HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >
Are you making a specialty food? Get great advice

How do YOU say it?

jbsiegel Aug 27, 2012 12:38 PM

The "You say 'To-may-to'.... I say 'To-mah-to'" thread got me thinking. We have a couple running arguments in our family! How do you say:

Tomato - "To-may-to" for me
Orange - "Are" as opposed to "Or" for the first syllable
Syrup - "Sir-up" as opposed to "Cee-rup"


  1. j
    jbsiegel Aug 27, 2012 12:38 PM

    One more....

    Coupon - "Kew-pon" for me

    3 Replies
    1. re: jbsiegel
      Veggo Aug 27, 2012 01:46 PM

      Per Ron White: COO-pun

      1. re: Veggo
        kattyeyes Aug 27, 2012 05:14 PM

        I'm with Ron! And things aren't "kewl," either--they're COOL.

        1. re: kattyeyes
          gingershelley Aug 28, 2012 10:45 AM

          +1 on COO expression!

    2. coll Aug 27, 2012 12:40 PM

      Depends on where you grew up, no shame either way.

      1. porker Aug 27, 2012 12:50 PM


        7 Replies
        1. re: porker
          kattyeyes Aug 27, 2012 05:11 PM

          I do NOT say it that way, but think it sounds oh-so-cool. Like JAG-you-ARR! ;)

          1. re: porker
            helou Aug 28, 2012 09:09 AM

            I'm sorry - alu MINI-um is so wrong. Unfortunately President Eisenhower pronounced it that way so many people followed suit.

            1. re: helou
              huiray Aug 28, 2012 09:26 AM

              Why "unfortunately"? It is the usual pronunciation in the UK.

              1. re: helou
                porker Aug 28, 2012 10:39 AM

                I unconcsiously say alu-mih-num, but when trying to be snarky, use the English pronounciation.

                1. re: helou
                  Caroline1 Aug 28, 2012 10:56 AM

                  Excuse me? "aL-U-minium" is the BRITISH pronunciation. Eisenhower spent a lot of time in England, where he picked it up. Who knows why he kept it when he returned Stateside. To the best of my knowledge, he gave up calling car hoods and trunks "bonnetts" and "boots" when he came back. I think most everyone who heard him use the Brit pronunciations knew what was going on.

                  1. re: helou
                    mangiare24 Aug 28, 2012 12:58 PM

                    "I'm sorry - alu MINI-um is so wrong."

                    helou: do you realize in GB the word is spelled "aluminium?" So that pronunciation is indeed correct.

                  2. re: porker
                    gingershelley Aug 28, 2012 10:43 AM

                    Al-OO-minum here in NW....

                  3. l
                    LeoLioness Aug 27, 2012 01:28 PM




                    1. d
                      DeppityDawg Aug 27, 2012 01:33 PM

                      Lots of examples in these earlier threads that you might like to revisit:

                      Car-mel vs. cara-mel/Pee-can vs. Puh-cahn

                      How do you pronounce "OYSTER"?

                      How do you pronounce "praline"?

                      How do you pronounce "sherbet"?

                      How do you pronounce SUNDAE ( ice cream sundae)?

                      Hummus prefered [sic] pronounciation [sic

                      Correct pronounciation [sic] of the word "endive"

                      Plus many, many others about "bruschetta", "gyro", "pho", "gouda", "gabagool", etc., etc.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: DeppityDawg
                        jbsiegel Aug 27, 2012 05:06 PM

                        Car-mel and Car-a-mel are two different things in my world. Car-mel is the sauce and car-a-mel is the candy. Don't ask me to explain that, though.

                        Sherbet = sher-bert (I know...adding that "r" in there.)

                        Sundae = Sunday (never heard it any other way)

                        Endive = Ahn-deeve

                        1. re: jbsiegel
                          kattyeyes Aug 27, 2012 05:20 PM

                          Oh dear, we can't help you. ;P LOLOL "Sher-bert" would be your reply to Bert if he asked you if you'd like some ice cream. Would you like some, jbsiegel? Sure, Bert!

