What are some words commonly mispronounced? (Not by elision/reduction (like ה׳‎→אדְני‎) or assimilation (like תזכרו‎→תשׂכרו‎), but rather words that are pronounced wrong simply because that's how people think they should be pronounced.) I'm excluding from this request errors in stress (emphasis), as those are, alas, too numerous to list. I'm including, however, words mispronounced in a person's own dialect (הברה), though others would consider them correctly pronounced. And I mean any "Jewish" word: a word relevant to, and mispronounced in, Jewish life, be it Hebrew, Yiddish, Aramaic, or other.

  • I like the allusion to vidui. – Isaac Moses Feb 21 '11 at 16:22
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    I'm not clear on exactly what you mean by "pronounced wrong simply because that's how people think they should be pronounced". Are you specifying that the mistakes have to be due to whim or that they have to be due to conviction? Does it matter if people have divergent convictions depending on context? (The first divergence that comes to mind is between colloquialism and Torah reading of the "same" word.) – WAF Feb 21 '11 at 19:16
  • @R'IM, it was quite unintentional. @R'WAF, I guess I meant that people will pronounce them wrong even when asked to pronounce them carefully. – msh210 Feb 21 '11 at 22:58
  • Are you also excluding mistaken dialects? i.e. correct (or I should say common) in a given dialect, but that dialect is not correct Hebrew? – AviD May 13 '11 at 0:07
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    @AviD, I don't know why you're saying havara Ashk'nazis is incorrect, but, in any event, yes, I mean to exclude things that are correct in havara Ashk'nazis and used therein. – msh210 May 15 '11 at 3:46

37 Answers 37


A real big one: אלוה (with a patach under the hei) - many people pronounce it: elohah, while the correct pronunciation is eloah (like noach, and not nocha).

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    True. Also other words of the same mishkal, like גבוה (which they mispronounce in Lakewood for sure!). – Alex Feb 22 '11 at 18:02
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    @R'Alex, gavoah is certainly mispronounced, but I don't think it's the same mishkal as eloah.... – msh210 Feb 22 '11 at 20:48
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    Same rule is true when the word ends in 'Ayin (Yodea'). People who are careful to pronounce every syllable individually but do not pronounce an 'Ayin as a guttural will very often insert a simple glottal stop in between the Tzereh and the Patah (Yo-dey-ah instead of Yodeya'). This drives me nuts. – Seth J Feb 25 '11 at 15:01
  • @Seth: it's not so simple. Sephardim, who do in fact pronounce a guttural ayin (and het), insert an "extra" consonant before the patach ganuv (the technical term for it is an epenthic consonant), depending on the preceding nekudah: "w" if it was a cholam or shuruk, "y" if it was a tzeirei or chirik. Thus, "yode-ya'", "gavo-wah", "elo-wah", and so forth. – Alex Feb 27 '11 at 15:32
  • @R'Seth, see also mi.yodeya.com/questions/2313. – msh210 Feb 28 '11 at 3:54

Many, many kids when singing birkat hamazon out loud:

"umeitiv lakol umeichin mazon le'echol b'riotav ..."

G-d feeds us so He can then eat us up?

Instead of:

"umeitiv lakol umeichin mazon l'chol b'riotav ..."

The problem is the standard "benching tune" tends to push this one.


Often the problem is we see a familiar-looking word and our brains assume it's the word we know, rather than sounding it out carefully as it may be slightly different. E.g. a word that looks just like "edosav" but is actually "edvosav."

The best example that I know of, though, is when the Chazzan takes the Torah back on shabbos; the congregation chimes in with "Hodo al eretz v'shamayim"; "His glory is on the earth and heavens ...". Unfortunately the word "hodo" is less common in our prayers than the word "hodu", give thanks; I usually hear about half the shul saying that. (Maybe it's just my hearing?)

Then there's the fellow who would do Psukei D'Zimra every day and say "v'yimalei ch'vodEE es kol haaretz, amen v'amen." ("may His glory fill the Earth" -- just with my instead of His.) Heh.

