Happy Friday! Today’s Dictionary.com Word of the Day is “cacoepy” [kuh-koh-uh-pee]. I had never heard this word before, but I have definitely heard more than a few cacoepies in my life.
They are like fingernails scraping across a chalkboard to those of us who take words, vocabulary and language seriously. They can also be amusing and goofy. Context is key. Cacoepy is defined as an “incorrect pronunciation or an instance of this; mispronunciation.
Dictionary.com had a lengthy etymology summary:
“Cacoepy comes from Greek kakoépeia “mispronunciation, incorrect language,” made up of the adjective kakós “bad, evil, worthless, ugly” and the noun épos (also dialect wépos) “word, speech, song.” The adjective comes from baby talk or a nursery word widespread in Indo-European languages, kakka- “to defecate, poop, shit.” The root appears in Latin cacāre (Italian cacare, Spanish cagar), Slavic (Polish) kakać, German kacken, and English cuck(ing stool). The Greek noun épos (wépos) comes from the Proto-Indo-European root wekw-, wokw- “to speak,” source of Latin vox “voice,” whose stem vōc- forms the verb vōcāre “to call.” Cacoepy entered English in the 19th century.”
I decided to Google mispronounced words. There are plenty. You may have heard them. You may have even used a few. Here’s a sampling:
expecially, pecific, expresso (coffee), nucular, irregardless, libary, miniture, orientate, perogative, prespire, probly, sherbert, supposably, upmost
I find it hard to take anyone who is fluent in cacoepies seriously. Usually I smile politely while they fracture the English language, biting my tongue to keep myself from correcting them.
You say potatoe and I say pototoe. Does it matter? Well, some linguists believe this is a natural evolution of words. It’s how language is refined and developed. While others, the purists, believe we should strive for proper diction and pronunciation, maintaining the integrity of the language.
For the fun of it though I’ll leave you with a few silly, goofy cacoepies. You may be familiar with these misinterpreted song lyrics. The question is, do you know the actual lyrics?
Here we go! Come on, sing along. You know the words! Maybe! 😜
“This is the dawning of the Age of Asparugus, Asparugus” – Aquarius – Fifth Dimension
“Ah, ah, ah, ah, Sayin a lie, Sayin a lie” – Stayin’ Alive – Bee Gees
“She’s mighty mighty, built like a mastodon” – Brick House – Commodores
“Let’s drink to assaulting the Earth” – Salt of the Earth – Judy Collins
“Oprah got no style!” – Gangnam Style – Psy
“Looks like we mated” – You’re Still the One – Shania Twain
“Joy to the visions that the people see” – Joy to the World – Three Dog Night
“Sweet dreams are made of cheese” – Sweet Dreams – The Eurythmics
“Or should I just keep chasing penguins” – Chasing Pavements – Adele
“All the lonely Starbucks lovers” – Blank Space – Taylor Swift
“Then I saw her face, now I’m gonna leave her” – I’m a Believer – The Monkees
“Kicking your cat all over the place” – We Will Rock You – Queen
“Got some electric boobs and a mohawk, too ” – Bennie and the Jets – Elton John
So there you have it. Our word of the day, cacoepy. I do like the way this word sounds. (I included the pronunciation above.😉) Here’s my Haiku then. Have a great weekend!
with axes to nucular codes
cannot be trusted
when enunciated well
language is an art