Is there a word or idiom for persistence in pronouncing words incorrectly, even after being corrected?

Specifically, this question has arisen from a teenage debate over the correct pronunciation of "Reese's", as in peanut butter cups. Some persist in saying "Reesees", despite having been given proof that it is the possessive of Reese and should be pronounced as such.

Trivial debate, I know, but it brought up an interesting question.

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    There is no "correct" with regard to proper names, particularly ones that are trademarks. They can protect their own pronunciation if they care about it; it's certainly not anybody else's problem. I imagine the Reese people are happy to be pronounced any way at all as long they're being bought. Commented Jan 16, 2017 at 4:51
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    @John I’d say it’s the exact opposite: proper names are the only place where there can ever be a ‘correct’ pronunciation, particularly personal names. Commented Jan 16, 2017 at 8:31
  • Personal names, certainly. But not trademarked names. Anybody who wants to can pronounce a trademarked name any way they like. Commented Jan 16, 2017 at 15:39
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    @JohnLawler It's not that simple - duetsblog.com/2014/08/articles/trademarks/…
    – Phil Sweet
    Commented Jan 17, 2017 at 19:26

2 Answers 2



I think this is described almost perfectly by the word mumpsimus:

  1. adherence to or persistence in an erroneous use of language, memorization, practice, belief, etc., out of habit or obstinacy (opposed to sumpsimus).
  2. a person who persists in a mistaken expression or practice (opposed to sumpsimus).

Origin of mumpsimus

1520-30; from a story, which perhaps originated with Erasmus, of an illiterate priest who said mumpsimus rather than sumpsimus (1st plural perfect indicative of Latin sumere to pick up; see consume) while reciting the liturgy, and refused to change the word when corrected

(Dictionary.com Unabridged; Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.)

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    I’ve always found it hard to keep mumpsimus walled off from sumpsimus.
    – tchrist
    Commented Jan 15, 2017 at 23:30
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    I am going to pronounce this ""moomp-SY-mis" regardless of what you tell me. ;-)
    – Hellion
    Commented Jan 15, 2017 at 23:32

A possibility is mishearing.

Call it mishearing as in the example buttonhold became over time buttonholed because it was misheard.

Reese's might fall into the category of mishearing and became Reesees.

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