Brandon Robshaw: English Usage #27



How do you pronounce "lingerie"?

Not longeré. This is of course a very common mistake but I still can't get used to it. In French the sound in rhymes with pang (sort of) and -ie rhymes with wee. So the whole word would rhyme with...

Do you know, I just went on Rhymezone and tried it out and I was given options such as overstay. Truly. So now this mispronunciation is so entrenched that it's actually an official rhyme. Whoever compiles that website really does think that -ie (in French) is pronounced -ay.

Of course, that's bollocks. Lingerie ought to rhyme with canopy (sort of).



Dr Brandon Robshaw lectures for the Open University in Philosophy, Creative Writing and Children’s Literature. He has written several children’s books including a philosophical YA novel, The Infinite Powers of Adam Gowers. He and his family starred in BBC2’s Back in Time for Dinner. You can find his website here.