U.S.

Winning Spelling Bee word among most mispronounced on American TV

Several singers and a famous boyfriend of a singer were among those who also had their names frequently mispronounced.

Dev Shah wins the 2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Dev Shah wins the 2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Craig Hudson / Scripps National Spelling Bee.
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What are the words that newsreaders, politicians, public figures and others on live television most frequently mispronounced in 2023? For the eighth year, Babbel commissioned the Captioning Group to analyze the mispronounced words on live television. 

This year's list included a politician, entertainers, an athlete and the winning word from this year's Spelling Bee. 

At the Scripps National Spelling Bee in June, Dev Shah correctly spelled "psammophile." Merriam-Webster defines the word as "an organism that prefers or thrives in sandy soils or areas." 

The word is pronounced SAM-uh-file. Shah seemed to spell the word easily after pronouncer Jacques Bailly said "psammophile." 

Scripps National Spelling Bee champ shares winning experience
Scripps National Spelling Bee champ shares winning experience

Scripps National Spelling Bee champ shares winning experience

Dev Shah, a 14-year-old from Largo, Florida, won the Scripps National Spelling Bee by correctly spelling the word "psammophile."

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The list also includes many names, including singer SZA [SIZ-uh], "American Idol" winner Iam Tongi [Ee-am DONG-ee], Irish actor Cillian Murphy [KI-lee-uhn], Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy [Vih-VAKE Rah-mah-SWAH-me], Karl Lagerfeld's cat Choupette [SHOO-pet] and football player Travis Kelce [Kels]. 

Don't feel bad if you have been mispronouncing Kelce's name. Even Travis and his brother Jason Kelce were unaware of the proper pronunciation of their last name until they were in their 20s, believing it has two syllables. 

"I got tired of correcting people,” their father Ed Kelce said on the Kelce brothers' podcast "New Heights." 

Jason Kelce asked their father, “Should we go by Kels or Kel-see?”

“Do whatever you want; I did,” Ed Kelce responded.

Also on the list were Enceladus [En-SEH-luh-duhs], the sixth-largest moon of Saturn; Popocatépetl [Poh-poh-kah-TEH-peh-til], a dangerous Mexican volcano; and Kīlauea [Kee-lou-EY-uh], the Hawaiian volcano that last erupted in September.

"There’s no shame in struggling with a word, and practice truly makes perfect," said Babbel teacher Malcolm Massey. "We should never fear being taken outside of our linguistic comfort zones: our world grows more global with each passing year and these words reflect this. From significant political, cultural, and even cosmic events, language continues to evolve to reflect real-world moments."