                          Though I love the commercial where the lady insists, "No, it is absolutely AHN-deeve!" and tries to start the flashy car instead of her own..."And then everyone has one of their own baby chickens!"

                          ETA: And no, Carmel is the place by the sea--caramel covers both syrup and candy...and the candy bar...CARAMELLO!

                          1. re: kattyeyes
                            kattyeyes Aug 27, 2012 06:04 PM

                            AHHH! Here 'tis, the AHN-deeve/baby chickens commercial:

                          2. re: jbsiegel
                            LindaWhit Aug 27, 2012 05:21 PM

                            Carmel is a city in California.

                            1. re: LindaWhit
                              kattyeyes Aug 27, 2012 05:24 PM

                              Jinx! ;)

                            2. re: jbsiegel
                              GirlyQ Aug 27, 2012 07:50 PM

                              These are really similar to my rules! Except the sauce is car-mul, the candy is care-a-mel, and the city is car-mel

                              1. re: jbsiegel
                                seamunky Aug 31, 2012 02:21 PM

                                "Sorbet? No kids of mine will eat sor-bay! They will eat sherbet, pronounce it sherbert, and wish it was ice cream!" - Homer Simpson

                            3. LindaWhit Aug 27, 2012 01:37 PM

                              I now live in New England. Where the letter "r" doesn't exist at the end of words that have them.

                              Bubblah = Bubbler (as in water bubbler, a.k.a. water fountain)
                              Draw = Drawer
                              Kegga = party that involves a keg of beer (or more)
                              Chowda = 'nuf said.

                              12 Replies
                              1. re: LindaWhit
                                kattyeyes Aug 27, 2012 05:17 PM

                                I think those are Mass-specific. ;) We like our final Rs here in the Land of Steady Habits, south of you.

                                1. re: kattyeyes
                                  LindaWhit Aug 27, 2012 05:24 PM

                                  Believe me, I don't say any of these words as I spelled. My mother and both grandmothers (speech/English teachers, all) would never allow it. Nor would my English teacher at Katharine Gibbs, Mrs. Beck. :-)

                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                    kattyeyes Aug 27, 2012 05:26 PM

                                    It's funny how that particular accent takes Rs from where they DO belong and sticks them where they DON'T--(e.g. "Cuber" for Cuba).

                                    1. re: kattyeyes
                                      LindaWhit Aug 27, 2012 05:34 PM

                                      Oh yeah. Drives me bonkers.

                                      1. re: LindaWhit
                                        GirlyQ Aug 27, 2012 07:52 PM

                                        Oh, I love it! I find the non-rhoticity in the Boston area to be charming.

                                      2. re: kattyeyes
                                        macca Aug 28, 2012 06:26 AM

                                        Yup- I'll have a vodker tonic!

                                        1. re: macca
                                          kattyeyes Aug 28, 2012 06:28 AM

                                          That makes everything betta. :)

                                        2. re: kattyeyes
                                          Karl S Aug 28, 2012 08:03 AM

                                          That''s the Law of Conservations of Rs. It's a hallmark of Yankee thrift.

                                          1. re: Karl S
                                            kattyeyes Aug 28, 2012 08:15 AM

                                            HA HA HA! Yankee thrift indeed! And then they go on a "spending" frenzy with the rest of the Rs, inserting them with reckless abandon. ;)

                                            1. re: kattyeyes
                                              Karl S Aug 28, 2012 08:18 AM

                                              No, what I meant is that the Rs are not wasted. Waste not, want not, use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.

                                        3. re: LindaWhit
                                          huiray Aug 28, 2012 06:18 AM

                                          Hearing Hahvad Yahd makes me roll my eyes a bit.

                                          On a related (non-MA specific) note, it still makes me frown a bit when I hear "wodder" and "Scoddy" instead of waTer and ScoTTy. Ditto for similar words.

                                          1. re: huiray
                                            Gio Aug 28, 2012 06:28 AM

                                            On a TV show last night one of the actors continually used the word "budden" instead of "button"... It hurt my ears.

                                    2. w
                                      Wawsanham Aug 27, 2012 02:40 PM

                                      Potato: puh-tay-tuh

                                      Pecan: pee-can

                                      Plantaine: plan-tin

                                      Those are just a few I can think of that have some pronunciation variation. The above are mine.

