What are the most mispronounced tech terms?
As developers navigate their way around the technical landscape, they inevitably run into terms they are unsure of how to pronounce.
Here are the top 11 mispronounced words in the tech world, followed by an explanation of how to say them correctly:
How do you pronounce ‘Udemy?’
You can’t even call yourself a programmer if you don’t have at least three uncompleted Udemy courses on the go.
But what’s the pronunciation of Udemy?
You say Udemy as YOUdehmee, with emphasis on the first syllable. It’s a portmanteau of You + academy.
To remember it easily, just say: “Hey you dummy, you should take this Udemy course!”
How do you say ‘Nginx?’
Some people think the name of this reverse proxy server is an initialism and say each letter individually. That’s wrong.
The name Nginx is pronounced Engine X. The X is pronounced as a letter in Nginx, not as the Roman numeral 10.
How do you pronounce ‘sudo?’
This Unix command is an abbreviation and concatenation of the phrase super user do. On newer platforms it can also mean switch user and do.
To be technically precise, this should be pronounced Sue do, although it’s more commonly pronounced Sue dough which rhymes with judo.
How do you say ‘daemon?’
We don’t spawn spirits from the underworld in Unix.
It’s a daemon, not a demon.
Think of the famous actor Matt Damon from Good Will Hunting. That’s how you say daemon correctly.
How do you say iPhone X? 🤔
Because you are 100% saying it wrong! 💯 📱❌
✅Retweet this if you're saying it wrong.🐦
✅Comment if you disagree! 📖
(A video thread 🧵) pic.twitter.com/iGhbQ53X9A
— Miss Darcy DeClute (Scrumtuous Inc) (@scrumtuous) December 4, 2022
How do you pronounce ‘char?’
The correct way to say the name of the single character data type in Java is not clear.
- Some say char, as in character
- Some say char, as in an automobile.
- Some say char, as in charcoal.
- Some say char, as in Charlene.
Technically, char is short for character. So the proper pronunciation should be char, as in care.
In day to day vernacular, though, I typically hear char, as in charcoal.
How do you say ‘Jaeger?’
Mick Jagger is the lead singer of the Rolling Stones. Jagger is not how you pronounce Jaeger.
This tracing framework for cloud native applications is pronounced yay-grr.
It’s spoken like the popular German digestif named Jägermeister.
How do you pronounce ‘JSON?’
Jason is the name of the actor who stars in Ozarks TV series. Or the movie Good Will Hunting.
However, Jason is not the proper pronunciation of JSON, the standard data exchange format used in RESTful applications.
JSON is pronounced jay-sonn, similarly to the term gluon in particle physics.
Here’s a trick to on how to properly pronounce JSON. Just say: “Is the light JSON or off?”
How do you say ‘bin?’
All of your binaries go in the \bin directory.
The first syllable in binaries is bine. So, logically, this directory should be pronounced bine, which rhymes with wine.
But everyone I’ve ever heard say it pronounces it bin, as in a trash bin.
How do you pronounce ‘lib?’
All of your JAR files, ZIP files and other libraries go in the \lib directory.
The first syllable in the word library is libe. As such, this should be pronounced libe, which rhymes with vibe.
But everyone I’ve ever heard say it says lib, which rhymes with fib.
How do you say ‘GIF?’
The Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) has been a ubiquitous image file format for over 30 years, and people have been mispronouncing GIF for just as long.
Some say GIF with a hard-G sound, as in gift. Some say GIF with a soft-G sound, as in giraffe or Jif peanut butter.
Steve Wilhite, the creator of GIF, said it is pronounced with a soft-G and for many people that’s the final word. Many others, however, argue that because the word graphics has a hard-G sound that’s how you must pronounce GIF.
Both sides of this debate are deeply entrenched with no end in sight. Let’s say that both are acceptable and it’s whatever works for you.
Or, split the difference and pronounce it GJiff and let’s move on.
How do you say ‘etc’ or ‘etcd’?
Some people say ‘etcetera’ or just say the initials, e-t-c, but that’s wrong.
The ‘etc’ folder is pronounced ‘etsy’, like the retail website.
The ‘etcd’ database is prounounced ‘etsy-d’, where you say the word ‘etsy’ and then the name of the letter ‘d’ after it.
So many people pronounce etc and etcd wrong.
How to say tech terms correctly
With unfamiliar technical terms and programming acronyms, it’s sometimes hard to figure out exactly what the correct pronunciation is.
Even with the terms I’ve described here, I can’t promise that my pronunciations are 100% correct. Plus, I speak with a Canadian accent, so what’s correct for me might not be correct in other parts of the world.
What’s important is that we understand each other when we speak.
It’s not a big deal if we mispronounce a word or ask for clarification on how to say a given phrase.
Don’t worry if you’re unsure of a word. Nobody’s going to call you a dummy if you pronounce Udemy wrong.