30 Baby Names People Always Mispronounce (2022)

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At the top of the list of things that are embarrassing is meeting your friend's cute baby and completely butchering their name. Been there, done that. To help you avoid this mishap, here are some of the easiest monikers to mess up — plus a few helpful pronunciation tips.

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Rheagan

Any name with a random "h" thrown in for fun is sure to confuse people, and Rheagan is no exception. The Celtic name means "little king," and can be pronounced several ways — typically either RAY-gan, or REE-gan.

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Kian

Kian is the English version of the Gaelic name Cian (meaning "ancient") and it's extremely confusing to pronounce for those of us who aren't Irish. Most people with this name pronounce it KEE-an, but variants include KEEN and KYE-an.

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Geoffrey

Okay, Geoffrey is a hard one. Some people pronounce it like Jeffrey, some people pronounce it exactly like it's spelled (Gee-OFF-rey), and some people mix things up with Joff-REE. Honestly, whatever floats your Geoffrey boat.

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Lachlan

Lachlan is a popular Scottish name that can be pronounced one of two ways: LACK-lin or LOCK-lin. Meanwhile, fans of the film Frozen can rejoice, because the name means "from the fjord-land." (Note: If you're not a Frozen nerd, the fjord is the sea that Elsa freezes!)

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Louis

Seems like a pretty basic name, right? Wrong. Just ask poor Prince Louis, who spent the first couple of days after his birth having everyone pronounce his name incorrectly. One can either go with LOU-ee or Lou-ESS, so pick your fave and have at it.

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Khaleesi

Somewhat hilariously, Khaleesi has risen in popularity as a baby name thanks to Game of Thrones. And while GOT fans know how to pronounce it, the name might seem somewhat intimidating to people who aren't familiar with Westeros. Pro tip: It's Ka-LEE-see.

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Imogen

Imogen (meaning "maiden") has become a popular name among parents — and for good reason. It's lovely, and dates back to Shakespearean England. So, how do you say it? By pronouncing the "g" as a "j" — in other words, IHM-eh-jen.

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Cassius

Another name popular in Shakespearean times, Cassius was made famous by abolitionist Cassius Clay, as well as boxer Muhammad Ali (Cassius was his given name). The moniker can be pronounced one of two ways: either Cass-EE-us or CASH-us — the second of which is more popular in the United States.

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Graham

Oh boy. Graham is a tough one. This Scottish name (meaning "gravelly homestead") can either be pronounced GRAY-ahm or just straight-up GRAM depending on the person. Of course, all that really matters is that Jude Law in The Holiday pronounces it GRAM, so.

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Leah

Another one that seems pretty simple on the face of it, but varies depending on who you ask, is this Hebrew name. It can either be pronounced as LEE-ah or LAY-ah. Both gorgeous options, right?

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Sinead

Most people know how to pronounce this gorgeous Irish name thanks to Sinead O'Connor, but for what it's worth there's a silent "h" in there, and the "ead" is not pronounced the way you'd assume. The correct pronunciation? Shin-AID.

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Gideon

Gideon is a Hebrew name that's popular among celebrity parents. In fact, both Neil Patrick Harris and Ziggy Marley named their sons Gideon. Unlike Imogen, the "g" in this name isn't pronounced like a "j" — so you'll want to go with GIH-dee-uhn.

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Zooey

No, for the most part, Zooey is not pronounced the way it looks. In other words, most people named Zooey pronounce it like Zoe (ZO-eee) versus like the word "zoo" with a "y." Just ask Zooey Deschanel.

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Saoirse

If you're a fan of Saoirse Ronan, you likely know how to pronounce this name correctly. But for the record it's SUR-sha!

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Caitriona

If you're an Outlander fan, chances are you've finally figured out how to pronounce Caitriona. If not, here's what you need to know: It's not pronounced Kate-ree-oh-nah. It's pronounced Cat-REE-nah. Basically like Catrina, but fancy.

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Stephan

Should be simple, yes? No! While most people tend to pronounce Stephan like Steven, some parents give their baby this name and throw everyone for a loop by pronouncing it STEPH-ahn or even STEFF-en. Moral of the story? Never make assumptions.

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Zosia

Girls star Zosia Mamet is yet another celebrity who has to deal with people not knowing how to say her name. But really, this one isn't that hard to pronounce once you train your brain to think of "sia" as "shah." The entire name rolls off the tongue as Zah-shah.

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Aoife

Hands up if you have literally no idea how to say this. You are not alone — but it turns out that Aoife (meaning "beautiful" in Gaelic), is actually pronounced EEE-fa. The name's origin is even cooler than its spelling — in one legend, Aoife is the bravest female warrior in the world.

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Anais

Anais is a gorgeous French name that means "grace," but it can be a challenge for people who aren't fluent in the language. While you might think the name is pronounced An-EYE-iss it's actually a much softer An-nah-EES.

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Siobhan

Siobhan is the Gaelic version of Joan, and is pronounced SHEH-vahn — meaning the "b" is completely silent. Also fun fact: Siobhan is the leader of a vampire coven in the Twilight series.

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Cillian

Wondering whether to pronounce this Irish name SILL-ian or KILL-ian? Fair enough, but FYI, it's the latter!

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Andrea

Andrea is a super popular name and there are so many ways to pronounce (or mispronounce) it — from Ahn-DREY-ah, to AHN-dree-a, to An-DREE-a. None are wrong and all are pretty, so really it's a triple win.

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Rhys

The Welsh name Rhys (meaning "ardor") is getting more and more popular, so most people pronounce it correctly. That correct pronunciation being REESE versus RISE.

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Elena

Elena is the Spanish version of Helena and means "bright, shining light." But no, it's not pronounced like Ellen with an "a" tacked on the end. The correct pronunciation is Ee-LAY-na.

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Leigh

Leigh is an English name meaning "pasture or meadow," and it's typically pronounced LEE. In other words, it doesn't rhyme with "sleigh," despite the fact that it's spelled almost the exact same way.

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Kirsten

This is another one that trips people up. Some people, like Kirsten Dunst, pronounce the name KIER-sten. Others pronounce it KUR-sten. And then there are the people who misread the name all together and think it's KRIS-ten.

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Mia

Is this pronounced ME-ah, or MY-ah, or MAY-ah? Chances are you won't know until you ask the baby's parents, because it could go any way.

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Nicola

People with the name Nicola are destined to a life of mispronunciation thanks to the fact that Nick-OL-ah and Nee-COAL-ah seem equally popular. Both versions are lovely, so no harm done.

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Isla

When confronted with the name Isla, just remember that you don't pronounce the "s" in "island," so you don't pronounce it in this either. Instead, you should go with EYE-la.

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