CHEUGY /ˈtʃuːgi/

CHEUGY /ˈtʃuːgi/

If you don’t know what cheugy is by now, then don’t worry – you are probably a bit too out of date to be a cheug.


What is cheugy?

The essence of cheugy is slightly out of fashion, a bit cringeworthy /ˈkrɪnʒwəːði/.

But not totally out of fashion. If you wander down to your local shops in a victorian top hat, you aren’t cheugy.

But if you wander around in UGG boots, you probably are.

Other typically Cheugy things are LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE decorations and KEEP CALM slogans.

It’s really a generational /dʒɛnəˈreɪʃ(ə)n(ə)l/ thing. A stick for trendy Gen Zs to beat the slightly older and not so trendy Millennials with.

How to pronounce cheugy and its derivations.

The word itself looks a bit weird – it might have been invented by a high school student years before doing the rounds on social media platforms TikTok and Twitter.

But unlike the strange spelling, its pronunciation is very straightforward, starting with everyday word CHEW: /ˈtʃuːgi/.


A CHEUG /tʃuːg/ is someone who is cheugy.

CHEUGINESS /ˈtʃuːgɪnəs/ is the general state of being cheugy.

CHEUGIFICATION /ˌtʃuːgɪfɪˈkeɪʃ(ə)n/ doesn’t exist. Let’s hope it stays that way.

And to put everything in context, what’s the most cheugy thing ever?



The recent invasion of Ukraine has brought pronunciation of its capital city into the English speaking world’s spotlight.

The widely used pronunciation in English was /ˈkiːɛv/ (or /ˈkiːɛf/ with a devoiced final consonant) – with the /ɛ/ vowel sound in the second syllable.

But it turns out this is a Russian pronunciation of the capital. The Ukrainian version is closer to /ˈki:ɪv/ or /ˈkɪjɪv/ (/kiː.ɪf/ and /ˈkɪjif/ with devoicing) – either way there’s no /ɛ/ sound.

And since most people in Western Europe and the US appear to be in support of Ukraine sovereignty /ˈsɒvrɪnti/, this is the correct pronunciation for them to use.

It shouldn’t pose any pronunciation problems for English speakers; this sequence of vowel sounds is found in plenty of English words – the gerund of any verb ending /iː/:

skiing /ˈskiːɪŋ/
being /ˈbiːɪŋ/
freeing /ˈfriːɪŋ/

And although it’s only recently hit the headlines, the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has been trying to correct the pronunciation and spelling of Kyiv for several years with the popular hashtag #kyivnotkiev.

This led to the BBC and many other news outlets updating their pronunciation and spelling guidance long before the recent invasion:

But despite /ˈkiːɛv/ being a stranger vowel combination than /ˈkiːɪv/ to English speakers, the Russian pronunciation lives in the collective memory owing to a popular 80s ready meal – the CHICKEN KIEV, as seen in this 1988 advert by Sun Valley:

Time will tell if supermarkets join the movement and change the /ɛ/ to /ɪ/.

Lindsay Lohan’s Silent H

Lindsay Lohan’s Silent H

Lindsay Lohan’s Silent H

This week Lindsey Lohan joined Tik Tok.

That isn’t particularly newsworthy in itself, but nobody was prepared for what happened next. she dropped a genuine pronunciation bombshell:

That’s right. Lindsey Lohan doesn’t pronounce the /h/ in LOHAN /ˈləʊ.ən/.

Reaction ranged from despair:


to paranoia:

LOWEN? LOUTNER? GRANDEE? Okay they gotta be messing with us at this point

to straightforward denial:

u pronounced ur name wrong

I really don’t want to spread calm

or anything like that, but silent < h > has been around for as long as H itself. And it’s pretty normal for it to be silent at the beginning of a weak syllable in connected speech:

Has he finished?

But what I find strange is that nobody seems to care about the silent < d > in Lindsey /ˈlɪnzi/!! I’m starting to think this could be a conspiracy –



Palindrome Twosday

22022022 – Palindrome Twosday

Have you noticed anything unusual about today’s date? True, it has lots of 2s and it being Tuesday /ˈtjuːzdeɪ/, we could make a really funny word play to give us TWOSDAY /ˈtuːzdeɪ/.

But there’s something else: read it backwards and you’ll see that it is exactly the same; in other words, it’s a PALINDROME /ˈpalɪndrəʊm/.

Palindromes are words that read the same left to right and right to left. Examples in English are:

WOW /waʊ/
CIVIC /ˈsɪvɪk/
LEVEL /ˈlɛv(ə)l/
NOON /nuːn/
RADAR /ˈreɪdɑː/
SOLOS /ˈsəʊləʊz/
REFER /rɪfəː/
TENET /ˈtɛnɪt/
KAYAK /ˈkʌɪak/

It’s also possible for an entire sentence to be a palindrome:

“Never odd or even.” /nɛvər ɒd ɔːr iːv(ə)n/

“Was it a car or a cat I saw?” /wəz ɪt ə kɑːr ɔːr ə kat ʌɪ sɔː/

Palindromic IPA

You’ll notice that of all of the palindromes above, only one: NOON /nuːn/, is a palindrome in IPA.

As the same vowel spelling can have many different pronunciations, all of the two syllable words above contain two different vowel sounds and are not palindromic.

For the same reason, it is possible to have a palindrome in IPA that isn’t a palindrome in written English (we could only think of one, but there are probably more):