                                      8 Replies
                                      1. re: Wawsanham
                                        porker Aug 27, 2012 04:33 PM


                                        1. re: porker
                                          kattyeyes Aug 27, 2012 05:23 PM

                                          The rain in Spain stays mainly on the plan-tayne! I concur.

                                        2. re: Wawsanham
                                          jbsiegel Aug 27, 2012 05:06 PM

                                          Pecan: Pee-cahn

                                          My darned husband calls that drawer thing a draw as well. Born and raised in NJ, so I can't blame it on New England!

                                          That's the funny thing about some of them. My sister and I (who clearly grew up in the same household) actually say some of the thing differently.

                                          1. re: Wawsanham
                                            kattyeyes Aug 27, 2012 05:16 PM

                                            I say "ba-day-duh" (badada) instead of potato just to be silly. Talking to my uncle this weekend, I mentioned I was making badadas, and he said, "BADADAS? Uncle John used to call them that, but I'm pretty sure they're potatoes!" HA HA HA. And Uncle John was 100% Italian. I always thought badada was my Irish shining through. :)

                                            1. re: kattyeyes
                                              LindaWhit Aug 27, 2012 05:28 PM

                                              Aww, my grandfather used to called them badadas as well!

                                              1. re: LindaWhit
                                                markabauman Aug 27, 2012 05:48 PM



                                                1. re: markabauman
                                                  LindaWhit Aug 27, 2012 06:14 PM


                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                    kattyeyes Aug 27, 2012 07:41 PM

                                                    What she said. :)

                                          2. Veggo Aug 27, 2012 05:54 PM

                                            I like the way Bogart pronounces bourbon in Casablanca: boar-bun.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: Veggo
                                              GirlyQ Aug 27, 2012 07:55 PM

                                              Funny, I always pronounce bourbon as "more, please"

                                              1. re: GirlyQ
                                                kattyeyes Aug 27, 2012 08:06 PM

                                                I am very much on board with THAT pronunciation. :)

                                            2. porker Aug 27, 2012 05:56 PM

                                              jal-a-pee-knows always kills me...
                                              occasionally hear jap-a-lee-knows ...eeeeek

                                              1. JenJeninCT Aug 28, 2012 04:06 AM


                                                MY DH's great-uncle says "veg-a-tahble"
                                                also, non- food:
                                                ahn-juh-nuh = Angina
                                                uhnt= Aunt

                                                11 Replies
                                                1. re: JenJeninCT
                                                  kattyeyes Aug 28, 2012 04:14 AM

                                                  You made me think of one more: restaurant. In our family, we've always said it as though it's two syllables (rest-raunt). I realize both pronunciations are correct, but when people say it as three syllables, it a) reminds me of Billy Joel and b) makes me think they're from New Yawk or NJ as people I know from that area say it that way, too. HA, not to mention "Brendar" and Eddie. ;)

                                                  1. re: kattyeyes
                                                    jbsiegel Aug 28, 2012 04:21 AM

                                                    I'm from Jersey and it's definitely rest-a-raunt for me! I've never really heard it any other way...

                                                    1. re: jbsiegel
                                                      Veggo Aug 28, 2012 04:46 AM

                                                      3 syllables for Arlo Guthrie.

                                                      1. re: Veggo
                                                        kattyeyes Aug 28, 2012 04:52 AM

                                                        How do YOU say restaurant, wise@$$?!

                                                        ETA: Interesting discussion here. Still betting it's a regional difference:

                                                        1. re: kattyeyes
                                                          Gio Aug 28, 2012 06:33 AM

                                                          Hey KE,, I hear many folks say "res-ter-ahwn".

                                                          1. re: Gio
                                                            kattyeyes Aug 28, 2012 06:38 AM

                                                            It's a wonder we can find places to eat with so many different ways to pronounce them. ;)

                                                      2. re: jbsiegel
                                                        kattyeyes Aug 28, 2012 04:49 AM

                                                        I'm going to play close attention in the days to come to see who else says it as we do in my fam. I'm betting it's one of those regional things. Like how folks in your neck of the woods say "avenue" as a-veh-nyew (right?). Oddly, my mom says it that way, too, but it's a-veh-noo for most around here. My mom has these funny "import" tendencies from neighboring states, HA HA.

