Follow TV Tropes


Pretentious Pronunciation

Go To
It's actually pronounced "FRAJ-əl"... or is it "FRAJ-eye'əl"?note .

"It's pronounced 'Bouquet'..."
Hyacinth Bucket, Keeping Up Appearances. (It's "boo-KAY".)

Someone tries to class up something by "pronouncing it poshly". Most commonly this is done as a response to other people pronouncing the word in such a way that it sounds much sillier. Whether the fancy pronunciation or the obvious yet silly one is "correct" is usually beside the point. The point is, that for some people, keeping a name filled with aristocratic airs is Serious Business.

This practice likely originated (at least as far as we know) in the Middle Ages among upper class families who had common surnames and didn't want to be associated with their lowly upbringing. The Featherstone-Haughs, for example, were named for a poor farming village, so in order to make themselves sound posher they changed the pronunciation of the name to "Fanshaw".

Usually the "high-class pronunciation" uses French pronunciation, with varying accuracy. Today this is probably because Everything Sounds Sexier in French and as we all know sexy people can't be made fun of. The original reason for this is likely because from the 17th century all the way until the mid 20th century, French was considered the Common Tongue of European diplomacy.note 

This trope is related to the linguistic phenomenon known as hyperforeignism.

May overlap with My Nayme Is but not every name that's pronounced differently than its spelling would indicate is this trope. Compare also with Accent Upon The Wrong Syllable, Technical Euphemism, You Say Tomato (where people argue about how to say a word), Delusions of Eloquence (using "posh" vocabulary incorrectly), and Insistent Terminology, with which it sometimes overlaps.

Contrast The Unpronounceable. See also Uranus Is Showing.


    open/close all folders 
  • A series of ads in 2002 for the everything-shop Argos featured a (mysteriously Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen-esque) rock star (played by Richard E. Grant) making "helpful" suggestions to his PA (played by Julia Sawalha) about how to have his flat decorated. As soon as he leaves, she calls up the store and they soon deliver furniture, wall hangings and so on. When he returns, he's impressed and inquires as to who she hired to decorate the place. She casually says "Argos", but then backpedals, trying to impress him, saying that of course she was referring to a Lithuanian designer called "Argús" (AHR-goos).
  • In one commercial for Glade-scented candles, a woman tries to pass off her new candles as fancy foreign candles. She removes the label and attempts to throw it away, but struggles with the adhesive and it ends up sticking to her skirt in the vicinity of her rear end. After she responds to questioning about whether it was a Glade candle with, "No, it's, uh, French. From France," one of her friends pulls the label off of her and sarcastically asks, "Haven't you ever heard of glah-DAY?"
  • Leon's Furniture in Canada has commercials since 2019 where two people insist they bought from "Lé Ons" (lay-OHNS).
  • McDonald's has run a couple of commercials for their McCafé coffee drink which has random words getting an "é" pronounced "a" stuck on the end, with whispering voices humming "a, a, a, a" in the background. For example: They show a man hosing down his car in his driveway. He looks bored. The voiceover says "Rinse." But when the guy takes a sip of his McCafé, he feels much livelier, and the voiceover says "Rin-SAY."
  • On the Sprint "Framily" commercials, the older son has a weird friend named Gordon who insists that his name is pronounced 'Gor-DONN.'
  • Target department stores did an ad that co-opted the commonly-used facetious pronunciation of "Tar-ZHAY" to jokingly act posh.
  • In a Walmart StraightTalk commercial, a woman insists that endive salad is "absolutely pronounced on-DEEV" because of her supposed new riches after cutting her cell phone bill in half.
  • An ad campaign for Bubly sparkling water has featured singer Michael Bublé, with a running gag of him insisting they've spelled his name wrong, and correcting others who contrarily refer to him as "Michael Bubly".


    Comic Books 
  • Ghost Rider: Heaven's on Fire features an Antichrist who actually goes by Anton Satan, pronouncing it [ʃatan] ("Shuh-TAN") like Miroslav Šatan of the Boston Bruins and Slovakia.
    Anton: Actually, that's pronounced Shuh-TAN. It's Czechoslovakian.

    Films — Animation 
  • Megamind seems to have this as something of a Verbal Tic. Most notably, he pronounces Metro City as "Metrocity" (rhymes with atrocity) and School as Shool. Well, he is an alien, and one who was kicked out of school pretty early.
  • Happens in Hoodwinked! when Twitchy pulls out the Dynamite Candle and goes "Dee-na-mee-tay. Hmm, must be Italian."
  • At Bonnie's place in Toy Story 3, when Woody shows the inscription "Andy" on his boot sole to the other toys, he presents it upside down. Bonnie's toys wonder:
    Buttercup: Who's "Yid-nuh"?
    Mr. Pricklepants: I believe it's pronounced "Yid-nay."