  • Or the one who went "Orech yomim asibehu" instead of "asbiehu" – Noach MiFrankfurt Sep 25 '17 at 20:24

"zecher lemaase bereshit" in the "magen avot" of shabbos, should be "zecher lemaase vereshit"

  • ...and many an initial ב or כ or פ or ת pronounced with a dagesh when following a mater lectionis in the same phrase. – msh210 Feb 27 '11 at 4:35
  • ...like Shaare T'shuva. – msh210 Mar 2 '11 at 18:07
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    See also mi.yodeya.com/questions/6958 – msh210 Apr 24 '11 at 5:19
  • Many Jews don't even have "vet refu'ah". I generally ignore it when that happens, as it doesn't change the MEANING of the word. – B.BarNavi Aug 10 '11 at 4:12
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    Even if it doesn't change the meaning of the word still it's a wrong pronunciation. – jutky Aug 10 '11 at 6:10

ספר ישׁעיה פרק מ פסוּק לא וְקוֹיֵ ד' יַחֲלִיפוּ כֹחַ is often mispronounced as וְקוֹוֵי ד' יַחֲלִיפוּ כֹחַ

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    Oh my gosh! I had no idea! – WAF Apr 5 '11 at 22:19

"Rebbe" (or "Rebbi") is one. Depending on who you ask, the proper form is either רַבִּי (Ashkenazic), רִבִּי (Sephardic), or רְבִי (R' Yaakov Emden).

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    "Depending on whom you ask" #irony – Seth J Jan 27 '13 at 5:31
  • Rebbi is the Yiddish pronunciation, just so you know. – ezra Jun 16 '17 at 20:38

One that I notice a lot is v'taher libeinu l'avd'cha (to your servant) instead of l'ovd'cha (to serve you).

There's also a bunch in "yeshivish dialect" that are to numerous to count (lichora, b'dieved, machmas, etc.)

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    I hear a lot of Americans brought up with the Mizrachi-style havara pronounce many "o" _kamatz_es as "a". – msh210 Feb 22 '11 at 21:56
  • @msh210, I know people who switched from Ashkenazi to American-Israeli who miss certain instances of kamatz katon. I use Ashkenazis but I try to differentiate – Noach MiFrankfurt Sep 25 '17 at 20:26

Has anybody else noticed that many people attempting to sound "Israeli" or "Sephardi" often pronounce a Kametz as a Pata*h even when it is supposed to be pronounced as a Kametz Katon?

Worst examples are: "Kal" instead of "Kol" - I mean, come on, couldn't they at least pronounce it like Ashkenazim and say "Kawl"?

"Karban" instead of "Korban" - I have not heard many people make this mistake, but I have heard it a handful of times. It makes me cringe.

"Le'Avdecha" instead of "Le'Ovdecha". :(

"Kadshecha" instead of "Kodshecha". This one actually makes me want to cry.

  • Yep! This was already mentioned, too: mi.yodeya.com/questions/5995#5995 – msh210 Mar 9 '11 at 20:10
  • "Kal 3atzmotai tomarna", "kal hamira", "kal nidre". There are exceptions, but bikhlal it should be "kol". I know some Moroccans (including great Hakhamim!) who pronounce hataf qamatz as "ah", rendering total mispronunciations as "tzahala" and "tahara". But what really irked me was when a ba3al qeri'ah was "corrected" to say "vayaQAM" in stead of "vaYAqom". MULTIPLE TIMES. – B.BarNavi Aug 10 '11 at 4:16
  • Actually, there is no Kametz Katon in Aramaic. However, as there is a difference between a Kametz and a Patah, when reciting a passage in Aramaic, it should be Kawl. Kawl Hamiraw, Kawl Nidrei. – Seth J Aug 10 '11 at 13:35
  • @B.BarNavi, there's no such differentiation in Tiverian pronunciation, although that assumes that one differentiates komotz and patach – Noach MiFrankfurt Sep 25 '17 at 20:27
  • It is only Kawl if you pronouce in an American accent. I pronouce it Kol. That is different to the word meaning voice where the o is a bit longer (more like coal but not quite). – CashCow Oct 24 '17 at 13:20

I'll start off with two:

  • בָּתִּים (of תפלין) is commonly pronounced as if it were spelled בַּתִּים, even by those who distinguish the two.
  • נַחוּם is commonly pronounced נָחוּם by those who distinguish the two.

