June 29, 2024 at 3:33 pm

Most People Are Pronouncing ‘Mount Everest’ Incorrectly

by Trisha Leigh

Source: Shutterstock

As a lifelong reader, I can tell you that some of the most embarrassing moments of my life have been mispronouncing a word that could define but had never heard spoken.

Audiobooks have changed the game as far as that is concerned.

No one likes to say something wrong, because no one likes to feel less than smart, right?

So, read on to find out how you really should have been pronouncing ‘Mount Everest’ all this time.

Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world, is named after British geographer George Everest, despite his having very little connection to the peak.

Source: Public Domain

In fact, some doubt he ever even saw it with his own two eyes.

Everest himself said giving the mountain his name wouldn’t end well, as it is difficult to write in Hindi and also hard for native speakers to pronounce.

But English speakers are getting it wrong, too – because old George pronounced his last name “EVE-rest,” not “EVER-est” or “EV-rest.”

Wild, right?

So why is the tallest mountain in the world named after Sir George Everest?

It began when he was appointed Surveyor General of India from 1830-1843, He played an important role in the Great Trigonometrical Survey of India, which was a mission to map the entire Indian subcontinent.

It took almost 70 years to complete, during which the highest peak was known first as Gamma, then Peak B, and finally Peak XV.

Not exactly inspired.

Everest’s successor, Andrew Scott Waugh, was leading the project when the actual height of the peak was calculated by Indian mathematician Radhanath Sikdar.

Source: Shutterstock

Once they knew they had a record-breaking mountain on their hands, it obviously needed a better name.

Waugh wrote to Henry Thuillier in 1856 to suggest naming the mountain after his predecessor, whom he loved and admired.

“I was taught by my respected chief and predecessor, Colonel George Everest, to assign to every geographical object its true local or national appellation. But here is a mountain, most probably the highest in the world, without any local name that we can discover, whose native appellation, if it has any, will not very likely be ascertained before we are allowed to penetrate into Nepal, and to approach close to this stupendous snow mass.”

He took his duty seriously.

“In the meantime, the privilege, as well as the duty, devolves on me to assign this loft pinnacle a name whereby it may be known among geographers, and become a household word. In testimony of my affectionate respect for a revered chief, and to perpetuate the memory of that illustrious master of accurate geographical research – I have determined to name this noble peak Mount Everest.”

Source: Shutterstock

It’s worth noting that in Nepalese, Everest is known as Sagarmatha, which translates to “Forehead of the Sky,” while Tibet calls it Chomolungma or Qomolangma, meaning “Mother Goddess of the Earth.”

Some locals have raised the issue of wanting to rename the mountain in their own tongue and culture, but so far, it hasn’t caught on.

Well I, for one, never knew.

But I also don’t think we’re going to be making this change en masse anytime soon.

If you thought that was interesting, you might like to read about the mysterious “pyramids” discovered in Antarctica. What are they?