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues: After antagonist Jack Lime loses a bet with Ron and is forced to change his name to "Jack Lame", he tries to get around the "embarrassing punishment" part pronouncing it as Lah-mey, which annoys Ron.
  • Better Off Dead. When Lane Meyer (John Cusack) invites the French foreign exchange student from across the street to dinner, his mother, seeking to impress, serves exotic dishes like "Frahnch fries" and salad with "Frahnch dressing". And to drink: Peru! (Perrier.)
  • In The Comebacks, George Johnson insists his name is pronounced "Jorge Juanson" in a feeble attempt to accentuate his Latin heritage.
  • In Corky Romano, the title character's FBI alias changes his surname to "Pissant" after a bumbling hacker misinterprets an insult as the answer to his question of what the name should be. It then becomes a running gag as Corky tries to convince people that it's pronounced "Pis-AHNT... it's y'know... French."
  • In Infamous (2020), Arielle was named after the character in The Little Mermaid. However, she hates this fact and insists that everyone pronounce her name "Ar-ee-AHL".
  • It's a Gift, in which W.C. Fields plays a shop owner Harold Bissonette, "Bis-son-NAY in front of the wife."
  • In It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie the French ringmaster the Muppets hire for a fundraising show called Cirque Du Sol Lame insists it's pronounced "La-meh", being French and all. Later on in the film when Daniel comes down to Kermit, he insists he'd rather go by "Danny L."
  • Joe Dirt:
    Joe Dirt: Comin' to work. Joe Deertay.
    KXLA Security Guard: Don't try and church it up son. Don't you mean Joe Dirt?
  • Averted in The Man with Two Brains, as Steve Martin corrects his character's name being pronounced "Dr. Furrier," noting instead it is
    Dr. Hfuhruhurr: Hfuhruhurr... a lot of people mispronounce it - but it sounds just the way it's spelled."
  • In Snapshot (1979), Angela's boss at the salon is Mr. Pluckett. He (and his employees) pronounce the name 'Plew-Shay'. However, Madeline addresses him as Mr. Pluckett, rhyming with 'bucket'.
  • Small Time Crooks. Low class Frenchy (Tracey Ullman) calls crudites "crudd-iytes".
  • Vamps: Dr. Van Helsing insists the name "Tepes" is pronounced "Tee-pes" and not "Tepish" which everyone else uses.

  • In one of the Amelia's Notebook stories, Amelia befriends a French girl and likes the way the girl pronounces her name as "ah-MEL-ya" instead of "ah-MEE-lee-ah," so she starts insisting everyone else address her the same because it's fancier. By the end of the story, she's learned her lesson about being herself and goes back to the normal pronunciation.
  • In Anne of Avonlea, the second Anne of Green Gables book, the mother of two of Anne's students insists on their last name being pronounced Donnell, accent on the second syllable. (She also insists on her son being called St. Clair, although he prefers his birth name of Jacob. Poor kid.)
  • Hubertus Bigend of the Bigend Books by William Gibson is an inversion. Bigend is Belgian, and the proper pronunciation is therefore closer to "bayh-jhan", but he seems to prefer to go by "big end" anyway.
  • Surfaces in A Brother's Price, where one of the Whistlers' neighboring families thinks the Whistlers put on airs by keeping the same pronunciations that the Queens use. Eldest Whistler prefers careful diction. A younger sister who fancies those neighbors imitates them to say, "Nay neighborly of 'er" and is corrected immediately.
  • Discworld:
    • In Hogfather the main villain, the assassin Mr. Teatime, insists that his name is pronounced "te-ah-tim-eh". The only one who plays along is Death (STOP PLAYING DEAD, MR TE-AH-TIM-EH "You got it right!!" OF COURSE).
    • From the Tiffany Aching subseries: "It's not 'Earwig', it's 'ah-WIJJ'." As the character is a self-important, etiquette-obsessed social climber, this may be a nod to Keeping Up Appearances.
    • In The Science of Discworld, the wizards are observing life evolving on the Roundworld, in spite of both absence of essential elements like Narrativium and Deitygen, and of the constant disasters like comet strikes it faces. They suggest it has a quality that they could describe as a conceptual element that they have a difficulty coming up with a name for; "Bloodimindium" just doesn't sound right, so the Lecturer in Recent Runes suggests changing the accent: "Blod-di-min-dium".
  • Thomas Raith in The Dresden Files goes by (as Harry puts it) "toe-MOSS" while posing as a gay French hairdresser.
  • At the start of Stephen Leacock's parody of 18th century English romantic novels "Gertrude the Governess, or Simply Seventeen", we are informed that the setting is Knotacentinum Towers (pronounced Nosham Taws), home of Lord Knotacent (pronounced Lord Nosh)...
  • Lord Faucet from The Incorrigible Children Of Ashton Place insists his name is pronounced ''Fausay".
  • P. G. Wodehouse had lots of fun with this. A particularly memorable example would be in Indiscretions of Archie, when the title character explains that his surname, Moffam, is pronounced "Moom". To rhyme with Bloffingham.
  • In The Many Mysteries of the Finkel Family, Marissa brags about her vacation to "Par-ee."
  • In the children's book Mr Stink and its television adaptation, the protagonist's family name is Crumb, but Mrs. Crumb, who is snooty and has political ambitions, insists on pronouncing it "Croome".
  • In Our Mother's House Charlie Hook insists everyone call him "Charlie 'ook". Everyone does, including the narrator, from that point on.
  • Inverted by Sergeant Thibodeaux in Peter Benchley's Q Clearance. The protagonist pronounces it Tee-boe-doe the first time they meet, only to be corrected: "It's Tibby-doo. Pappy used to say, "'tain't my fault some Frog got into granny's jammies."
  • In Rain of the Ghosts, Rain discovers that her last name, Cacique, is the Taino word for "chief," but it's noted that her family has always pronounced it the French way ("kah-SEEK") rather than the Spanish way that's considered more correct.
  • Perhaps inspiring the Count de Money mentioned above, the novel The Red and the Black has a character named the Comte de Thaler (thaler as in the German word that became "dollar") who is a Lawyer-Friendly Cameo of one of the Rothschilds and whose German name would be pronounced "Thalay" in France.
  • In Sorcerer Conjurer Wizard Witch, the society hostess Margery Device pronounces her name "Davis" (Catriona suspects her of doing it just to be obstreperous). Also, there is an institution dating back to the time of the first Queen Elizabeth which is called the Mausoleum, pronounced "by tradition, 'Mouse-o-lay-um' not 'Maws-o-lee-um'".
  • In Wolf Hall, when Thomas Cromwell first meets Thomas Wriothesley, Wriothsely tells him stuffily to "Call me Risley". After that, there's a running joke in the series wherein Cromwell exclusively refers to Wriothesley as "Call me Risley" or just "Call me" when speaking about him to his protegees, and actually nicknames Wriothesley "Call me".