In the Shabbos Davening there is often the word Shabbas which is mispronounced as Shabbos. For example באהבה וברצון שבת קדשך


Not sure if I should add another answer for this (or append to above ^^^)

Yontiff - as opposed to Yom Tov

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    Yontiff is already a recognized Yiddish word (at least according to someone on wikipedia!) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yontif – Yahu Feb 23 '11 at 1:55
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    @Yahu Interesting. I always though it was a mistake. Wonder where it came from {eyes "Ask Question" button} – yydl Feb 23 '11 at 3:46
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    yydl, you are joking right? Of course it comes from a perversion of Yom Tov. So does Shaleshudos come from Seudah Shlishis. – Yahu Feb 25 '11 at 0:00
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    Yeah. But still, it's strange how words come about just because they require less effort to say – yydl Feb 25 '11 at 1:16
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    That's by assimilation/reduction. – msh210 Feb 27 '11 at 4:33

Bitya Bat Par'o instead of the common mistake of Batya.

Da-ni-yel instead of da-ni-el

ברוך הוא אלוהינו שבראנו לכבודו should be pronounce sheb'ra'anu (that He created us) and not she'baranu (that we created)

and a biggie. people say Ha'shem (with segol) instead of Ha'sheim (with a tzerei) causing a subtle but fundamental difference in connotation between it sounding like a personification of a person's name (Hashem said this and Hashem did that) versus the way it should be taken, a non-physical third-person entity: THE NAME.

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    @DanielMokhtar, Welcome to Judaism.SE, and thanks very much for these excellent additions to this list! – Isaac Moses May 11 '11 at 17:20
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    Interesting points. But I don't understand the last one. What is the difference in meaning between "Hashem" and "Hasheim" (especially considering some don't differentiate in pronunciation between segol and tzere)? – WAF May 11 '11 at 17:24
  • kind of hard to explain in text. I think saying it verbally is the only way to sense the difference. The verbal deviation (of tzerei to segol) is only indicative of a more subtle transition of the word as a name of a person (hashem wants you to be good) when in fact it's meant as a description of an It (The Name wants you to be good). The difference is subtle but worlds apart in how one views the relation of man-to-creator imho. – Daniel Mokhtar May 11 '11 at 19:53
  • @Isaac. Thanks for the welcome btw. יישר כחך on the site. – Daniel Mokhtar May 11 '11 at 20:06
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    @Zvi yes in my tanach as well. with a tzerei under the 'yud'. – Daniel Mokhtar May 17 '11 at 20:06

The second pasuk in Sh'ma: ואהבת את ה' אל-היך... V'a-hav-ta should be pronounced mil'ra, not the almost universal "V'a-hav-ta". This is serious, because it actually changes the meaning - it should mean "and you shall love Hashem your G-d", whereas the mispronunciation renders it "and you loved Hashem your G-d". Reference: Rabbi Phil Chernofsky of Torah Tidbits.

  • See the question: "I'm excluding from this request errors in stress (emphasis)". Note also that v'ahavta with stress at the end as is proper is mil'ra not mil'el. – msh210 May 11 '11 at 20:31
  • Oops, editing my answer to milra {blushes} – Shaul Behr May 11 '11 at 21:03
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    I recognize the reason for the downvote, but given the importance of the placement of the emphasis, I'm giving it back an upvote. – Seth J May 12 '11 at 20:13

In Kaddish,

יהא שמה רבא מברך (Y'he sh'meh rabba m'varach)

is frequently mispronounced

יהא שמה רבא מבורך (Y'he sh'meh rabba m'vorach)

switching the kamatz for a cholam in "m'varach."

(In Ashkenazi pronunciation, I also hear "m'voirach" instead of "m'vorach." Drives me crazy!)