                                                        1. re: jbsiegel
                                                          gingershelley Aug 28, 2012 10:53 AM

                                                          Rest-raunt to me...Wow, that's one I never thought about that I say it wrong. Oops!

                                                          1. re: gingershelley
                                                            kattyeyes Aug 28, 2012 10:58 AM

                                                            Nope, not wrong, just different. ;) That's the beauty of it!

                                                        2. re: kattyeyes
                                                          LindaWhit Aug 28, 2012 05:45 AM

                                                          Jersey Girl here. It's definitely still pronounced rest-ah-raunt. :-)

                                                          1. re: LindaWhit
                                                            porker Aug 28, 2012 06:06 AM


                                                            Not many folks in these parts use the rest-a-raunt. The ones who do pronounce Sears as see-ers.

                                                      3. huiray Aug 28, 2012 06:30 AM

                                                        I tend to think more of British English versus USAmerican English differences. Some examples - water, schedule, aluminum/aluminium, (the letter) z, vase ...

                                                        In any case, I say your three examples as you do.

                                                        1. tamagoji Aug 28, 2012 06:50 AM


                                                          I say "chi-poat-lay" thanks to The Two Hot Tamales and the US restaurant chain.

                                                          The other day I heard an Australian friend (not having the same cultural references) say: "chi-poddle"

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: tamagoji
                                                            gingershelley Aug 28, 2012 10:53 AM

                                                            What I HATE is when someone says chip-ol-tay, putting the 'T" in the wrong place!

                                                            1. re: gingershelley
                                                              porker Aug 28, 2012 01:18 PM

                                                              Kinda like tama's Aussie friend, I sometimes hear people say chi-patal

                                                              1. re: gingershelley
                                                                woodleyparkhound Aug 30, 2012 06:24 AM

                                                                I hate that too - or even worse, "chi-POL-tee". It's amazing to me how frequently I hear this.

                                                              2. re: tamagoji
                                                                dmjordan Sep 2, 2012 05:03 PM

                                                                What? Nobody is going to mention Bobby Flay's chi-pol-ti-lay?

                                                              3. porker Aug 28, 2012 10:52 AM

                                                                A couple I tease Mrs. Porker with.

                                                                Awhile back, I was unaware that she was making a few items outta the Dinosaur BBQ cookbook. She made a BBQ sauce and said with a flourish "This is 'moth-a sauce' "
                                                                "Its WHAT-sauce?"
                                                                "Moth-a" (almost sounded like "martha"...)
                                                                "From where did you get this "moth-a" sauce?"
                                                                "Dinosaur BBQ cook book"
                                                                "Lemmee see."
                                                                So I check, and its Mutha Sauce. So I'm smiling (I admit, it took me a minute to figure out) and she's like "What, whats so funny?"
                                                                "Oh, nothing," I teased, "I just like your *MOTH-A* sauce!"
                                                                "What, what? Tell me, what's so funny?"
                                                                "Its MUTHA sauce, you know, like badass "mother", you know, how a biker might say "mother": MUTHA!"
                                                                We had a few laughs.

                                                                Another time, she was checking out a public transit map in Manhatten. She said something like
                                                                "Oh, the park is right next to the flatter-ron building"
                                                                Again, I was smiles and again she's saying "What?! Whats funny now?!"
                                                                "I believe its FLAT-IRON building...."

                                                                1. kattyeyes Aug 29, 2012 06:45 AM

                                                                  Another one I just heard someone say: AH-minnd (for almond). The "L" in almond is NOT silent for this kat. But I have certainly heard many say it as though it is.

                                                                  9 Replies
                                                                  1. re: kattyeyes
                                                                    LindaWhit Aug 29, 2012 07:26 AM

                                                                    Whereas it is silent for moi.

                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                      kattyeyes Aug 29, 2012 07:27 AM

                                                                      :) Is it a NY/NJ thing? I always suspected so, but am not sure.