    Live-Action TV 
  • 30 Rock
    • Jack says he can't remember the name of the black kid on Community. Liz informs him it's Don-AHLD Glover.
    • At one point Toofer gets put in the writers' punishment corner because he said, "Time to end the char-ahd and adjust my shed-ule to buy a new vahse."
  • Warren Buffett has appeared several times on All My Children since the early 90s. Opal always pronounces it Warren BOO-fay.
  • An episode of America's Funniest Home Videos featured a young boy complaining to his father who is insistent on pronouncing carrots as "cay-rots".
  • Parodied in a sketch on A Bit of Fry and Laurie, featuring a man whose last name is pronounced by dropping an object onto a desk. "It's as it sounds." It's spelled Nippl-hyphen-e. He's very offended when called "Mr. Nipple." Worse, his address (22 ..., King's Lynn) "..." is pronounced by doing a soft-shoe dance step and slapping you in the face.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine:
    • Ed Helms' character Jack Danger, who insists that it's pronounced "donger". Jake sees this as an inversion of the trope; Awesome McCoolname pronouncing his name in a dorky way.
    • "Skyfire Cycle":
      Gina: Why is it in Butt-Thumb, Iowa?
      Boyle: It's pronounced Boot-Hume.
  • CSI: The lawyer appearing in "Two and a Half Death" was called Stuart Little. He insisted his last name was pronounced as LIE-Tell.
  • CNNNN has Simon Target, pronounced "Tar-JAY".
  • The Colbert Report
    • The show's title is pronounced "Cole-BARE re-PORE." In one of the early ads for the show, Colbert tries to justify it by saying, "It's French, bitch!" Colbert himself has said that the pronunciation is a way for us to tell the difference between his real personality (by pronouncing the T) and his stage personality (not pronouncing it). However, in reality, his family used both pronunciations.note  Colbert had started using the alternative (T-less) pronunciation in college, using it before, during, and after the show's run.
    • Inverted when one segment included Stephen's intern, Ja-Mès. ("It's pronounced 'James'.")
  • In the second "Comics Come Home" stand-up special, Eddie Brill was talking about hockey player Patrick Roy, which is pronounced "Patrick Rwa".
    Eddie: Your name is "Roy", pal, cut the crap.
  • In Community, Britta insists the proper pronunciation for bagel is "BAG-uhl". This is in a Minnesota accent. Shirley had a tendency to emphasize the second syllable when saying her name ("Bri-TAH").
  • Death in Paradise: In "The Perfect Murder", the snooty governor-elect of the neighbouring island Anton Burrage insists that his surname is pronounced "Bur-RAJ". The commissioner, who has known and despised Burrage for decades, says it is pronounced "Borridge" (rhyming with porridge).
  • Drake & Josh
    • Inverted when during a rainstorm, Josh's dad tells off one of a myriad houseguests for pronouncing "touché" with the correct French pronunciation (or at least the English approximation of the French pronunciation).
      "It's pronounced TOOSH!"
    • In yet another episode he is unable to pronounce the word "fuselage" read from a manual, coming as close as saying "Fu-sell-ah-gee". In this same episode he keeps pronouncing "cone" as "con".
  • Family Matters:
    • Mr. Looney ("Loo-NAY. It's French."). This one actually would be pronounced like that in French, though the French dub simply uses the US pronunciation for all names anyway.
    • Steve Urkel's "cool" transformation, Stefan Urquelle.
    • Remember the episode where the whole family goes to Disneyland? Eddie and Waldo get lost along the way and wind up in Canada, which Waldo claims is called "Kin-a-dah".
  • In an episode of Frasier, after a family embarrassment, Niles Crane's wife Maris tries to save face by adding an accent to the "e" of her name on her memos, so that her name is read as Maris Crah-NAY.
  • In one episode of Gilmore Girls, Luke's daughter suggests they go to "Tar-jhey" to spruce up his apartment. Luke thinks it sounds like too classy of a place for him, but agrees to go. She tries to put him at ease by telling him it's a jokey-sophisticated way of saying "Target," but he's still not familiar with it.
  • One The Golden Girls episode had a character who insisted his name, Pfeiffer, was actually "Puh-Feiffer" with the P pronounced.
  • A police officer in Good Luck Charlie claims that his name is pronounced "SNOO-TAY".
  • Goodness Gracious Me
    • In the "Going out for an English" sketch, British mangling of foreign names is parodied by their insistence on calling the waiter "Jam-ess".
