List of Difficult Words in English to Pronounce | PDF

Difficult Words in English to Pronounce

English is a rich and diverse language, but it’s no secret that its pronunciation can be challenging, even for native speakers. Many factors contribute to the complexity of English pronunciation, such as phonetics, word stress, intonation, and syllable division. In this article, we will explore some of the most difficult words to pronounce in English and provide tips on improving your pronunciation skills.

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Difficult Words to Pronounce

Here’s a list of difficult words in English to pronounce, along with their IPA pronunciation and a brief meaning:

Word Pronounced as Meaning
Accolade AK-uh-lade Honor or award
Anemone uh-NEM-uh-nee Type of flower
Archive AR-kahyv Collection of records
Benghazi ben-GAH-zee City in Libya
Bough bow Branch of a tree
Bouillon bool-YON Clear broth
Cacophony kuh-KAH-fuh-nee Harsh noise
Capricious kuh-PRISH-uhs Impulsive or unpredictable
Chameleon kuh-MEEL-yuhn Color-changing reptile
Chthonic THON-ik Related to the underworld
Debris duh-BREE Scattered fragments
Dichotomy dahy-KAH-tuh-mee Division into two
Discombobulate dis-kuhm-BAH-byuh-layt Confuse or perplex
Epiphany ih-PIF-uh-nee Sudden realization
Epitome ih-PIT-uh-mee Perfect example
Euphoria yoo-FOH-ree-uh Intense happiness
Facade fuh-SAHD False front
Flamboyant flam-BOI-uhnt Showy or extravagant
Fuchsia FYOO-shuh Pink-purple color
Gist jist Essence
Gnocchi NYOH-kee Italian dumplings
Gregarious grih-GAIR-ee-uhs Sociable or outgoing
Hierarchy HY-uhr-ahr-kee Ranking system
Hors d’oeuvre or-DURV Appetizer
Inchoate in-KOH-eyt Rudimentary
Indict in-DYT Accuse formally
Ineffable in-EF-uh-buhl Indescribable or inexpressible
Jaundice JAWN-dis Yellowing of skin
Juxtapose juhk-stuh-POHZ Place side by side
Juxtaposition juhk-stuh-puh-ZISH-uhn Side by side
Kaleidoscope kuh-LY-duh-skohp Colorful pattern viewer
Kerfuffle ker-FUHF-uhl Commotion or fuss
Knack nak Skill
Labyrinth LAB-uh-rinth Maze
Languid LANG-gwid Relaxed or lacking energy
Liaison lee-AY-zahn Connection
Maelstrom MEYL-strahm Whirlpool
Mellifluous muh-LIF-loo-uhs Sweet-sounding or melodious
Mnemonic ni-MON-ik Memory aid
Nihilism NYE-uh-liz-uhm Belief in the absence of meaning
Nougat NOO-guht Confectionery
Nuisance NOO-suhns Annoyance
Opaque oh-PAYK Not transparent
Ostracize OS-truh-syz Exclude or banish
Otorhinolaryngology OH-toh-rye-noh-LAR-uhn-GOL-uh-jee Ear, nose, and throat specialist
Perennial puh-REN-ee-uhl Long-lasting
Pernicious pur-NISH-uhs Harmful or destructive
Pneumonia noo-MOH-nee-uh Lung infection
Quinoa KEEN-wah Grain-like seed
Quintessential kwin-tuh-SEN-shuhl Representing the perfect example
Quixotic kwik-SOT-ik Idealistic but impractical
Rapport ra-POR Connection
Rendezvous RON-duh-voo Meeting point
Resilient ri-ZIL-yuhnt Able to recover quickly
Schadenfreude SHAH-dn-froy-duh Pleasure from others’ misfortune
Serendipity ser-uhn-DIP-uh-tee Unexpected fortunate discovery
Surreptitious suh-rup-TISH-uhs Secret
Tchotchke CHAHCH-kuh Small decorative item
Tryst trist Secret meeting
Tumultuous too-MUHL-choo-uhs Chaotic or disorderly
Ubiquitous yoo-BI-kwuh-tuhs Everywhere
Ukulele yoo-kuh-LAY-lee Small guitar-like instrument
Verbose ver-BOHS Wordy
Vexation vek-SAY-shuhn Annoyance or frustration
Vignette vin-YET Short descriptive scene
Whimsical HWIM-zi-kuhl Playfully quirky or fanciful
Whistleblower WIS-uhl-bloh-er Informant exposing wrongdoing
Wistful WIST-fuhl Yearning
Xenial ZEE-nee-uhl Hospitable
Xenophobia ZEN-uh-FOH-bee-uh Fear of foreigners
Yacht yaht Luxury boat
Yearn yurn Long or pine for
Yggdrasil IG-druh-sil Mythological tree
Zealot ZEL-uht Fanatic
Zephyr ZEF-er Gentle breeze

Tips for Improving English Pronunciation

Improving your English pronunciation is a great way to enhance your communication skills. Here are some practical tips to help you along this journey:

  • Listen Carefully: Immerse yourself in the language by listening to native speakers. This could be through movies, TV shows, podcasts, or conversation. Pay close attention to how words are pronounced in different contexts.
  • Practice Phonetics: Understanding the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) for English can be incredibly helpful. This will allow you to see how words are supposed to be pronounced, regardless of how they are spelled.
  • Repeat and Mimic: Try to mimic the pronunciation of native speakers. Repeat after them, either along with a recording or using language learning apps that focus on pronunciation.
  • Use a Mirror: Watching yourself speak can help you understand and adjust how you use your mouth and lips to form sounds. Some sounds might require more lip rounding or a different tongue position than you’re used to.
  • Slow Down: Speaking slowly at first can help you focus on the pronunciation of each word. As you become more comfortable, you can gradually increase your speed.
  • Record and Listen to Yourself: Recording yourself can be enlightening. You may not notice pronunciation mistakes while speaking, but they can become obvious when you listen to a recording of your speech.
  • Focus on Problem Sounds: Certain sounds might be more difficult for you depending on your native language. Focus specifically on these sounds. For instance, many learners struggle with the “th” sounds in English.
  • Learn to Stress Words Correctly: English is a stress-timed language, which means that some syllables are longer, and others are quieter and quicker. Getting the stress patterns right can improve your intelligibility significantly.
  • Use Pronunciation Tools: There are numerous apps and online tools designed specifically for pronunciation practice. These can provide immediate feedback and help you to practice consistently.
  • Engage in Conversations: Practice speaking with native speakers or other learners. Real-life conversations will challenge you to use your pronunciation skills in a dynamic and often unpredictable environment.
  • Get Feedback: If possible, get feedback from a teacher or a native speaker. They can provide valuable insights into areas where you can improve.
  • Be Patient and Persistent: Improving pronunciation takes time and regular practice. Don’t get discouraged by initial difficulties.


Q1: Are there any shortcuts to improve pronunciation quickly?

A1: There are no instant shortcuts, but regular practice, mimicking native speakers, focusing on individual sounds, and seeking feedback from a tutor or language partner can expedite your pronunciation improvement.

Q2: How long does it usually take to improve English pronunciation?

A2: The time it takes to improve English pronunciation varies depending on various factors such as your native language, language learning background, practice frequency, and individual aptitude. It is a gradual process that can take several months to years of consistent practice and exposure to the language.

Difficult Words in English to Pronounce Difficult Words in English to Pronounce Difficult Words to Pronounce

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