24

I heard it from a radio station and just don't know how to spell it out. It sounds something like "malfolk" and means words that don't know how to pronounce, szmczyk, for example.

Does anyone know the word?

  • 7
    Szmczyk is easy to pronounce for a Pole: "shm-chick". – Rand al'Thor Jan 4 '17 at 23:18
  • Shouldn't that be "szymczyk"? :) – Spook Jan 5 '17 at 7:28
  • I don't get what's so hard about names like that. Like the coach from Duke. It's obviously pronounced crazy-zoo-ski – Kevin Jan 5 '17 at 17:22
  • @Spook No, "Szmczyk" is a perfectly cromulent Polish name pronounced /ʂmt͡ʂɨk/. (the m is not syllabic) – Mark Beadles Jan 6 '17 at 15:44
  • @MarkBeadles, Actually, I am Pole and though I know a few Szymczyk's, I know no Szmczyk. Though there seem to be a few "Szmczyk"s on the Internet, I'd rather vote on misspelling rather than on existence of such surname. Can you provide word-base for such surname? – Spook Jan 10 '17 at 10:19
54

I believe the word you are looking for is mouthful.

Dictionary.com defines mouthful as (amongst other meanings) :

A long word or group of words, especially one that is hard to pronounce.

It is commonly used in English - e.g., "that was a real mouthful."

  • 5
    I really feel "mouthful" more refers to, oh, "big, technical, compound" sort of words, like nitrosilicontransacidfat. Easy to pronounce, but a "mouthful". Words like Blois (the town), say, are basically impossible to pronounce - I wouldn't really use "mouthful" there. – Fattie Jan 6 '17 at 3:47
  • 1
    @JoeBlow Perhaps it is more of a UK/Commonwealth usage. When one mispronounces any word, it is common to finish by saying "well that was a real mouthful" with intended embarrassment. But you are right that it is most often associated with big, technical words. Regardless, I think mouthful best matches the OPs request that is sounds like malfolk. – UserEpsilon Jan 6 '17 at 3:52
  • It's a pity that malfolk isn't a real word. It sounds as if it ought to be a word for something. – Yvonne Aburrow Jan 6 '17 at 14:13
  • 1
    It's also a pity that the word for this is so easy to pronounce. It would be great if there were an autological word for it. :) – Barmar Jan 9 '17 at 17:17
21

A word difficult to pronounce is "a jawbreaker"

  • jawbreaker - "a word that is difficult to pronounce" - TFD

"a tongue-twister" usually refers to a word or sequence of words difficult to pronounce.

  • tongue-twister - "a word or sequence of words difficult to pronounce, especially rapidly, because of alliteration or a slight variation of consonant sounds" - DC

examples of jawbreakers (for some people)

  • "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious"
  • "diaphragmatic"
  • "fait accompli"
  • "dowager"

examples of tongue-twisters:

  • "where she sits she shines, and where she shines she sits."
  • "can you can a can as a canner can can a can?"
  • "I wish I were what I was when I wished I were what I am.
  • 1
    Yes, jawbreaker: a tongue twister (BrE) – haha Jan 4 '17 at 23:42
  • +1, though I usually associate jawbreaker with this. Took me a week to finish my first jawbreaker... – phyrfox Jan 6 '17 at 1:19
7

How about Crackjaw:

crackjaw (ˈkrækˌdʒɔː)

adj

difficult to pronounce

n

a word or phrase that is difficult to pronounce

Wikitonary also gives some info;

English

Etymology

crack +‎ jaw

Adjective

crackjaw ‎(not comparable)

Difficult or unpleasant to pronounce.

a crackjaw language

a crackjaw name

  • 1
    supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is a mouthful, but I don't have any trouble pronouncing it. Plus one for offing a word that the definition for is “hard to pronounce”. – Mazura Jan 5 '17 at 23:53
  • @Mazura I think you commented on the wrong answer? This answer is about "crackjaw", not "mouthful" (here). – EKons Jan 6 '17 at 9:47
  • @Constant'sErik - Nope. It's a jab at both of the answers that are above this one for some reason. – Mazura Jan 6 '17 at 9:50
0

I would recommend "unenunciable"; literally, a word which cannot be enunciated (spoken aloud). To enunciate means

Say or pronounce clearly

[Oxford Online Dictionary]

  • Welcome to English Language and Usage. Your answer was automatically flagged as low-quality for its length and content. Can you include some examples where the word unenunciable is used to mean what the OP wants? – user140086 Jan 6 '17 at 14:45

protected by user140086 Jan 6 '17 at 14:43

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