation symbols.

Check: Improve Your English Learning Skills.

  1. Looking after stress and intonation

Once you understand how English words are stressed in different words, it will be easy for you to understand how certain words can be pronounced in a better way.

  1. Be attentive and practice pronunciation

You need to be attentive whether you are making mistakes in pronunciation or not and you also need to practice pronouncing certain words correctly when you know that you are making mistakes in pronunciation.

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  1. Using online resources 

There are many online dictionaries these days which you can find on Google and they will be able to help you pronounce any particular word correctly. You can go through the websites of Oxford and Cambridge and you can listen to the audio part of any word which will help you to notice the correct pronunciation of the words and this is a great way of learning correct pronunciation.

Even the words given below in the list can be checked online in the audio formats to understand how they are pronounced correctly if you have problems understanding phonetic symbols.

Also Check : English Speech Topics for Students

50 hardest English words to pronounce (with explanation)

Below is a list of 50 hardest English words with correct pronunciation and meaning. You will be able to learn how you can pronounce them correctly and it will help you to be better. Let’s start one by one:

  1. Penultimate

Pronunciation: /pɪˈnʌltɪmət/

Meaning: Second to last in a series.

Pronunciation difficulty: The stress is available on the first syllable and its combination is unique therefore, it becomes difficult to pronounce.

  1. Asthma

Pronunciation: /ˈæz.mə/

Meaning: Respiratory condition

Pronunciation difficulty: Some people may find the “th” sound challenging and once its pronunciation is known, it will be easy to pronounce.

  1. Almond

Pronunciation: /ˈɑː.mənd/

Meaning: Nut with edible kernel.

Pronunciation difficulty: “l” sound may be tricky since it is silent here.

  1. Subtle

Pronunciation: /ˈsʌt.əl/

Meaning: Not obvious

Pronunciation difficulty: Here, the letter “b” is silent and it can be challenging for learners.

  1. GIF

Pronunciation: /dʒɪf/

Meaning: File format for images.

Pronunciation difficulty: Normally, it is pronounced with a soft “g” which can be confusing.

  1. Acai

Pronunciation: /əˌsaɪˈiː/

Meaning: Small, dark purple berry

Pronunciation difficulty: It has an unfamiliar phonetic structure and stress pattern for English speakers.

  1. Gnocchi

Pronunciation: /ˈnjɒki/

Meaning: Italian dumplings

Pronunciation difficulty: It has an unusual combination of consonants and silent letters.

  1. Fuchsia

Pronunciation: /ˈfjuːʃə/

Meaning: Vivid purplish-red color or a flowering plant.

Pronunciation difficulty: It has uncommon phonetic patterns and silent letters may be challenging.

  1. Connoisseur

Pronunciation: /ˌkɒn.əˈsɜːr/

Meaning: Expert in art, food, or drink.

Pronunciation difficulty: It has complex consonant clusters and stress patterns.

  1. Pharaoh

Pronunciation: /ˈfeərəʊ/

Meaning: Ancient Egyptian ruler.

Pronunciation difficulty: It has an uncommon combination of sounds. 

  1. Quixotic

Pronunciation: /kwɪkˈsɒtɪk/

Meaning: Unrealistically idealistic.

Pronunciation difficulty: It has uncommon pronunciation and the presence of the “x” sound can seem difficult.

  1. Niche

Pronunciation: /niːʃ/

Meaning: A comfortable position.

Pronunciation difficulty: It has a silent “ch” which may be unexpected for some speakers.

  1. Cinnamon

Pronunciation: /ˈsɪnəmən/

Meaning: Spice made from tree bark.

Pronunciation difficulty: It has double consonants and unstressed syllables may be challenging.

  1. Paradigm

Pronunciation: /ˈpær.ə.daɪm/

Meaning: A typical example

Pronunciation difficulty: The final “gm” sound can be difficult for some speakers.

  1. Ophthalmologist

Pronunciation: /ˌɒfθælˈmɒlədʒɪst/

Meaning: Eye doctor

Pronunciation difficulty: It has the presence of multiple consonant clusters which makes it difficult to pronounce correctly.

  1. Bouquet

Pronunciation: /buːˈkeɪ/

Meaning: Bunch of flowers.

Pronunciation difficulty: The “ou” sound may vary in different accents.

  1. Worcestershire

Pronunciation: /ˈwʊstərʃə(r)/

Meaning: County in England

Pronunciation difficulty: It is uncommon, especially for non-native speakers, so it becomes difficult to pronounce correctly. 

  1. Anemone

Pronunciation: /əˈneməni/

Meaning: Flower with showy blossoms.

Pronunciation difficulty: It has an uncommon stress pattern and the silent “e” at the end may be challenging for learners.

  1. Colonel

Pronunciation: /ˈkɜː.nəl/

Meaning: Military rank.

Pronunciation difficulty: It has unusual spelling compared to pronunciation which can create confusion.

  1. Epitome

Pronunciation: /ɪˈpɪt.ə.mi/

Meaning: Perfect example of something.

Pronunciation difficulty: It has an uncommon stress pattern and the final “e” sound may be surprising.

  1. Onomatopoeia

Pronunciation: /ˌɒn.əʊˌmæt.əˈpiː.ə/

Meaning: Words imitating sounds

Pronunciation difficulty: It has a complex phonetic structure which further becomes difficult by the presence of multiple vowels and consonants.

  1. Pseudonym

Pronunciation: /ˈsjuːdəʊnɪm/

Meaning: Fictitious name

Pronunciation difficulty: It has uncommon pronunciation of “pseud” and the silent “p”.

  1. Quinoa

Pronunciation: /ˈkiːnwɑː/

Meaning: Grain from South America.

Pronunciation difficulty: It has an unfamiliar phonetic structure and the presence of a unique vowel may be challenging.

  1. Chiaroscuro

Pronunciation: /kiːˌɑːrəˈskjʊərəʊ/

Meaning: Use of light and shade in art.

Pronunciation difficulty: The presence of multiple vowel clusters and consonants makes it difficult.

  1. Draught

Pronunciation: /drɑːft/

Meaning: Current of air or a drink.

Pronunciation difficulty: The spellings may completely make the learners confused to get the right pronunciation.

  1. Entrepreneur

Pronunciation: /ˌɒn.trə.prəˈnɜːr/

Meaning: Business organizer.

Pronunciation difficulty: The presence of multiple consonant clusters may be quite challenging.

  1. Synecdoche

Pronunciation: /sɪˈnek.də.ki/

Meaning: A figure of speech

Pronunciation difficulty: It has the presence of multiple consonant clusters.

  1. Labyrinth

Pronunciation: /ˈlæb.ɪr.ɪnθ/

Meaning: Complex maze-like structure.

Pronunciation difficulty: It has an uncommon stress pattern and the final “th” sound may be challenging.

  1. Phlegm

Pronunciation: /flem/

Meaning: Thick mucus from respiratory passages

Pronunciation difficulty: The silent “g” may be difficult for learners.

  1. Ecclesiastical

Pronunciation: /ɪˌkliːziˈæstɪkl/

Meaning: Related to the Christian Church.

Pronunciation difficulty: There’s the presence of multiple consonant clusters in the word.

  1. Entrepreneurial

Pronunciation: /ˌɒn.trə.prəˈnɜːriəl/

Meaning: Possessing entrepreneurial characteristics.

Pronunciation difficulty: It has consonant clusters and may be challenging for learners.

  1. Colloquial

Pronunciation: /kəˈləʊ.kwi.əl/

Meaning: Informal language used in ordinary conversation or writing.

Pronunciation difficulty: It has an uncommon stress pattern and the presence of multiple vowel sounds.

  1. Isthmus

Pronunciation: /ˈɪs.məs/

Meaning: Narrow strip of land

Pronunciation difficulty: The unusual combination of consonants may look difficult.