    • Conversely, a recurring sketch features two couples, the Kapoors and Rabindranaths, who are trying to be terribly, terribly British, and insist their names are pronounced "Cooper" and "Robinson".
  • In an episode of Happy Endings, the gang meets their old friend Shershow's fiance, and this exchange occurs.
    Melinda: I am so happy that you guys were able to make it on such short notice. I'm leaving next week to deliver solar ovens to Hondooras.
    Max: Wow, Shershow, you hit it out of the park. She's both beautiful and says Honduras the fancy way.
  • An episode of Harry Enfield and Chums had unintelligent regular characters Wayne and Waynetta Slob discussing whether or not to name their baby daughter "Spudulike" (after a UK fast food chain that sells baked potatoes). Waynetta said "It's Spu-DU-li-ka - it's exotic".
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • Barney's obvious alias of "Jack Package" when he visits the matchmaker's is given a paper-thin disguise by pronouncing it "pack-aahj".
    • "Dear Ted; It's 'encycloPEdia,' not 'encycloPAYdia.' Why must you always pronounce things in the most pretentious way possible? It makes you sound douchey, and that's 'douchey', not 'douCHAY.'" ("encyclopaedia" is a real alternate spelling, but Ted's mistake is thinking it's pronounced to match. "ae" is actually a printers' shortcut for the letter ash, æ, which in English is usually an "eeh" sound, as in æether, dæmon, archæology, encyclopædia, mediæval...)
  • In the In Living Color! skit "Spike's Joint", Spike Lee (Tommy Davidson) tells his sister Joie (T'Keyah Crystal Keymah) that now that they're back in Brooklyn, her name is pronounced "Joy", not "Jwah".
    "It's not Jac-KAY (Jackée), all right? It's JACKIE. It's not Shah-DAY (Sade), all right? It's SADIE! What you gonna call me next, Spi-kay?"
  • On MLB Network's show Intentional Talk, a running gag arises from the multiple ways to pronounce the "Got Heeeeem!"note  segment. Variations have included "Got Him", "Goatem", "Got Hema", "Gotta Himma", and many more especially that the segment is now usually preceded by a fan or MLB player saying the segment's title.
  • The IT Crowd:
    • In "The Haunting of Bill Crouse", Moss, on Spanish-themed small-plate dining: "It's pronounced, 'TAPE-ass'."
    • Moss also recommends Jen his favourite pasta place for a date, calling it "Messigio's" — it turns out to be a noisy, brightly-coloured family restaurant named Messy Joe's.
  • One of the jokes on Kath & Kim involved the "correct" pronunciation of "Chardonnay" as "CAR-d'nay", because "it's French: the H is silent".
  • Hyacinth Bucket from Keeping Up Appearances, who insists that her surname is pronounced 'Bouquet' (as in flowers). Her husband Richard—whose family name it actually is—is fine with being called 'Bucket' (provided that Hyacinth isn't around, that is).
  • Key & Peele inverts this in the substitute teacher sketch - a black Inner City School teacher subs in for a class full of suburban white kids, and when taking attendance pronounces every kid's name in overstyled Ghetto Name fashion, because those are the kinds of names he's used to. For example, "Jacqueline" becomes "JayKwelle", and "Aaron" becomes "A. A. Ron". He becomes angered when the kids fail to recognize their names being called, and even more so when they correct his pronunciation, thinking they must be pranking him because nobody could ever have such ridiculous sounding names. The exception is the only black student in the class, who is the only one shown to understand him and respond when called (Timothy, pronounced by the sub "Ti-MO-thy").
  • Married... with Children: Kelly meets the man who made her parents' couch. His name is "Mary" but he corrected her, insisting it's "Mar-AY". She then comments about being Bus-AY.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 tends to have a field day with this.
    • In The Pumaman, Donald Pleasence's character keeps pronouncing the hero's name as "Pyew-ma" Man, leading to Mike and the Bots to launching into various mocking riffs.
    • The Hamlet episode has Tom renaming himself "Htom Serveaux", leading Crow to reply in frustration, "Hey, Htom, why don't you hlick me?"
    • On a short dealing with winter sports, the announcer says that skiing is correctly pronounced "she-ing" - Joel replies "Yeah? Well, you're full of skit!" Tom reads the title card "Cross Country Sheing Amid Skenes of Winter Magnifishence in Sanada's Shnow-Sovered Playgroundshs!"
