Worcestershire is just one of those English words that is impossible to pronounce right by just looking at it. And despite the fact that Worcestershire sauce has been around since 1830 most people struggle with its pronunciation.
When Chef Pasquale posted a Youtube video with bloopers with his attempts to get the Worcestershire sauce pronunciation right – BAAAM! He scored over 2 million views way more than he usually gets when he records his receipts. And no, he didn’t manage to get it right.
Wu-shesh-ta-shaire sauce, wu-shter-shaier sauce, wu-shesh-sheh sauce – you can have so much fun listening to your friends trying to say Worcestershire sauce. Let me help you get it right! It is actually really simple as long as you know the 2 rules below.
How to say Worcestershire
Worcestershire has only 3 syllables. Woo-ster-shehr. Yes, the RCE in Wo
RCEstershire looks totally out of place
Shire rhymes with New Hampshire. There is no AI sound in shire. It’s sher with that very short unaccented eh sound.
Really simple: Woo – ste(r) – sheh(r). If you really like rhotic pronunciations you may include the Rs, but only in second and third syllable. If you want to be more authentic skip them, after all the sauce has been named after a British place.
Why Worcestershire has only 3 syllables
In a nutshell because Worcester has only 2 syllables and because shire (county in Great Britain) rhymes with New Hampshire. Why does Worcester have only 2 syllables then? Beacuse Worcester is a really old word and its pronunciation evolved over time quite a bit as the good ole folk on the other side of the pond tried to make is sound easier.
They dropped the r as English became a non-rhotic language and so Wor become just Woo. They also modified the latin word castrum, which means fort, a few times. First caster became chester which become sester which become sster which ended up being ster. And that’s how Worcester became pronounced simply Woo-stehr. In fact, a few other city names in Britain underwent a similar transformation for example: Gloucester and Leicester.
Fun Fact: We know that Worcester has been pronounced as 2 syllables for the last 500 years – from the rhyming in Shakespeare’s plays.”
Worcestershire sauce or Worcester sauce
Worcestershire sauce is often shortened to Worcester sauce however only the former version is correct. And so go ahead and only use the longer one, it’s definitely more fun to pronounce and now you know how to say it right.
The original sauce goes by the full name of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce and today is owned by the Heinz Company.