The Irish names Aoife and Saoirse are the hardest words for British people to pronounce, according to a 2023 study commissioned by casino operator Slotbox.

British people have the most difficulty enunciating Irish names and foreign foods, the study found. Aoife and Saoirse placed in the top two, while Niamh and Siobhan came in further down the list.

According to The Times, the study found that the name Aoife generated 111,000 Google searches on how to say it over the course of 2022, more than any other word in Britain. 

Pronounced "eefa," the name is among the most popular girl's names in Ireland. 

The difficulties of pronouncing Saoirse (“sur-sha”,) meanwhile, have been well-documented thanks to Irish American actress Saoirse Ronan, who has regularly talked about the pronunciation of her name on US chat shows. 

The Irish girl names Niamh - pronounced “neev” - and Siobhan - pronounced “shi-vawn" - also proved tricky to British people.

The study further found that Omicron, the Covid-19 variant, came in third place due to the fact that there are at least two pronunciations in common use - "om-my-kron" and "om-uh-kron."

The Ukrainian capital Kyiv, which regularly appeared in the news over the previously 12 months, was ranked as the fourth-hardest word for British people to say.

British and Irish people commonly pronounced Kyiv phonetically - "Ki-ev" - but reporters have been using the proper pronunciation "Keev" since the outbreak of Russia's invasion of Ukraine last February. 

The Brazilian fruit acaí - pronounced "ah-sah-ee" - completed the top five. 

The popular Greek food gyros, the Vietnamese surname Nguyen, and the word schedule completed the list. 

Schedule was ranked as one of the most difficult words to pronounce because there are two commonly used pronunciations - the traditional English pronunciation "shed-yool" and the American pronunciation "sked-yool."

The top 10 most mispronounced words in Britain, according to Slotbox: 

  1. Aoife
  2. Saoirse
  3. Omicron
  4. Kyiv
  5. Acaí
  6. Niamh
  7. Siobhán
  8. Gyros (yee·ros)
  9. Nguyen (n·win)
  10. Schedule (shed·yul)