The Hardest Words to Pronounce in the English Language

Read this article to learn a few of the hardest words to pronounce in the English language!
Read this article to learn a few of the hardest words to pronounce in the English language!

Learning English is becoming a necessity, especially if you travel, but no one ever said it was easy. In fact, there are some rules in English that contradict themselves more times than not.

One of these is the famous “I before E“. This rule doesn’t apply to the words: foreign, neighbor, receive, eight, beige – the list goes on and on.

So along with not being able to spell many words in English – what words are just as impossible to say? The site Reddit had a lot to say about that.

That’s where we got the inspiration for the hardest words to pronounce list below.

The Hardest Words to Pronounce in English: A Choice Few

We can’t pretend that this list is comprehensive, because frankly, English makes little sense. But here are some hard ones to wrap your mind around anyways.


When you look at this word, it doesn’t look difficult. Sound it out. Co-lone-l, right? Wrong. This word is pronounced Kernel /kernul/, like the seed in the middle of popcorn.

We can’t tell you why this is. The word Colonel is a position of leadership in the military, it’s unlikely someone would confuse it with corn.

But they had to spell it differently anyway, go figure.


Okay, this doesn’t look so hard either and in essence, it’s not. You can sound out this one and it’ll be correct. But trying to get your lips and tongue to make the correct sounds?

Not an easy task. This word, meaning “from the country or farm-like” sounds like squirrel. /rer-rul/.

The same logic goes with the word Juror and Brewery. Those R-sounds together make a complicated shape in our mouths. Even some native-born English speakers have trouble with these words.

If you practice saying them and it feels weird in your mouth – it’s supposed to.


Remember the movie, Finding Nemo? If you haven’t seen it, go watch it! It’s an American classic (but it takes place in Australia). In the movie, little Nemo can’t say this word: anemone.

We don’t blame him, it’s hard! The best way to break it down is uh-nem-uh-nee. Want to train your tongue? Try repeating enemy anemone over and over.


This is a very famous word that’s hard to pronounce, thanks to a guy with a hard to pronounce name of his own. Benedict Cumberbatch messed up the word penguin in a BBC documentary.

In the clip, you hear him say “pengwang”. That is not the correct pronunciation.

To say penguin, you say pang-win. Don’t go adding extra g’s there like Mr. Cumberbatch.

Pronouncing These Words

When you’re learning a language with as many contradictions as English, you need some professional help. We specialize in helping people sound like a native speaker.

Once you work with us, people will pay attention to what you’re saying, not try to figure out your accent.

You can blow their minds with the hardest words to pronounce in the English language. They’re sure to be impressed!

Learn how our program works here.


English Pronunciation & Fluency Expert
Annie Ruden M.S.CCC-SLP
CEO | Accent Reduction Trainer
[email protected]

Be Understood. Be Confident.