  • One episode of The Nanny had Maxwell Sheffield pronouncing Fran Fine's surname as "fee-NAY" in an attempt to impress his grandmother.
  • Nanny and the Professor: Following the custom mentioned atop this page, Nanny's old friend "Mr. Cholmondeley Featherstonehaugh" pronounces his name "Chumly Fenshaw".
  • Rik Mayall's character on The New Statesman, Alan Bastard, spells his surname "b'Stard" just to make sure everyone pronounces it the way he prefers.
  • On the Singaporean parody TV show The Noose, news correspondent Jacques Ooi subverts this by insisting that his first name be pronounced "Jackass".
  • Oliver Trask uses this to woo Marissa Cooper in The O.C., pronouncing mojito and crudités with a Spanish and French inflection, respectively.
  • Discussed in an episode of Phua Chu Kang, a Singaporean comedy series (which often pokes fun at the English standards of modern-day Singaporeans), when Margaret, who often considers herself an aficionado of the English language, finds out she's been mispronouncing the name of her son, Aloysius, for his entire life (that it should be read as "A-low-ih-shus" instead of "A-loy-si-us"). Cue Margaret enforcing the entire family to call Aloysius using the former pronunciation for the rest of the episode, even telling Aloysius to "correct" his college mates until a frustrated Aloysius decide to do an impromptu survey by calling twenty different Aloysiuses all over Singapore via a phonebook to get their opinions on how their names should be pronounced.
  • Dippe from PJ Katie's Farm. It's pronounced DEE-PAY.
  • QI:
    • Parodied in one episode; after Rich Hall suggested the existence of a town called "Satanismymaster-on-Rye", Bill Bailey claimed that the correct pronunciation was "Simster".
    • Another episode had Lee Mack genuinely mispronouncing J. K. Rowling's surname to rhyme with howling, with Stephen correcting him by saying "It's 'Rowling' like 'bowling'." Lee turns this into a running gag, suggesting that he and Adam should go "boweling" later.
  • In the third and final episode of Rock & Chips, prequel to Only Fools and Horses, "The Frog and the Pussycat", Freddie Robdal manages to allay Joannie Trotter's (perfectly correct) suspicion that a diamond ring in a box from "Margate Jewellers" is stolen from a jeweller's shop in Margate by claiming it is the work of a French jeweler pronounced "Mar-jay".
  • Russel Berger on Royal Pains pronounces his last name "Ber-jay" in a very posh French accent. Except for when he gets fired from his job as an interior designer, in which case he pronounces it like "burger" until he's given a freelance job, in which case he goes back to the French.
  • Saturday Night Live One sketch involved a couple trying to decide on a name for their expected child; the husband ends up rejecting practically every common name because it's too prone to being mocked. It's revealed at the end of the sketch that the husband's name is "Asswipe"... pronounced "ahs-WEE-pay".
  • Scorpion: In "Rogue Element", Happy uses Cabe Gallow's ID to gain access to crime scene. When the cop on duty asks her what kind of name Cabe is, Happy (who is Asian) claims that it's pronounced "Kar-Be" and that it's Korean.
  • The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer: The title character's surname is pronounced "puh-fifer" because "the p isn't silent."
  • Summer Heights High Jamie Louise King adds an apostrophe to her name “in year 8”, and becomes Ja’mie. Pronounced “Juh-May”.
  • As seen on an episode of Tennessee Crossroads, the proprietor of Richard's Café, a creole restaurant in Nashville, pronounces his name "Ri-SHARD", as in the French.
  • Torchwood mentions the "estate agent pronunciation" of the Cardiff district of Splott. "Splowe" is a reasonable approximation of the estate agent pronunciation.
  • Inverted in a sketch on The Two Ronnies where one character very carefully pronounces a newcomer's name as 'de Ath', only to be cheerfully told that it is, in fact, pronounced 'Death'.
  • Played for Laughs (of course) on Whose Line Is It Anyway? when they act out a scene like an ancient Greek drama—Greg immediately addresses Ryan as "Testicles" (pronounced "Test-i-clees").
  • In a 2020 episode of her cooking show, Nigella Lawson pronounced the word "microwave" as "mee-kro-wah-vay". This led to many on social media thinking that she was either being excessively posh or legitimately didn't know how the word was pronounced, but she insisted it was Played for Laughs.

