Popular Irish name revealed as the most mispronounced in the world

By Fiona Frawley

September 21, 2023 at 3:33pm


It's not even one of the hard ones.

Anyone with an Irish name, particularly one with a rogue "mh" or "bh" thrown in will know the struggle of travelling anywhere outside Ireland and seeing people's eyes fill with dread and confusion when they see your name written down, or hearing "Kowa-mih-hay"called out confidently by a Starbucks barista after you give your name at the till.

Thanks to Succession and Kim Kardashian's pending American Horror Story cameo, the name Siobhán now enjoys correct pronunciation across the globe but what about the Muireann's, the Oisín's, the Sadbh's? Are they destined for a life of blank stares and "do you have any nicknames we can use instead?"

If this is the name on top of the mispronounced list, we fear they may be.

Seán has been revealed as the most mispronounced name in the world, according to research conducted by WordFinderX. The website analysed data from pronunciation dictionary Forvo, which revealed the name Seán has been searched and pronunciation-checked one million times onsite.

The six most difficult-to-pronounce names are all from different cultures. The second top name, Xuxa (shoo·shuh), is of Basque origin and is checked 15% more than third-placed Victoria. The Greek name Plato appears in fifth position. The Greek philosopher of the same name was actually called Aristocles; his wrestling teacher nicknamed him Plato, meaning “broad.”


On the Irish-specific list, Seán, Saoirse and Siobhán take the top three spots (WordFinder left the fadas out but that's okay, we popped them back atop their relevant letters). Surprising additions include Ryan, Alan and Brian (all of which we would have thought are fairly self explanatory) and Éire (a name which could possibly work for a long-lost Baldwin sibling, but I'd say with nearly full certainty there's no child named Éire in actual Éire).

The fact that Caoimhe, Aoife and Tadgh don't get a look in would lead us to question the validity of this research, but still, we enjoyed looking over it.

AITA for telling my cousin and his wife that they were pronouncing their son's name wrong? https://t.co/rxAO6ZVnde pic.twitter.com/cST94atVfz

Header image via Channel 4 



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