Maybe you want to stop embarrassing yourself at the mall. Or, perhaps you’re just trying to prove a point to your friend. Whatever your reason, we’ve got the ultimate A-Z guide of brands and stores you’re pronouncing incorrectly.
The newest one we just learned? Teva. That’s right: We’ve been saying “tee-vah” all these years, but it turns out the brand — whose outdoor sandals were all the rage at New York Fashion Week — is actually pronounced “teh-vah,” with a soft “e.” Mind. Blown.
More on that below, but let’s start at the beginning. From Adidas to Zara, go ahead — take the pronunciation plunge and learn the right way to pronounce your favorite brands.
We’re kicking off the alphabet with one of the most hotly debated brand pronunciations. Is it like, “AH-dee-dahs,” or is it actually the more common “a-DID-das”? It seems that the brand, which is based in Germany, goes by the former in Europe while Americans normally say the latter. Potato, potahto.
And as an added fun fact, the brand is not named after the acronym “all day I dream about soccer,” as rumor has it. Instead, it’s named after founder Adolf “Adi” Dassler, according to one employee of the company. That’s why the emphasis is on first syllable “AH” not the middle “dee.” The beauty of a German accent.
Is it “bee bee,” “beh beh,” or “bay bay”? Let us settle this debate that you must’ve had with your besties at least a million times. According to bebe’s corporate offices, it is indeed “bee bee.” Well, go figure.
Foreign languages, like French, will get you! For this beauty giant, it’s two syllables like, “clee-neeque.” We know that’s an “i” in there, but in French, it sounds a bit more like a long “e,” according to a brand rep.
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We did a little detective work, and based on the company’s phone operator, here’s what we’ve got: This one is throwing it back to those high school Spanish classes. Think “dehz,” as in, “desert.” Next up? “Igual,” which should sound something like “equal,” but with a “g.” We know it’s all a little confusing. Bear with us.
As per a brand rep’s instructions, let us introduce you to a little something called an “accent aigu.” This is French for “upwards slash-y thing.” And if it appears in a word, you’re gonna want to pronounce it, like, “ehhhh.” Try it! It’s fun. “Est-ehhhh.” For “Lauder,” on the other hand, go back to your American roots and pronounce it something like “law” school. That’s right, you can tell your mom to stop overemphasizing that “u.”
Well, at least you’ll have the “Frederic” part down pat (just like the American spelling of Frederick). But that last name’s a real tongue twister. Let’s go through it slowly: “Feh”…”k”…”eye.” Like “feather” mixed with “eye” with a “k” in the middle, according to a manager at the brand’s 5th Avenue salon.
We’re sure you’ve struggled with this one before. I mean, who hasn’t used Garnier once in their life? But it’s actually simpler than you think. A L’Oréal employee let us in on the actual pronunciation and, as always, it’s a bit complicated: Don’t pronounce the “r” at the end of “Garnier,” because … French! And leave the “c” out of the “Fructis,” people. It sounds something like “fruit,” plus “hiss” without the “h” sound. (Honestly, what a waste of letters.)
Hennes & Mauritz (that’s H&M to you)
It’s no wonder we all just stick to calling it H&M. How could a mouthful like this even fit on the outside of the store? If you do want to impress a serious fashionista, however, go for it: “Hen,” like the bird, for the first word followed by what sounds like the talk show “Maury” plus everyone’s favorite “Ritz” crackers. Voila! And to go along with your pronunciation lesson, a fun fact: Hennes came first, and then Mauritz was from an acquired brand.
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This one’s fairly simple, but we’ve heard a few “Mihz-ra-hi’s” in our time. It’s actually “Miz-rah-hee,” according to a representative of the brand. Pretty simple when it’s explained like that.
It sounds like there’s an “r” somewhere in here, but that’s just because of the chic French accent that often accompanies this word. Nope, there’s no “r.” It’s all in your head. As Jacadi’s USA e-commerce manager Sandra Gonzalez told TODAY, it’s Jah-ca-dee. The name is actually based off of the classic game “Simon says,” which in France is “Jacque a dit” or “Jack says.”
According to a brand representative, this one’s pronounced: “keh-ras-tass.” Actually, that’s much easier than it looks! Lesson learned: Don’t let an accented “e” throw you.
There’s no denying that just seeing the sign for this beauty company is enough to give you anxiety. Turns out there’s no hard “c” in this one. According the brand’s PR department, it’s actually pronounced like this: “LOX-ee-tahn.” Who knew?
It’s actually pronounced something like “mah-see-mo.” We know, we know. But this is what a brand rep confirmed.
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No, it’s not “Nordstrom’s”, no matter what your sister tells you. The famed brand actually doesn’t have that last “s.” Whoops!
Another one of those fancy French words, but this one’s actually quite easy if you break it down. “Oui” is none other than the French word for “yes” and “dad’ is pronounced the plain old American way, according to the brand.
So we know you’ve got the “queen” part down (or at least, we hope so), but “Helene” is where it gets tricky. No, it’s not “Hel-en” like everyone’s favorite longtime actress, Helen Miren. Instead, it’s actually “Hel-eene”. The end “e” is silent, but the middle “e” is definitely a bit exaggerated.
We know you’re curious, because there’s one of two ways people always pronounce this. It pretty much goes 50/50. But, yes, it’s actually “LAU-ren,” with the accent on the first syllable — like your best friend’s first name. Don’t fight us on this one; we heard straight from a brand rep!
There’s no denying that this is a toughie. But let us help you figure out how to say this sneaker company’s name once and for all. Think of it like this: “sock a knee” (thanks, official brand advertisements!).
You know “tahini”? Well, this is kind of like that, except less delicious and with an “ah” instead of an “ee” sound in the middle, according to the designer himself. Not the toughest — but we’ve heard a few serious mess-ups. (Oy.)
All these years we’ve been saying “tee-vah,” but it turns out the brand is actually pronounced “teh-vah,” with a soft “e.”
On its website, the company explains that teva is actually the Hebrew word for nature.
“You,” “knee,” “chlo.” Let’s try that one more time: “You-knee-chlo.” You got it! To help you remember, a brand rep shared that it’s actually short for “unique clothing.”
This one’s tricky for sure, but there’s no need to sweat it. Just follow the lead of the company’s stylists. Let’s begin with the first word: It’s not anything like “vital”; instead, the “i” once again becomes a long “e.” “Vee-dahl.” Tada! Then, we’ll move onto “Sassoon.” Old West saloons, anyone? Just switch that “l” for a couple an “s” or two and you’re ready to go. Giddy up!
Have you ever been to Boston? Or know anyone from there? Imagine them saying “warm” with their charming, “r”-eliminating accent. Then, add the “soup” that they’d probably have to survive on all winter long, subtract the “p,” and add a mix of a “d” and “t” to create that last soft “ta.” “Dta.” “Wahm-sue-tah.” Nailed it.
Listen, you’ve got to be able to get this one. We’re not sure we even want to help you. But think of: “Exhiliration.” Then, get rid of the “e.” Good job. (Thanks to the brand rep who took the time to answer this one!)
You. Be. You. Be. Yu-Be. Yeah.
And, of course, the elephant in the room — the brand name that’s made waves in the media. So forget the fact this is Spanish word with an “r,” there’s no rolled “r” here. Sorry! Instead, it’s pronounced with a Northern Castilian accent like “tsah-dah” or “dzah-dah.”
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This article was originally published on Oct. 5, 2016 on TODAY.
How to Pronounce Bebe Brand