  • The classic novelty song "Yes, We Have No Bananas" is built around this trope:
    Yes, we have no bananas
    We have no bananas today
    We have string beans and HUN-ionsnote 
    Ca-BAH-jessnote  and scallions
    And all kinds of fruit to say
    We have an old-fashioned to-MAH-tonote 
    A Long Island po-TAH-tonote 
    But yes! We have no bananas
    We have no bananas today!

  • The Neighborhood Listen: Cohost Burnt Millipede's surname is pronounced "MEE-yuh-PAY-day." No one ever acknowledges that it's spelled the same as the bug.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Old-school announcer Gordon Solie, trying to class things up, would pronounce "Suplex" as "Souplay". (It's pronounced "souplay" in amateur wrestling, partly because of the sport's European origins.)

    Puppet Shows 
  • In a story from The Book of Pooh called "Chez Piglet," Rabbit convinces Piglet to open a restaurant called Chez Piglet, pronounced "Chay Piglay." He sings a song about all of the dishes being served at the restaurant, ending with "peanut butter and jel-lay."

  • The Unbelievable Truth: When Henning Wehn (who is German) mispronounces The Flintstones as "Flin-stuhns", the other panellists remark that he sounds like he's talking about an incredibly posh version of the show. Discussion moves on to whether Barney Rubble's name would therefore be "Rue-bleh" (Henning gets back at them by providing Barney's actual name in German translations).

  • Pop/Buddy does this all throughout We Will Rock You, most memorably with "Harley-Davidson" and "video tape".

    Video Games 
  • Clone from Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky is pronounced clo-ney. An accent on the e would've helped there.
  • Bravely Default: when the party reaches Florem, Edea talks about keeping up with the latest trends and what it means to be "fashionaaaabluh", insistently correcting her allies every time they say "fashionable" instead.
  • Charmles in Dragon Quest VIII refers to himself as "Sharm-LAY". He's the only one who does — everyone calls him "CHARM-ulz", or Charmless when he's not looking. Even his own father.
  • Fallout: New Vegas: The main villains of the game are Caesar's Legion, led by the eponymous Caesar. He and his Legion use the Latin pronunciation of Kai-Sar, while his enemies (and most people who don't speak Latin) use the standard modern See-Zur pronunciation.
  • Marquis David from The Last Remnant goes by "Dah-veed", although Rush gets away with calling him Dave.
  • In Skullgirls, Big Band may claim that his name is pronounced with a silent D, as in “Big BAN”, if his Saxploitation voice pack is equipped.

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner
    • Strong Bad does this constantly when reading his e-mails. He did this for Illinois ("Eel-ee-nwah"). He also calls Texas "Tejas", pronounces "California" the Spanish way, etc. "Eel-ee-nwah" is pretty much how it's pronounced in French, though. It's a French adaptation of an Algonquin word. The silent 's' was definitely added by the French. It was probably pronounced something like "Eel-ee-nee-weh".
    • He also (at least once) pronounced Ohio "OH-HEE-OH". This could be a subtle, running gag about him making just as many goofs as he corrects in his SB-Emails or a part of his oft-childish personality and his accent.
    • In another episode he read "Kelly, USA" as "Kelly Usa" and referred to her as an "exotic lady from the far east".
    • Strong Bad has also poked fun at this, noting that pronouncing "garbage" as "gar-BAGHE" is like, the one joke moms have.
    • In "Donut Unto Others", Bubs deliberately invokes this trope by having his mass-produced doughnuts shipped from a third-world country named "Homemáde" (pronounced "Ho-muh-mah-day") just so he could legally print "From Homemade" on his boxes, allowing unsuspecting customers to make their own assumptions.
    • Strong Sad is another frequent offender, such as saying "ah-NEE-may" instead of "anime" in "Trogdorcon '97" or "shah-pah-RONE" instead of "chaperone" in "senior prom". In "Fan Costumes 2020", Strong Bad even calls him out on his habit of "try-to-pronounce-foreign-words-authentically-but-not-do-a-very-good-job-of-it".
  • In the first episode of ZTV News, the update series for adult website ZONE ARCHIVE, mascot ZONE-Tan insists her name is pronounced "ZONE-Tonne", much to the narrator's annoyance.

