Did you just say “mem”?
To ensure that you don’t come off sounding silly next time you’re chatting with nerds, we’ve compiled this guide on how to properly pronounce some of the terms popular in tech and tech culture.
So learn the correct way to say this stuff, and next time you can be the one making fun of your friends when one of them says “mem.”
Aereo: noun [TV streaming service]
Pronounced “AIR-e-oh,” like a mash-up of “airplane” and “Oreo” (source).
Aereo offers broadcast television to Internet-connected devices. The legality of the service has been challenged by television networks time and time again, but what’s important here is that you can pronounce it correctly. We’re not sure how you were trying to say Aereo before, but you were wrong.
“Thanks to Aereo, I can watch The Tonight Show on my iPad while making stir-fry!”
cache: noun [computing term]
Pronounced “cash,” like the money (source).
The terms “cache” or “caching” are technical computer jargon that describe the storing of digital information in nearby memory banks for fast access. Most commonly, you’ll hear this word used in reference to Internet browsing, as versions of webpages are often cached to local hard drives to make offline access possible. The word is sometimes incorrectly pronounced like “cachet.”
“The Internet connection is down. Thank goodness I have this great Yahoo Tech article page cached. I can still pull that up and read it.”
meme: noun [viral Internet joke]
Pronounced “meem,” not “mem” or “me-me” (source).
You’ve seen these. Usually posted to forum boards and social media feeds, memes are like the Internet’s image-based inside jokes. With the right captioning campaign, almost any image can become a great meme — take Ryan Gosling’s “Hey, girl” for example).
“The Ridiculously Photogenic Guy meme is my favorite. That guy is so ridiculously photogenic.”
OS X: noun [operating system]
Pronounced “oh-ess-ten,” not “oh-ess-ex” (source).
For the 10th version of its operating system software for Macintosh, Apple chose to use the Roman numeral for 10. This may look slick, but it’s introduced some confusion into the pronunciation of the product. Just know that that’s a 10, not an actual X.
“Have you downloaded the latest OS X update? I think it’s called ‘Alley Cat.’ Or is it ‘Pink Panther’? I can’t remember.”
GIF: noun [digital image format]
Pronounced “jif,” like the peanut butter (source).
GIF is an acronym for “Graphics Interchange Format.” Usually ripped from portions of digital video, these animated images are short and sweet and typically employ humor, witticisms, or something visually attractive (for example, a kitten, a supermodel, or a perfectly looped animation). The rift over which way GIF is supposed to be pronounced was settled last year when inventor Steve Wilhite publicly declared that saying it with a hard “g” was incorrect.
“Have you seen the latest Rob Ford GIF? It’s his most knuckleheaded moment yet.”
Imgur: noun [image hosting service]
Pronounced exactly like the word “imager” (source).
This site is important, especially if you like memes and GIFs. Imgur is a free service that hosts digital images for sharing online, which is why a heck of a lot of the Web’s viral content can be found here. Don’t get caught saying “imm-grr” or “imm-jour,” because you’ll be wrong.
“I hope the world is ready for this GIF of my super-cute puppy. I’m uploading it to Imgur right now.”
Data: noun [computing]
Pronounced “DAY-tuh” or “Dah-Tah” (source).
Merriam-Webster says data is “information in numerical form that can be digitally transmitted or processed.” Basically, data makes up all of our Instagram posts, QuizUp rounds, and spam emails; it’s omnipresent!
As far as pronunciation, it’s hard to mess this one up. The dictionary claims there are technically three ways to pronounce this word (two variations of “dah-tah”). We think remembering the Star Trek character when saying it aloud is the way to go. But don’t make a dictionary bet on this one. You won’t win it.
“Did you know Google has multiple data centers that are larger than 300,000 feet?”
Nokia: noun [mobile device company]
Pronounced “NO-key-uh” (source)
You probably remember Nokia phones from yesteryear, before the smartphone explosion. They had colorful, replaceable plastic shells and dialer keys — real dope stuff. Well the Finnish phone maker was just purchased by Microsoft, and considering its recent onslaught of high-end Windows phone releases, may become quite relevant again. Since your next phone could again be a Nokia, you’ll want to make sure you know how to say the name the right way.
“This new Nokia Lumia 930 I just got — real dope stuff.”
Asus: noun [computer company]
Pronounced “AY-seuss,” like Dr. Seuss (source)
This Taiwanese computer, tablet, and smartphone maker is known for its affordable, yet high-quality products. For some time, we’ve heard folks mispronounce Asus like “ACE-us.” Be sure to avoid this blooper.
“That awesome Nexus 7 of yours, who makes it? Is it Asus?”
Pwn: verb [slang]
Pronounced “pone,” rhymes with “bone” (source)
A variation of “own,” “pwn” is meant to express dominance or victory over another, usually in PC or video gaming. The spelling comes from a common mistyping of “own” due to the proximity of the O and P keyboard keys.
“You can try your luck against me at StarCraft. Just know that I will pwn you.”
Have questions, comments, or just want to tell me something funny? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.