                                                                      1. re: kattyeyes
                                                                        LindaWhit Aug 29, 2012 07:32 AM

                                                                        That I cannot tell you. But I've always said "Ah-mund" and "Ahl-mund" sounds funny to me.

                                                                        Dictionary.com pronunciation:

                                                                        al·mond   [ah-muhnd, am-uhnd; spelling pron. al-muhnd]


                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                          kattyeyes Aug 29, 2012 07:40 AM

                                                                          HEE HEE...Merriam-Webster:

                                                                          And this classic commercial:

                                                                          Prince sings it your way. :)

                                                                          1. re: kattyeyes
                                                                            LindaWhit Aug 29, 2012 07:43 AM

                                                                            I can't hear the AIF file @ M-W, so my way stands. :-P

                                                                            Seriously, there are so many intonations and "dialects" throughout the U.S., a consensus is highly unlikely.

                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                              kattyeyes Aug 29, 2012 07:43 AM

                                                                              LOLOL...that's just it--vive la difference! :) It's all good in our respective hoods!

                                                                      2. re: LindaWhit
                                                                        Karl S Aug 29, 2012 08:43 AM

                                                                        Silent for me, as well.

                                                                      3. re: kattyeyes
                                                                        Veggo Aug 29, 2012 08:58 AM

                                                                        I suppose you like macaldamia nuts, too.

                                                                        1. re: Veggo
                                                                          kattyeyes Aug 29, 2012 09:06 AM

                                                                          Not particularly...especially those pesky ones with superfluous Ls! ;P

                                                                      4. w
                                                                        Wawsanham Aug 30, 2012 09:52 AM

                                                                        Some other pronunciations that might not be so standard, but I say them:

                                                                        thyme (NOT time)


                                                                        1. porker Aug 30, 2012 12:02 PM

                                                                          Does anyone say shee-it?

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: porker
                                                                            kattyeyes Aug 30, 2012 12:03 PM

                                                                            Only for emphasis when in disgust! ;)

                                                                          2. porker Aug 31, 2012 05:06 AM

                                                                            Just remembered, lotsa folks in my small town say
                                                                            For years I'd lightheartedly say something like "you know its actually SAND-wich", but alas I have since given up.

                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                            1. re: porker
                                                                              jbsiegel Aug 31, 2012 05:39 AM

                                                                              One of my kids called hamburgers hang-ga-burgers for a LONG time!

                                                                              1. re: jbsiegel
                                                                                porker Aug 31, 2012 05:52 AM

                                                                                Well, sadly enough, many of the sang-wich people are long into adulthood.

                                                                                1. re: porker
                                                                                  kattyeyes Aug 31, 2012 06:00 AM

                                                                                  HA HA HA to both of you--an old colleague's little boy used to say "fork chops." :) I trust he has outgrown it by now and is probably in college.

                                                                              2. re: porker
                                                                                Wawsanham Aug 31, 2012 01:33 PM

                                                                                Well, it's just a case of consonant assimilation--the ng sound is closer to w than d. The same phenomenon causes us to not pronounce the b in comb.

                                                                                1. re: Wawsanham
                                                                                  kattyeyes Aug 31, 2012 01:50 PM

                                                                                  I read your post carefully and more than once and I am not tracking. :)

                                                                              3. j
                                                                                jbsiegel Aug 31, 2012 05:40 AM

                                                                                Catch-up instead of kets-up.

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: jbsiegel
                                                                                  mangiare24 Aug 31, 2012 06:49 AM

                                                                                  "Catch-up instead of kets-up."
                                                                                  The former is the preferred pronunciation over the latter as you can see below. :)

                                                                                  catsup |ˈke ch əp; ˈka ch əp; ˈkatsəp|
                                                                                  variant spelling of ketchup .
                                                                                  ketchup |ˈke ch əp| (also catsup pronunc. same or |ˈka ch əp; ˈkatsəp|)
                                                                                  a spicy sauce made chiefly from tomatoes and vinegar, used as a condiment.
                                                                                  ORIGIN late 17th cent.: perhaps from Chinese ( Cantonese dialect) k'ē chap ‘tomato juice.’

