Say It Right: 50+ Hard to Pronounce Words Across Multiple Languages

Updated on: September 18, 2023

Certain words seem specifically designed to trip up speakers - even native ones.

In this article, we'll look at over 50 of the hardest words to pronounce across English and other languages — from challenging terms in German and French to tricky words in Russian and Arabic, we'll explore examples that can twist tongues and stump even seasoned speakers.

We'll also provide tips and tricks to help master these phonetic frustrations once and for all. Now, let’s test the limits of your pronunciation skills.

Hard to pronounce words in 10 languages


  • Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious: An invented word from the movie "Mary Poppins," meaning fantastic or extraordinarily good.
  • Worcestershire: A county in England and a sauce known for its complex pronunciation.
  • Colonel: A high-ranking military officer, pronounced "ker-nel."
  • Onomatopoeia: A word that phonetically imitates, resembles, or suggests the sound it describes.
  • Floccinaucinihilipilification: The act or habit of estimating something as worthless.
  • Eccentricities: Meaning unconventional or peculiar behavior.
  • Paraphernalia: Personal belongings or equipment.
  • Anemone: A type of flower with vibrant, colorful petals.
  • Entrepreneurship: The activity of setting up and running a business.
  • Synecdoche: A figure of speech where a part represents the whole or vice versa, like "all hands on deck."


  • Streichholzschächtelchen: A diminutive form meaning a small matchbox.
  • Rhabarberbarbara: A whimsical term used in tongue-twisters; it doesn't have a specific meaning.
  • Handschuhschneeballwerfer: Literally, "glove-snowball-thrower," used to describe someone who avoids challenging work.
  • Dampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitän: A steamship company captain.
  • Siebentausendzweihundertvierundfünfzig: The number 7,254.
  • Flugzeugtriebwerksinstanthaltsetzungswerkzeugkasten: A toolset for instant aircraft engine maintenance.
  • Unabhängigkeitserklärungen: Declarations of independence.
  • Funktionsprüfungskommissionsvorsitzender: Chairman of the functional testing committee.
  • Geschwindigkeitsbegrenzung: Speed limit.
  • Lebensabschnittsgefährte: A partner for a specific period in one's life.


  • Anticonstitutionnellement: The longest French word, meaning "anticonstitutionally."
  • Les chaussettes de l'archiduchesse: A tongue-twister referring to the socks of the archduchess.
  • Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobie: The fear of long words.
  • Dépatouiller: To disentangle or escape a tricky situation.
  • Phénoménologie: A philosophical method that focuses on describing conscious experience.
  • ​​Incompréhensibilité: Meaning incomprehensibility.
  • Frénétiquement: Frantically or frenetically.
  • Sycophante: Sycophant, someone who flatters to gain the advantage.
  • Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobie: Borrowed from English, it refers to the fear of long words.


  • Великолепно (Velikolepno): Meaning splendid or magnificent.
  • Щука (Shchuka): The word for pike, a type of fish found in Russian waters.
  • Непротивоконституционствувателствувайте (Neprativokonstitutsionstvuvahtelstvuvaite): A tongue-twister meaning "don't act against the constitution."
  • Здравствуйте (Zdravstvuyte): A standard greeting, meaning "hello."
  • Подстаканник (Podstakannik): A holder for a drinking glass typically used on trains.
  • Сверхсекретнейший (Sverkhsekretnyeishy): The superlative form of "top secret."
  • Достопримечательности (Dostoprimechatelnosti): Tourist attractions.
  • Орудование (Orudovanie): Equipment or machinery.
  • Космонавтика (Kosmonavtika): Astronautics or space exploration.


  • Electroencefalografista: A specialist in electroencephalography, studying brain activity.
  • Esternocleidomastoideo: A muscle in the neck used for turning and tilting the head.
  • Paralelepípedo: A parallelepiped, a three-dimensional figure with six parallelogram faces.
  • Desoxirribonucleico: Deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA.
  • Anticonstitucionalidad: The state of being unconstitutional.
  • Escarapela: A cockade or rosette worn for identification of events. 
  • Cuatrocientos: The number four hundred.
  • Psiconeuroinmunología: Psychoneuroimmunology, the study of the interaction between psychological processes and the nervous and immune systems.
  • Esquizofrenia: Schizophrenia, a mental disorder characterized by distorted thinking and awareness.
  • Electrodomésticos: Household appliances, such as refrigerators and washing machines.


  • 地理 (Dìlǐ): The word for geography.
  • 桥梁 (Qiáoliáng): Meaning bridge.
  • (Lóng): The word for dragon.
  • 蝴蝶 (Húdié): The word for butterfly.
  • 经济 (Jīngjì): Meaning economy.
  • 比特币 (Bǐtèbì): Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency
  • 电脑科学 (Diànnǎo kēxué): Computer science.
  • 地理学 (Dìlǐ xué): Geography.
  • 环保主义 (Huánbǎo zhǔyì): Environmentalism.
  • 医学院 (Yīxué yuàn): Medical school.


  • 一丁 (Itchō): Referring to one town block or a small amount.
  • 幸福 (Kōfuku): Meaning happiness.
  • 観光地 (Kankō-chi): A tourist destination or sightseeing spot.
  • 美術館 (Bijutsukan): An art museum.
  • 感謝 (Kansha): The word for gratitude or thanks.
  • おしゃべり (Oshaberi): Meaning "chatter" or "talkative."
  • 龍馬伝 (Ryōmaden): A historical drama television series.
  • 駆逐艦 (Kuchikukan): A destroyer, a type of warship.
  • 竹内 (Takeuchi): A common Japanese surname.
  • 美容院 (Biyōin): A beauty salon or hairdressing salon.