    Web Comics 

  • Used many times by SF Debris:
    • Pulaski's insistence on mispronouncing "Day-ta" as "Da-tuh". Chuck notes this is akin to calling the ship the USS Enter-prez-say.
    • Pokes fun at the early attempts to highlight Chakotay as a Native American with an "ethnic" pronunciation of his name.
      Torres: I've never found your twisted sense of humour funny, Cha-KOT-ay.
      Chuck: Did she just call him "Chocolate Day"?

    Web Videos 
  • Pretty much the entire point of Pronunciation Book.
  • A running joke in the "Jack and Dean" videos involves Dean pronouncing Facebook "Fack-ee-book" for the sole purpose of annoying Jack.
  • In Retsupurae, a running gag is that Slowbeef will pronounce Mario's name "Mehrio", and has sometimes "corrected" himself when pronouncing it in the conventional manner.
  • Nerd³ regularly mispronounces certain words deliberately (usually). Regulars include pronouncing gym as 'gime', and refusing to learn the correct pronunciation of 'cassowary' in his Far Cry 3 Let's Play.
  • When pronouncing ".GIF" ("giff" or "jiff"?), PBS Idea Channel prefers "ʒɑɪf".
  • During The Angry Video Game Nerd's review of various Beavis and Butt-Head games, he wonders what kind of parents would ever name their child "Butt-head", speculating that perhaps they intended it to be pronounced "Buh-theed". Later, after finally figuring out what to do for a minor Guide Dang It! moment, he sarcastically quips "Silly me! I'm such a shi-theed!".
  • PlayStation Access: To them, the word "cliche" sounds like a snooty way someone would insist you say a last name.
  • Inverted in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, where the classily named Kaiba Corp Grand Prix tournament (normally pronounced Grande Pree) is deliberately pronounced Grand Pricks. This is because when Kaiba was fishing for a tournament name, he asked Roland for a name that "had the Kaiba brothers written all over it."
  • Fact Fiend: In the video about Gordon Ramsey's quest to get a third Michelin star, Karl has an aside about the pronunciation of Michelin. Everyone he knows pronounces Michelin (the tire company) as a very British "mitch-uh-lin", but pronounces Michelin (the maker of the posh restaurant guide) as a rather French "meesh-eh-leen"—even though it's the same company doing both.
  • Done as a gag in the Folding Ideas video "Contrepreneurs", where Dan chooses "Brad Default" as his pseudonym for his experiments with "the Mikkelsen method", pronouncing it as "DeFoe".

