Irish first name is most mispronounced in the world

An Irish first name has been revealed as the most mispronounced in the world.

Okay, we’ll admit, Irish names aren’t always the easiest to spell, understand, or pronounce. With silent letters and ‘dbh’ frequently appearing, we don’t blame non-native speakers for mispronouncing some of our most popular names.

Despite their misunderstood spelling and confusing combination of consonants, many Irish names are incredibly beautiful with equally beautiful meanings to match, 

Still, it comes as no surprise that one Irish first name has been revealed as the most mispronounced in the world. However, it might be a name you wouldn’t expect. 

Sean is a common name in Ireland that non-native speakers struggle to pronounce.
Credit: Pexels / kelvin agustinus

The common Irish first name, Sean, has been revealed as the most mispronounced in the world, according to a study compiled by WordFinderX.

Experts analysed data from Forvo, a website that aims to help people learn to pronounce words properly by providing playable audio clips that they can listen to while reading the words.

According to the data, Sean was entered into the website’s search engine a whopping one million times. Thus, making it the most searched word on the platform by almost 200,000 listens.

The proper pronunciation – one of Ireland’s most common names

There are many famous people with the name Seán.
Credit: Flickr / Thomas Hawk and

Sean, also spelt Shaun or Shawn, is a popular Irish male name, which means ‘God is gracious’. An Irish variant of the Hebrew name John, Sean is one of the most common given names in Ireland

There are even several well-known celebrities dawning the name, including actors Sean Bean, Sean Penn, and Sean Connery. Even still, the name continues to be mispronounced by non-Irish speakers all around the world.

So, if you’re curious about the proper way to say this name, we’ve got you. Spelt Sean, this name may look like ‘seen’ if pronounced phonetically, according to the English alphabet. However, the correct pronunciation is, in fact, ‘sh-AW-hn’.

Other often mispronounced names – some shocking entrants

The Irish first name Sean is the most mispronounced in the world.
Credit: Pixabay / Robin Higgins

Ranking just behind the Irish first name, which claimed the title of most mispronounced in the world, is the Basque name Xuxa. Personally, we’d be clueless about this one, which is pronounced ‘shoo-shuh’. 

Taking third place is the common female name Victoria, which comes from the Latin word for ‘victory’. Pronounced exactly as you would say ‘victory’ with an ‘-ah’ on the end.

Closing out the top five, Spanish name Francisco took fourth position, followed by the Greek name Plato, which ranked fifth. 

So, next time you’re struggling to pronounce someone’s name, don’t get embarrassed. Just head on over to Forvo, where you can find all the answers. And don’t forget to apologise to your mate Sean for getting his name wrong all this time!

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