  •  (Tasdaq) تصدق: Meaning charity or giving to the poor.
  • (Shams) شمس: The word for sun.
  • (Safar)سفر: Referring to travel or a journey.
  • (Haqiqah) حقيقة: Meaning truth or fact.
  • (Samaa) سماء: The word for sky or heaven.
  • (Ilmu An-Nafsīyah) عِلْمُ النَفْسِيَّة: Meaning "psychology."
  • (Sa'id) سَعِيد: A common Arabic given name.
  • (Jāmi'ah) جامِعَة: Referring to a university.
  • (Teknūlūjiyā) تَكْنُولُوجيَا: Technology.
  • (Jabalīyah) جَبَلِيَّة: Meaning "mountainousness" or related to mountains.


  • Sottoscrizione: Meaning subscription or endorsement.
  • Spazzacamino: A chimney sweep.
  • Accoglienza: Referring to hospitality or welcome.
  • Intraprendenza: Entrepreneurship or initiative.
  • Sceneggiatura: A screenplay or script.
  • Sopraffatto: Overwhelmed or astounded.
  • Psicologico: Psychological.
  • Eccentricità: Eccentricity.
  • Linguistico: Linguistic.
  • Appassionatamente: Passionately.


  • Ziekteverzekering: Meaning health insurance.
  • Bezienswaardigheid: A tourist attraction or point of interest.
  • Scheikundige: A chemist or chemical scientist.
  • Onafhankelijkheid: Independence or autonomy.
  • Herfstbladeren: Referring to autumn leaves.
  • Grootstedelijkheid: Referring to urbanization or metropolitan areas.
  • Zeehondenopvangcentrum: A seal rescue center.
  • Wegenwachtverzekering: Roadside assistance insurance.
  • Luchthavenbeveiligingsbeambte: Airport security officer.
  • Tandartspraktijk: A dental practice or dental clinic.

How to master any pronunciation 

Techniques for Tackling Hard-to-Pronounce Words

Pronouncing challenging words may seem like an impossible task, but with the proper techniques, it becomes an exciting puzzle to solve. Here are some proven strategies:

  • Break it Down: Divide complex words into syllables or smaller units, making them more manageable. Practice each part separately before combining them.
  • Phonetic Guides: Use phonetic notation, like the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), to understand how sounds are produced. It provides a visual roadmap for pronunciation.
  • Listen and Imitate: Pay close attention to native speakers or audio resources. Mimic their pronunciation, rhythm, and intonation to develop an authentic accent.
  • Tongue-Twisters: Incorporate tongue-twisters into your practice. They're fun, challenging, and excellent for improving pronunciation.
  • Etymology Insights: Explore a word's origin and history. Understanding its roots can provide clues to its pronunciation.

Tips to Learn New Words

Learning new words, especially those from different languages, is an enriching experience. Here are some practical tips:

  • Context is Key: Learn words in meaningful contexts. Read books and articles or watch films in the language to see how words are used naturally.
  • Create Flashcards: Write the word on one side and its meaning on the other. Review these flashcards regularly to reinforce your memory.
  • Practice, Practice, Practice: Consistency is vital. Dedicate time each day to expand your vocabulary and work on pronunciation.
  • Use Mnemonics: Create associations or vivid mental images to remember challenging words. Mnemonics can make memorization easier.
  • Language Apps and Tools: Utilize language-learning apps and online resources that provide word lists, pronunciation exercises, and quizzes.

Embracing Linguistic Diversity Through Pronunciation

When you master pronunciation, you improve your language skills and deepen your understanding of the world. Here's how to embrace linguistic diversity:

  • Explore Different Languages: Don't limit yourself to one language. Explore various languages to appreciate their unique sounds and expressions.
  • Respect Regional Differences: Understand that pronunciation can vary within a language due to regional accents and dialects. Respect and celebrate these variations.
  • Connect with Native Speakers: Engage with native speakers to learn about their culture and language firsthand. Building relationships can enhance your linguistic journey. 
  • Share Your Knowledge: Teach others what you've learned. Share your enthusiasm for language and pronunciation with your community, fostering mutual appreciation.
  • Travel and Immerse Yourself: If possible, travel to regions where the language is spoken. Immersion is one of the most effective ways to refine your pronunciation.

In the pursuit of pronunciation mastery, you sharpen your linguistic skills and open doors to a world of understanding and connection. Join us on this exciting journey, and let's revel in the beauty of language together!

Final Thoughts

Remember that mastering the pronunciation of hard words is not just a linguistic conquest but a bridge to understanding and connecting with the world.

Embrace the challenge, revel in the beauty of diverse languages, and continue to explore the depths of language and culture. 



Why are some words so hard to pronounce? 

Words can be challenging to pronounce due to complex phonetic combinations, unfamiliar sounds, or linguistic variations across languages. Additionally, a word's etymology and historical development can influence its pronunciation.

How can I improve my pronunciation of challenging words? 

Practice is key. Break words into smaller parts, use phonetic guides, listen to native speakers, and engage in tongue-twisters. Learning the word's origin can also provide pronunciation clues. Consistency and patience are essential.

How can I effectively learn new words from different languages?

Learning new words is best done in context. Read, watch, or listen to content in the target language, use flashcards for reinforcement, and practice regularly. Mnemonics and language-learning tools can be helpful.

Want to learn more?

Carolina is a skilled content strategist and storyteller with over 7 years of experience in language education and the development of engaging learning materials. Leveraging her background in linguistics and scriptwriting, she crafts immersive stories and content that help language learners grasp new concepts. Carolina's work in the film and media industries allows her to bring a creative lens to language instruction and utilize multimedia tools to connect with diverse learners.