Famous Names You’re Probably Famously Mispronouncing

October 12, 2018

In which Uncle John corrects widespread grammatical and language abominations. Here are a few celebrity names that you may be pronouncing wrong.

Martin Scorsese

You can use a pneumonic device with this one to remember that the director’s last name is not pronounced “score-says-he.” When it comes to award nominations, Martin “scores easy.”

Demi Lovato and Demi Moore

The pop star and movie star, respectively, have the same name—Demi is short for Demitria. However, they pronounce it differently. Lovato prefers “DEM-ee,” while Moore goes with “duh-MEE.”


She’s one of the biggest pop stars in the world, and yet even her collaborators can’t pronounce her name correctly. (Maybe that’s why she sometimes goes by “Ri-Ri.”) In her #1 hit, “Umbrella,” Jay-Z raps a verse and says, “Rihanna where you at,” saying it “ree-AW-nuh.” It’s actually “ree-ANN-uh.”

Henry Cavill

You wouldn’t want to mispronounce the name of Superman, would you? Most media outlets call him Henry “CAY-vill,” but that’s wrong—it’s actually “CAH-vill.”

Gal Gadot

You wouldn’t want to mispronounce the name of Wonder Woman, would you? Her name is widely mispronounced, usually as “guh-DOTE” or “guh-DOE.” The right way: “gad-DOTT.”

Ralph Fiennes

Maybe he won the role of Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter movies because he could relate to having a consistently mispronounced name. “Rafe Fines”—not “Ralph Finn-ess” played Voldemort, which is supposed to be said with a dropped T, as in “Voldemore.”

Charlize Theron

Should you ever need to address the Oscar-winning action star, sound out her name as “shar-LEEZ THAIR-enn.”

Nikola Tesla

 The legendary scientist is the namesake for Elon Musk’s Tesla car company. Both man and business are pronounced with a “z” sound, not an “s” sound—so “TEZ-luh,” and not “TESS-luh.”

Saoirse Ronan

The star of Lady Bird has a traditional Irish last name that’s very common on the Emerald Isle. But it’s a little obscure everywhere else. It’s not “say-oh-irz” or something like that”—it’s pronounced “sur-sha.” When Ronan hosted Saturday Night Live, she sang a little song about how to say her name correctly.