18
votes

What is the hardest tongue twister you have ever seen? Humorous ones are also welcome.

1
  • I read that the "The sixth sick Sheik's sixth sheep is sick" holds the Guinness record as the world's hardest tongue twister but playing with a new tongue twister game I recently downloaded, I found this one the most difficult: There are two minutes difference from four to two to two to two, from two to two to two, too.
    – JohnK
    Jun 29, 2011 at 3:38

20 Answers 20

1
vote

I've always liked

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. How many pickled peppers did Peter Piper pick?

1
  • 14
    I'm kind of surprised this was the accepted answer. I'm not surprised it is not the leading vote-getter. It is one of the least difficult-to-say tongue twisters out there. Actually, I'm not even sure I would call it a tongue twister at all (but for the fact that it is commonly accepted as such); to me it's just an example of alliteration.
    – John Y
    Jan 22, 2011 at 22:29
20
votes

From the various tongue twister collections you can find (English Tongue Twisters, alpha dictionary English Tongue-Twisters, English club Tongue-Twisters, ...), one of the hardest is the classic:

The sixth sick Sheik's sixth sheep is sick.

But that will obviously vary depending on your accent and region.
As illustrated by this college exercise, it can be a way to improve some specific pronunciation.

4
  • 2
    You forgot The socks of the Archduchess, are they dry or bone dry? :)
    – Benjol
    Nov 30, 2010 at 8:41
  • 3
    I can barely say the sick Shiek one, but have no trouble at all with Peter Piper.
    – TRiG
    Jan 21, 2011 at 20:25
  • Lordy. The only way I can say this one is with a two-second pause between words while I rearrange my tongue. Tongue-twister indeed.
    – Marthaª
    Feb 9, 2011 at 15:26
  • 1
    Yep, "The sixth sick sheikh's sixth sheep's sick." with the apostrophized "sheep" is easily the toughest one I've come across. The words just blur into one unless I purposely put a pause between each one. :-)
    – Jez
    Feb 9, 2011 at 15:53
9
votes

There is always the pheasant plucker, it is very difficult indeed in polite society :)

There is a song: http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~mentor01/song.htm

2
  • +1 for giving me a good laugh first thing in the morning :)
    – Will
    Dec 2, 2010 at 14:01
  • 2
    The first time I heard this was in my Drama class, as "I'm a mother pheasant plucker / I like to pluck mother pheasants / I'm the most pleasant mother pheasant plucker / who ever plucked a mother pheasant." We were challenged to recite it as quickly as possible. All others failed to much laughter and embarrassment, but I recited it perfectly on the first go, then punctuated the end with a great shout of "motherf—er!" Good times.
    – Jon Purdy
    Jan 21, 2011 at 22:24
8
votes

She sells sea-shells on the sea-shore. The shells she sells are sea-shells I'm sure.

This one is interesting as it refers to a real person with a fascinating life: Mary Anning, a self-taught fossilist.

1
  • Bonus points for interesting side-note.
    – John Y
    Jan 22, 2011 at 22:32
7
votes

One of the simplest is repeating "Toy Boat" aloud as fast as possible.

3
  • 1
    Similarly, "red leather, yellow leather".
    – Jon Purdy
    Jan 21, 2011 at 22:37
  • 1
    Which is similar to red lorry, yellow lorry.
    – Sky Red
    Feb 4, 2011 at 20:49
  • @Sky - this is my favorite so I added it as an answer
    – ukayer
    Feb 6, 2011 at 20:32
6
votes

The incredibly short

Irish wristwatch

has always been difficult for me.

2
  • Not heard of this before. Totally stumpping! Feb 9, 2011 at 17:15
  • 1
    +1 - Automatically turn into Sean Connery when saying this one.
    – boehj
    May 13, 2011 at 8:44
4
votes

I always liked:

The Leith police dismisseth us.

(Leith is an area of Edinburgh, pronounced to rhyme with 'teeth'.)

4
votes

I'm not sure if this falls under tongue-twister, but I've always loved it.

Betty Botter bought some butter,
But, she said, The butter's bitter;
If I put it in my batter
It will make my batter bitter.
But, a bit of better butter
Will make my batter better.

So, she bought a bit of butter
Better than her bitter butter,
And she put it in her batter
And the batter was not bitter.
So, 'twas better Betty Botter
Bought a bit of better butter.

4
votes

Lorry is a British English word for a large truck and allows us to use "red lorry, yellow lorry" which is about as hard as it gets.

1
  • Nice. This one is so hard, most people trip the second time they say it.
    – Sky Red
    Feb 7, 2011 at 7:09
3
votes

While not the most difficult, one of my favorites is "Rubber baby buggy bumpers."

1
  • I appreciate the fact that you acknowledge it's not that difficult. I agree with you that it's cute and fun. :)
    – John Y
    Jan 22, 2011 at 22:35
3
votes

Almost anything from Dr Seuss, especially his

bed spreaders spread spreads on beds and bread spreaders spread butter on breads

and:

tweetle beetle paddle puddle battle

and from Fox in Socks, anything to do with

chicks and clocks, bricks and blocks.

Not terribly tough but lots of fun.

And this one from a ladybird phonics book:

Thin chips, thick chips, lick-your-lips chips.

1
  • What do you know about Tweetle Beetles? (Anything from Fox in Socks).
    – GEdgar
    Aug 24, 2011 at 0:44
3
votes

This is one that is hard to say quick:

Red Robin, the red river rat, ran right round the the rabbit's rickety rocking chair, and rubbed his rosy, rusty, red rump on the rumpled red rug.

2
votes

Unique New York

Is a favorite of mine.

1
vote

I've always liked this (juvenile) one, from the Steve Martin film "The Jerk":

I slit the sheet;
The sheet I slit.
Upon the slitted sheet I sit.

1
vote

Contiguous mnemonic anomalies. We had to be able to say this 10 times rapidly to graduate from my GIS class.

2
  • 3
    What is a GIS class?
    – Marthaª
    Feb 9, 2011 at 15:24
  • @martha - Geographic Information Systems. And we didn't really, we just joked that we had to... May 24, 2011 at 19:03
1
vote

A cycle rally is different from lorry rally.

1
vote

One of my personal favorites:

Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear. Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair. Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn't fuzzy, was he?

0
votes

One of my favorites: "blue-black bug's blood."

0
votes

More of a 'bum-twister' really, and definitely beneath me, but I always liked

What about a water bottle, Wibble?

0
votes

I always like the old Wood Chuck. I am surprised that nobody said anything about it yet.

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck If a woodchuck could chuck wood? He would chuck, he would, as much as he could, And chuck as much as a woodchuck would If a woodchuck could chuck wood.

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