The famous names we mispronounced most in 2020

You’ve probably had a moment, or two, when you saw the name of a famous person and drew a blank as to the correct pronunciation.  

We’ve heard numerous variations of the vice president-elect’s name during the US election campaign. Her win should help increase our accuracy, we hope.

Well, turns out you’re not alone.

The year’s most mispronounced names, according to the US Captioning Company, which surveyed its members to determine the names that left us at a loss this year.

With the US presidential election and the coronavirus pandemic dominating much of the year’s discussions, it’s not surprising that many of the names on the list are related to these two topics.

He may be the NBA’s MVP but that didn’t help make Giannis Antetokounmpo’s name any easier to pronounce. (Photo:

See below for the names, and helpful pronunciations, that made the cut:

Anthony Fauci (AN-thon-nee FOW-chee): Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Bangtan Sonyeondan (PUNG-tahn SOH-nyun-dahn): The full name of South Korean K-Pop band ‘BTS’, which translates as “a group of bulletproof boys” or “bulletproof boy scouts.”

Giannis Antetokounmpo (YON-nis AHN-de-doh-KOON-boh): Greek basketball player who plays for the Milwaukee Bucks and was named the NBA’s ‘Most Valuable Player’ this year.

Isaias (ees-ah-EE-ahs ): The name given to a powerful hurricane that caused significant damage to the East Coast and Caribbean this summer.

Kamala Harris: The Associated Press has reported Harris’ first name is pronounced “KAH’-mah-lah” — or, as she explains in her biography, “‘comma-la,’ like the punctuation mark.”

Leonardo da Vinci (lee-oh-NAR-doe dah-VIN-chee): The Italian painter, architect, and engineer who created the ‘Mona Lisa.’ A mispronunciation of his name was the subject of a viral meme on social media this year.

Mahamayavi Bhagavan Antle (mu-HAH-muh-yaw-vee bag-AH-wahn ANT-uhl): The full name of wildlife park operator ‘Doc’ Antle, who shot to fame in the Netflix documentary series ‘Tiger King.’