If you ever hear people arguing about a gyro, it’s typically not about how good they taste, but about how to pronounce “gyro.” Is it jeye-roh, yee-roh, zhihr-oh? Let’s end the debate. Luckily, it’s a little more cut-and-dry than how to pronounce “GIF.”
There are actually two definitions for the word gyro with two different pronunciations. According to Merriam-Webster, a gyro is both a shortened form of the words gyrocompass or gyroscope as well as a noun for a Greek sandwich of lamb, veggies, and tzatziki sauce. If you don’t know how to pronounce “gyro,” you probably also don’t know how to say these 55 words that even smart people mispronounce.
If you’re referring to a gyrocompass or gyroscope in conversation—which will probably happen very few times, if ever, in your life—you pronounce it jeye-roh, just how you would expect the word to be pronounced. If you’re ordering a gyro for lunch, you pronounce it yee-roh or zhihr-oh. The first is a little easier to pronounce. If you need a catchy tune to remember it the next time the waitress asks what you want to order, think about the rhyme in Jimmy Fallon and Luke Bryan’s “I Don’t Know How to Pronounce Gyro” song: “No more fear-o, you’re a hero, ’cause now I know it’s gyro (yee-roh).”
The word for this classic sandwich was borrowed into English from Modern Greek in the 1970s. Many English speakers have given their own twist to the pronunciation, but if you ever travel over to Greece, you’ll want to know how to pronounce “gyro” the correct way. Before you get too confident in your speech, though, make sure you never says these words (and phrases) that make you sound stupid.