    Western Animation 
  • In the Looney Tunes short "To Hare Is Human", Wile E. Coyote introduces himself to Bugs Bunny as "Wile E. Coy-OH-Tay".
  • King of the Hill:
    • Rad Thibodeaux, a "self-proclaimed genius", pronounces his last name as "Thib-odd-ay-oks-ss" (Yes, he adds an extra "ss" sound that you wouldn't even get from reading the name phonetically in English). This leads to Hank attempting to correct him (Thibodeaux is French — a very common Cajun name pronounced like Hank says):
      Hank: Isn't that pronounced "Tib-uh-doh"?
      Rad: Well, you know, sometimes, by mistake.
    • Peggy's inability to speak Spanish is frequently shown by her pronouncing Spanish words as if they were English (such as saying llamo as "lamo" instead of "yamo") or pronouncing non-Spanish words as if they were Spanish (like pronouncing "Iwo Jima" as "Iwo He-ma").
  • The Simpsons:
    • Marge's country club friends Karennote , Gilliannote , Elizabethnote , Patricianote , Robertanote , and Susannote  all pronounced their names differently than the norm.
    • There's also Krabappel which is pronounced "Cruh-BAH-pull". Despite coming up with numerous insulting nicknames for her, none of her students ever think to call her "crab-apple" until season 15. In one episode, there's a set-up where Homer is surprised at hearing the correct pronunciation of her name, only for him to cry "I've been calling her 'Krandall'!"
    • And again when Bart corrects Homer on the pronunciation of "party", insisting that it's "par-TAY".
    • "The Boy Who Knew Too Much" had an argument between Freddy Quimby and a French waiter over whether "chowder" was pronounced "CHOW-dah" or "shau-DAIR". It reached the point where Freddy apparently beat up the waiter, then threatened to kill the jury in the resulting court case.
    • In the episode "The Heartbroke Kid", Bart mispronounces cottage cheese as "cotta-hey cheese" when he sees Marge has bought a tub of it. In the Quebec French dub, he mispronounces it as "crottage" for extra Toilet Humour points ("crotte" bringing to mind poop).
  • Jay from The Critic st one point runs into a pimply, squeaky-voiced young counter jockey whose name tag reads "Pizzaface", which is indignantly corrected as "Pizza-FAH-chay!" when Jay pronounces it phonetically.
  • Parodied on Drawn Together, during one of their finales when Captain Hero corrected the host saying "It's pronounced Kap-ee-Tahn. The Hero is silent." This is also a reference to Captain Hero's behavior after his last name, Shero, is revealed. It's pronounced "Hero", the "S" is silent.
  • Family Guy
    • When Peter goes to an ultra-posh auction house surrounded of the wealthiest elite, he says "It would look really good in Lois's crapper... I mean, krah-pee-AY." This pronunciation is immediately corroborated. "Oh yes, I would simply love that in my crapier!"
    • In "How the Griffin Stole Christmas" Brian says he was dating a cool girl named "Cow-ooch" but Stewie says he was just saying "couch" in a strange way.
    • While Stewie can pronounce "Wil" and "Wheaton" properly, when he puts them together it becomes "Hwil Hwheaton."
  • Done in an episode of The Proud Family, where Penny gains a case of Acquired Situational Narcissism and insists on "Penn-AY".
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated has George Avocados who always corrects the pronunciation to "uh-VOK-a-doce". It doesn't stick.
  • Timon & Pumbaa once met a suspicious-looking raccoon named Thief who insists that his name is pronounced "thife" (rhymes with "life").
  • The Boondocks
    • It's not "Uncle Ruckus", it's "Uncle Ruckuu". Because it's French.
    • Also an inversion: Robert is pulled over by one Officer Douche. Despite being high, Robert has the presence of mind to call him "Doo-shay." Except the officer's name is pronounced the way it looks.
  • South Park: Lampshaded in the episode "Margaritaville," starting out with a clerk in a store called Sur La Table, which he pronounced tāb-lé, and running with it the whole episode whenever various words ending in 'able' were used by that character.
  • On Clifford the Big Red Dog, there was a story in which Jetta read Emily Elizabeth's private journal and was led to believe that Emily Elizabeth was going to Hawaii by reading one of her made-up stories. She kept dropping all sorts of hints about Hawaii to Emily Elizabeth, but kept pronouncing it in a really pompous way, with the accent heavily on the second syllable.
  • In the Codename: Kids Next Door episode Operation B.R.I.D.G.E. there's a clothing store that sell extremely embarrassing kids' clothing called Les Sissy (It's pronounced Sis-SAY).
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "The Best Night Ever", Pinkie Pie tries to adapt to an upper class party.
    Pinkie Pie: Ooooh. They don't want to party. These ponies want to par-TAY!
  • An episode of Goof Troop had Goofy taking a class at the local community center to learn how to be a mime. His instructor, who spoke with an affected New England-type accent, insisted on pronouncing the word "mimes" as "meems" (which, in his defense, is the correct pronunciation in French, with the exception of the s being silent.
  • In Fantastic Max, a character is named "Fatso" but insists on his name being pronounced "Fah-ZO", as the T is silent.
  • Rick and Morty: Since season 6, the titular duo and their family live in an alternate timeline where 'parmesan' is pronounced 'parm-ee-zian'. Yeah, they hate it too, but they get used to it by the next season.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In the episode "Squid Plus One" Squidward gets an invitation to a party where he can invite one guest. The invitation says "Squidward Tentacles plus one" which he pronounces as "Ploo-zon-ay" and figures the sender got his name wrong with extra words tacked on.
    • In "Larry the Floor Manager", Bubble Bass holds up the line at the Krusty Krab by specifying the correct pronounciation of "gouda": not "goo-duh", but "how-ooh-duh".
  • Wander over Yonder: In "The New Toy", Hater pronounces his H.A.T.E.R.V. vehicle as "Hate RV". When Peepers cuts in that it should technically be pronounced as "Haterv", Hater insists on the former.

Alternative Title(s): Fancy French Name, Fauxreign Pronounciation, Insistent Pretentious Pronunciation


Dominic Badguy

It's pronounced Bad-Gee (it's French!).

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / PretentiousPronunciation

Media sources: