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One of the most mispronounced words of 2021 is…Billie Eilish?

ABC/Randy Holmes

With 2021 coming to a close, it’s time to review the words that gave Americans the most agony over the past year.  While many struggled over how to pronounce the newest COVID-19 variant, omicron (OH-mee-kraan, per ABC News standards), others butchered Billie Eilish‘s name.

The U.S. Captioning Company, which is the nation’s leading television captioning service, keeps track of the words that gave television personalities and newscasters the most trouble and released its annual list of the biggest offenders.  

Surprisingly, Eilish was on this year’s roundup.  Considering that the alt-pop superstar burst into the limelight more than two years ago following her breakout hit “bad guy,” it begs to question why her last name is only wreaking havoc now.

For those who still have doubts, U.S. Captioning Company says the correct way to pronounce Eilish is “EYE-lish.”

Two other individuals made the list this year, Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce — whose last name is pronounced “KELSS” with a hard S, not “KELL-see” — and Greek tennis star Stefanos Tsitsipas, whose name is pronounced “STEH-fuh-nohs TSEE-tsee-pas.” 

Gen-Z slang, such as the millennial-bashing term Cheugy, pronounced CHOO-gee; and Yassify, pronounced YEAH-sih-fai, where multiple beauty filters are applied for comedic effect, also made this year’s roundup.

Other terms that made the cut include the restaurant chain Chipotle [chih-POHT-lay], the Scottish city Glasgow [GLAHZ-go], and the cryptocurrencies Dogecoin [DOJH-coin] and Ethereum [ih-THEE-ree-um], as well as the Ever Given [EV-er GIV-en], the ship that famously blocked the Suez Canal.

The report was commissioned by Babbel, a platform that teaches users how to speak other languages.


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