Language Experts Reveal 10 Brand Names You've Been Pronouncing Wrong This Whole Time

This is how to get it right.

You see them everywhere—from omnipresent ads to drugstore shelves. But you're not exactly sure how to pronounce them. If you face this fundamental insecurity when it comes to some of the world's most popular fashion and beauty brands, you're not alone. Like really not alone. Language experts recently compiled a list of the brands people most frequently search for pronunciation guidance. Read on to find out what they are, and how to untie your tongue when referencing them.

1
The Most Mispronounced Fashion Brand

Hermès store
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The Daily Mail reports that the online language instruction platform Preply analyzed Google Search data for 300 of the most prominent fashion and beauty brands and determined the top 10 that are most commonly mispronounced.

The most uncertainly pronounced fashion brand is Hermès: each month, 8,100 people search for "how to pronounce Hermès or 'how to say Hermès.' The French luxury retailer is pronounced "EHR-mez."

2
Do You Really Know How to Pronounce "Versace?"

Versace company logo on t-shirt.
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Number two in the fashion space is Louis Vuitton, which leads to 7,080 pronunciation searches every month. The correct pronunciation is "Lou-ee VWEE-tah-n."

Number three is Versace (5,120 monthly searches). Cult movie fans will remember that the brand's pronunciation made for a memorable moment in the movie Showgirls—but most people's "correct" pronunciation is actually wrong. The brand's creative director, Donatella, is known for telling people it's "Ver-sah-CHEH," not "Ver-sah-CHEE."

3
Two More Brands Cause Pronunciation Insecurity

Woman holding Givenchy bag.
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The fourth-most-searched fashion brand is Givenchy, the classically elegant house that dressed Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's. They're pronounced "Jee-VOHN-Shee." 

Number five—a bit of a surprise—is Gucci, the Italian fashion powerhouse that was the subject of the recent Lady Gaga movie and most of the recent discussion points around Harry Styles. The correct pronunciation is "GOO-Chee." 

4
Beauty Brands Also Confuse Many

L'Occitane en Provence Store in Valencia
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The researchers also found that popular beauty brands also give people articulation anxiety. They discovered that every month, 1,810 people search for the correct pronunciation of L'Occitane, the French luxury retailer of beauty and home products. (It's "Lox-EE-tahn.")

CeraVe—the popular drugstore brand of moisturizers and skincare products—was the second most searched (1,170 monthly). If you haven't caught one of the brand's ubiquitous TV commercials lately, t's pronounced "CER-ah-vee."

5
Simple Options Best for Customers

The Estee Lauder Perfectionist pro bottle on shelf.
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Numbers three through five in the beauty category are Schwartzkopf (Shvaats-Kopf), La Roche-Posay (La-Rou-Shh Po-say), and Estee Lauder (Ess-Tay Law-Der). 

If you're planning to launch your own style megabrand, you might want to heed advice these founders didn't and keep things simple. "A brand name is hugely important. Potential customers will quickly form an impression of your company or product from the name," said Daniele Saccardi of Preply. "It's important to consider how the name is likely to appear to someone who speaks a different language or might have trouble understanding the meaning. A brand that is easy to pronounce is also important. You don't want a name that's going to be mispronounced as this is just going to cause confusion amongst customers."

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor whose health and lifestyle content has also been published on Beachbody and Openfit. A contributing writer for Eat This, Not That!, he has also been published in New York, Architectural Digest, Interview, and many others. Read more
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