  • When I read your answer, I said 'hey, that's what I say!'. Actually, the first is a komatz and the second a patach, so (my)ashkenazic pronunciation would be m'vorach. – YDK May 12 '11 at 17:49
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    I think this could be because so many people who need to say Kaddish don't actually read Hebrew but instead use a transliteration, which, for reasons I still do not understand, use an 'o' for a Kametz when transliterating in Ashkenazi pronunciation. The 'oi' could also be an offshoot of that. I've heard people say "Yisroyel". -Shudders- – Seth J May 12 '11 at 20:10
  • @YDK, edited to fix. Clearly you can guess which pronunciation I use. – JXG May 17 '11 at 7:50
  • @SethJ, but I've heard this error from people who read Hebrew fine, pray thrice daily in it, and are responding to rather than reciting kadish. – msh210 Aug 25 '11 at 15:23
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    So have I. I've heard Mevoirach and Yisroyel from those who are experienced as well. It's distressing. I do believe it has much to do with the transliteration using an 'o' for a Kametz, whether or not people are using the transliteration or glossing over the Hebrew. Once it's in their subconscious that Kametz is an 'o' it follows that some will pronounce it as such and that some will even pronounce it as 'oi'. I've heard people accidentally pronounce a Tav as an 's' despite the fact that it has a Dagesh. Usually this is corrected, as it's an accidental slip, not a regular habit, though. – Seth J Aug 25 '11 at 17:37

Yeshivish types are trending from a-doinoi to a-dunoi to a-deenoi.

  • I recently read a quote from Rav Shimon Schwab ZT"L that said that pronunciation isn't Halachically valid according to any Ashkenazi minhag. – Zvi May 11 '11 at 15:23

I always cringe when someone replaces the "Ve" ("and"/flip to future) before a verb with the "Va" ("and"/flip to past) they're expecting.

One example of something similar: In Havdala (words are from Esther, but ba'alei keriya are less likely to make this mistake), saying "... vesasson vayekar" instead of "... vesasson vikar."

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    Isaac, check out my examples, some of which are just that. – Yahu Feb 24 '11 at 6:21
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    Or vice versa. One that throws me off if I'm not paying attention is וְיאמְרוּ בַגּויִם ה' מָלָךְ, since most times the word is וַיּאמְרוּ. – YDK Mar 2 '11 at 0:23

Perhaps it's my imagination, but I seem to hear people singing v'nahapoch hu (instead of v'nahafoch hu).

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    It's not your imagination. It is either their inebriation or their ignorance! – Yahu Mar 21 '11 at 3:20

bruchta, when people should say baruch ata H'

  • That's by reduction. – msh210 Mar 24 '11 at 21:14

The names of some letters of the alef-beis are commonly mispronounced, at least by Ashkenazim:

ב - with final /z/ rather than /s/
ד - with final /d/ rather than /s/
צ - with final /k/ rather than nothing (the proper name of the letter is "tzadi")
ת - with final /f/ rather than /v/

  • I wonder whether tavtaf is an example of a Yiddish tendency to devoice the end of a word, as in yontif and Hashem echat (yes, I've heard it). (Of course, that wouldn't help to explain besbez. – msh210 Apr 5 '11 at 20:17
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    "Beizmedrish". There's your answer: regressive voicing assimilation. Theoretically, once you take off the "medrish" you should be back to "beis", but for some it didn't work out that way. – B.BarNavi Aug 10 '11 at 4:21
  • Later asked; later asked. – msh210 Dec 7 '12 at 14:51

There is a phrase in the haftarah rani v' simchi [Zech. 3:7] וְנָתַתִּי לְךָ מַהְלְכִים, בֵּין הָעֹמְדִים הָאֵלֶּה (MAHL'CHIM) that for a couple of years in a row I have heard MEHALCHIM. Though I daven where they lein from klaf, so I don't know if that counts.

  • I hear what sounds like hypercorrection of the o-->oy shift in the form of people pronouncing the words אויבים or אויבינו as אובים or אובינו.

  • "Vay'hal'lu" in place of "viy'hal'lu" in "ויהללו ויברכו את שמך באמת" in the penultimate b'racha of 18.

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    I've heard go for goy! – msh210 Apr 5 '11 at 20:20

Also words with an prefixed bes, kaf, or lamed with a patach (meaning "in the" or the like) pronounced with a sh'va (meaning "in" or the like), like nogea b'davar.

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    ...and occasionally the opposite, like kav'yachol. – msh210 Mar 6 '11 at 4:49

Also l'y'rushalayim (instead of lirushalayim) and similar: prefixed vav, kaf, lamed, or bes followed by a yod with a sh'va pronounced as two sh'vas rather than as a chirik.


Often adopted by kids, or others who sing birkas hamazon emphatically. . .