                                                                                  1. re: jbsiegel
                                                                                    Karl S Aug 31, 2012 07:16 AM

                                                                                    Well, in American usage, Ketch-up is the preferred usage. Can't say for outside the USA.

                                                                                  2. y
                                                                                    Yongeman Aug 31, 2012 02:08 PM

                                                                                    In Canada we say basil like this: ba, as in bat, not ba, as in bay.
                                                                                    Also what the hell is broccoli rabe? It's rapini, here.

                                                                                    9 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Yongeman
                                                                                      mangiare24 Aug 31, 2012 02:29 PM

                                                                                      Its just regional.


                                                                                      1. re: Yongeman
                                                                                        Veggo Aug 31, 2012 02:52 PM

                                                                                        I suspect one of the better Sherlock Holmes actors, Basil Rathbone, didn't appreciate being addressed as a garden item.

                                                                                        1. re: Yongeman
                                                                                          porker Sep 1, 2012 02:45 PM

                                                                                          I live in canada, but everyone I know says bay-zil.
                                                                                          Agree with the rapini.

                                                                                          1. re: porker
                                                                                            Tripeler Sep 1, 2012 05:47 PM

                                                                                            Most Canadians I have met say "bag-el" instead of "bay-gel" for bagel.

                                                                                            1. re: porker
                                                                                              Yongeman Sep 2, 2012 05:07 AM

                                                                                              Wow...I'm an old-timer and have always said basil with a short 'a'. Do you also say, 'zee' for 'zed'?

                                                                                              1. re: Yongeman
                                                                                                porker Sep 2, 2012 05:43 AM

                                                                                                I assume its said bag-el in TO? In Montreal its bay-gel (actually more like bay-gul). Interesting.
                                                                                                As for the Z...depends. I usually say zee as thats how I was taught growing up. However, when conveying difficult information (I dunno, zipcode over the telephone), I'll use the zed so not to be confused with something else.
                                                                                                We joke about the sodomizing, chopper-riding cop in Pulp Fiction: If he lived around here, the dialogue might have been different
                                                                                                "Who's motorcycle is this?"
                                                                                                "Its a chopper babe?"
                                                                                                "Who's chopper is this?"
                                                                                                "Its Zee's"
                                                                                                "Who's Zee?"
                                                                                                "Zee's dead, baby. Zee's dead."

                                                                                                1. re: porker
                                                                                                  Yongeman Sep 2, 2012 03:38 PM

                                                                                                  Nope, it's bay-gul in Toronto, too, although I've heard casual bagel-eaters use the 'bag' pronunciation.

                                                                                                  1. re: Yongeman
                                                                                                    markabauman Sep 2, 2012 04:09 PM

                                                                                                    Maybe it's analogous to the different pronunciations you hear for "basil". Most people I know say "bay-zil", but you also hear "bah-zil".

                                                                                            2. re: Yongeman
                                                                                              Karl S Sep 1, 2012 03:36 PM

                                                                                              Probably for the same reason Canadian rapeseed oil producers came up with canola ...

                                                                                            3. eclecticsynergy Sep 1, 2012 04:46 PM

                                                                                              crepes- CRAYps vs CREPs

                                                                                              I say kyew-pon myself. But I don't say Grey Pyew-pon.
                                                                                              Wouldn't seem right unless it contained post-larval insects.

                                                                                              I've heard Brits saying ba-NAH-na. And folks who say to-MAH-to.
                                                                                              But I've still never heard of anyone who actually says po-TAH-to.

                                                                                              One of the major newspapers ran a contest some years ago where people were encouraged to submit new definitions for existing words. Two good ones that I can recall:

                                                                                              OYSTER: One who's in the habit of peppering their speech with Yiddish expressions
                                                                                              GARGOYLE: The latest in olive flavored mouthwash

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: eclecticsynergy
                                                                                                jbsiegel Sep 1, 2012 05:51 PM

                                                                                                LOL on the Grey Pyew-pon, but I stand by kyew-pon!

                                                                                                I also say CRAYps, but I suspect the correct French pronounciation is CREPs...

                                                                                              Show Hidden Posts