  1. Zephyr

Pronunciation: /ˈzef.ər/

Meaning: Gentle, mild breeze.

Pronunciation difficulty: The presence of the “ph” sound may make learners confused.

  1. Pronunciation

Pronunciation: /prəˌnʌnsɪˈeɪʃn/

Meaning: The way a word is pronounced.

Pronunciation difficulty: The presence of “s” and “sh” sounds may make learners confused.

  1. Gastronomy

Pronunciation: /ɡæˈstrɒn.ə.mi/

Meaning: Art of good eating

Pronunciation difficulty: The presence of multiple vowel sounds may be difficult for learners.

  1. Rendezvous

Pronunciation: /ˈrɒn.deɪ.vuː/

Meaning: Meeting

Pronunciation difficulty: The presence of silent letters may be challenging.

  1. Gauche

Pronunciation: /ɡəʊʃ/

Meaning: Lacking ease or grace

Pronunciation difficulty: It has an uncommon pronunciation of “gau” and the final “che” sound may look difficult.

  1. Chutzpah

Pronunciation: /ˈxʊtspə/

Meaning: Audacity; boldness.

Pronunciation difficulty: The presence of the “ch” sound may be challenging.

  1. Paraphernalia

Pronunciation: /ˌpær.ə.fəˈneɪ.li.ə/

Meaning: Miscellaneous articles

Pronunciation difficulty: The presence of multiple syllables may pose challenges.

  1. Schadenfreude

Pronunciation: /ˈʃɑː.dənˌfrɔɪ.də/

Meaning: Pleasure derived from others’ misfortune.

Pronunciation difficulty: It’s an uncommon loanword from German, hence it may be challenging.

  1. Forte

Pronunciation: /ˈfɔː.teɪ/

Meaning: A strong ability

Pronunciation difficulty: It becomes difficult for students because the “e” letter is pronounced at last.

  1. Cacophony

Pronunciation: /kəˈkɒf.ə.ni/

Meaning: Harsh, discordant sounds.

Pronunciation difficulty: It has an uncommon stress pattern and the presence of multiple vowel sounds.

  1. Grandiose

Pronunciation: /ˈɡrændiˌoʊs/

Meaning: Impressive, imposing.

Pronunciation difficulty: It has an uncommon stress pattern and the presence of multiple vowel sounds.

  1. Plumber

Pronunciation: /ˈplʌmə/

Meaning: A person who fits and repairs the pipes

Pronunciation difficulty: The letter “b” is silent and this is what becomes challenging.

  1. Comb

Pronunciation: /kəʊm/

Meaning: A strip of plastic, metal, or wood with a row of narrow teeth

Pronunciation difficulty: The letter “b” is silent and it is one of the most mispronounced words among speakers of the English language.

  1. Hemorrhage

Pronunciation: /ˈhemərɪdʒ/

Meaning: Escape of blood from a ruptured blood vessel.

Pronunciation difficulty: It has the presence of multiple consonant clusters.

  1. Ennui

Pronunciation: /ɑːnˈwiː/

Meaning: Feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction.

Pronunciation difficulty: It has letter “e” in starting which is pronounced differently and it may be unexpected for some learners.

  1. Writhe

Pronunciation: /raɪð/

Meaning: Make twisting movements.

Pronunciation difficulty: It has the presence of the silent letter “e” which may be challenging.

  1. Rapport

Pronunciation: /ræˈpɔːr/

Meaning: Harmonious relationship

Pronunciation difficulty: The presence of the silent “t” may be challenging.

Also Read : Popular Proverbs in English

Conclusion:

Pronouncing the hardest English words correctly can definitely take time but it will give you the satisfaction of learning English in a better way. You need to understand that if you want to master the English language in all modules including pronunciation, you will have to learn the hardest words and you should know how they are pronounced correctly. Once you do this, you will feel the difference in your level of English.

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