Hashem y'varech es amo bashalom

as the last line, instead of

Hashem y'varech es amo vashalom

  • You could categorize that as "Wrong application of the Beged Cefes BeRosh Milah Rule". (The exception is when it is when the word preceding it is a meshares [not a mafsik] and ends with an Alef, Heh, Vav, or Yud - Amo VaShalom is an example of this.) – Yahu Apr 24 '11 at 3:03
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    See also mi.yodeya.com/questions/6095 – msh210 Apr 24 '11 at 5:19

עֲרָכִין‎ (the מסכת‎'s name).

  • That last one I'm not so sure about. Some mefarshim (will have to look up which ones) say that the proper name is indeed עִדִּיוֹת, meaning "the best" (paralleling the Aramaic name בחירתא by which the Gemara refers to it). – Alex Apr 24 '11 at 5:04
  • R'Alex, thank you for the correction; I'll remove eduyos from my answer. – msh210 Apr 24 '11 at 5:17

It drives me crazy when feminine nouns ending in a "saf" are pluralized into male form e.g. "tallis" => "talleisim" (should be "tallisos"), "shabbos" => "shabbosim" (shabbasos), "machlokes" => "machlokesim" (machlokos), and of course the most ironic "ta'us" = "ta'usim" (ta'uyos)!


Jastrow notes that מחמת is actually מֵחַמַּת (mechamas) and widely mispronounced. (Thanks to R' Micha Berger for finding this confirmation of my suspicion.)


"דּוֹר לְדוֹר יְשַׁתַּבַּח מַעֲשֶֽׂיךָ" instead of "דּוֹר לְדוֹר יְשַׁבַּח מַעֲשֶֽׂיךָ" in אַשְׁרֵי "

כִּי גָז חִישׁ וְנָּעֻֽפָה instead of "כִּי גָז חִישׁ וַנָּעֻֽפָה" in תְּפִלָּה לְמֹשֶׁה in psukei dzimra of Shabbos.

"נְרַנְּנָה בִּישׁוּעָתֶֽךָ, וּבְשֵׁם אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ נִגְדֹּל" instead of נְרַנְּנָה בִּישׁוּעָתֶֽךָ, וּבְשֵׁם אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ נִדְגֹּל in לַמְנַצֵּֽחַ at the end of shaharis weekday.

"וְאוֹמְרִים פְּעָמִים בְּכָל יוֹם" as opposed to וְאוֹמְרִים פַּעֲמַֽיִם בְּכָל יוֹם before korbanos everyday.

וָאֲהַלְלָה instead of וַאֲהַלְלָה in אַשְׁרֵי

חַלָּמִישׁ לְמַיְינוֹ מָֽיִם instead of חַלָּמִישׁ לְמַעְיְנוֹ מָֽיִם in הלל

וָאַשַׁלֵשׁ instead of וַאַשַׁלֵשׁ in רבוֹן כל העלמים said Friday night before אשׁת חיל.

Instead of כִּי כָּל אֱלֹהֵי הָעַמִּים אֱלִילִים I hear some people constantly say כִּי כָּל אֱלֹהֵי הָעַמִּים אֱלֹהִים in hodu of psukei dzimrah!

Even worse... וַיִרְאוּ הָעָם אֶת ד instead of וַיִּירְאוּ הָעָם אֶת ד!

Can it get any worse? Yes! Baruch Hu Elokainu Shebaranu Lichvodo instead of Sheb'ra'anu Lichvodo!

and for now last but certainly not least one of my all-time favorites...

Instead of וּבָרֵךְ שְׁנָתֵֽנוּ כַּשָּׁנִים הַטּוֹבוֹת one guy I hear all the time says וּבָרֵךְ שְׁנָתֵֽנוּ כַּנָּשִׁים הַטּוֹבוֹת!

I have many more and can go on and on and on...

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    Retzeh in the admidah, the first uVIsfilosom is always pronounced usfilosom like the second one – Raffy Van der Vaart Feb 23 '11 at 10:42
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    Re למעינו, same thing with יֶאְשְׁמוּ (in Shabbos morning davening), and other examples where an aleph or an ayin has a sheva nach followed by a letter with sheva na. – Alex Feb 27 '11 at 15:33

What about Shkoiach versus Yiyashar kochacho

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