How to Pronounce My Surname (once and for all)


pasta (Photo credit: flavorrelish)

Okay, let’s clear the air once and for all. For 40 years my last name has been butchered, sliced, diced, minced, and folded over, upside down, and inside out. I never thought it was all that hard. I mean, as far as phonics goes it’s pretty straight-forward: consonant-vowel-consonant-vowel-consonent-vowel. Three syllables.


It’s not even close in difficulty with some of those Scandinavian names like Leschyschyn or Czech names like Nasralvhrnec. Ouch!

I know the double Ls and Os throw people off and the very fact that it’s Italian conjures all kinds of pasta-sounding interpretations.

I’ve heard everything from Delisio to Dellossino to Delloosa to Dellowso to Delloski.

Seems folks can’t decide whether they want it to be Italian or Polish or Greek or Martian.

Originally, when my great-grandfather arrived here from Italy, it was spelled Dell’Osso but soon after the apostrophe was dropped and it became Dellosso. It’s not a terribly popular name but there are others in the United States who are no relation to me (at least not in modern history).

So how do you say it? “Just like it’s spelled,” I tell people, but that isn’t clear either and when they really study it. 9 out of 10 times they say De-loh-so.

And that’s okay. It ain’t right, but it’s okay. I rarely correct them anymore. It’s just a name and their so close. The actual pronunciation is with the first “o” being short as in “pop.” So it’s De-lah-so.

Do you have a last name that is constantly butchered? Do you even take the time to correct folks anymore?


About mikedellosso

Mike Dellosso is an author of wide-eyed suspense. He writes stories that not only entertain but enlighten.

Posted on July 12, 2012, in Life in General and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 27 Comments.

  1. I’m wondering if I started all this by asking two mornings ago how to pronounce your name. sorry. I had heard two different reviewers say it two different ways. At least up until that time I was saying your name correctly. I didn’t think it was that difficult. Nobody messes up my last name but because my first name is really Terry, you wouldn’t believe the mail I get addressed Mr. Terry Conrad. And then when we apply for something and write David and Terry Conrad, some people actually think we are two men living together so if someone doesn’t know me I usually sign Terri. I have actually told a lot of people about you. Yes, me the person that never gets out and lives in the middle of nowhere and has to drive 1 hour to get to a restaurant. Have a great morning and God Bless everything you do.


    • Oh, Terri, no need to apologize. This is long overdo. Interviewers always mess up my name. I’m so surprised when someone actually gets it right! I’m glad you asked, most people don’t.

      And thanks for helping to spread the word. You really don’t know how much I appreciate it.


  2. Wow Mike – thanks for clarifying. I was sure it was D-E-L-L-O-S-S-O….


  3. Mike, It does not matter how a name is spelt or pronounced, people will always do strange things with it. My surname is Younghusband and no matter how many times I say it is one word, no hyphen between young and husband and no capital H for husband, I still get this. When I say Younghusband, some do not hear the word husband and I then get mail as Mr P Young or I get called Mr Young. I have had many people ask me how to spell it. Even when I say “put the words young and husband together”, they still struggle to do that. Even after saying that, I then get “How to you pronounce that?” when I had just pronounced it!!

    I had one person ask me what am I going to do when I get old? Before I had a chance to ask what she meant, she said, “Change it to Oldhusband? I did not reply or react in body language and she realised she was being silly and disrespectful and suddenly looked awkward!! I changed the subject and moved on. Then I get other comments, “Are you a young husband?” Again, I don’t reply because by this stage we have gone through so much: “Is it one word or two, is it hyphenated, is there a capital H for husband, how do you say it, Young who?” So most of the time, if I don’t have to have this name officially recorded, I just say Smith, Brown, White, Hunt (my wife’s maiden name) or even just Young!

    When I do this,we can all move on in life with less stress..


  4. Yeah!! I had it right 🙂


  5. This is funny, Mike. Yup. My first and last names have been butchered all over the country.


  6. I love this article, Mike! You even got me to chuckle and smile before I’m fully awake – no small feat. Almost no one pronounces my last name properly. Even I butchered it for the first three years that I dated my husband. When he put the engagement ring on my finger, he said there was only one more thing I could do to make him the happiest man in the world. Yep, you guessed it. He asked me to pronounce his – and soon-to-be my – last name correctly. Just like DELLOSSO, HOWERTER is a series of consonants and vowels, each one needing to be pronounced. I’ve learned to smile and wait until the stuttering, stumbling person finally stops trying to pronounce it before I sweetly say, “It’s HOW-ER-TER, emphasis on the “TER.” “Oh, it’s French,” the person frequently says. That’s when I give up.


  7. My maiden name was never pronounced or spelled correctly, Ariail (A-Reel). Most of the time we would just let it go if they got close. When I married it was a nice simple name McCord. Several years later we divorced and I was asked if I wanted to go back to my maiden name and I said no thank you. We did remarry several years later and are still together.


    • Cindy, I have to hear your full story some time. Sounds like an interesting one with many lessons to learn from it. As for you maiden name . . . what nationality is that?


  8. Guess I’ve been saying it wrong all along…. thought both o’s were long ones. It could be worse, your last name could be Thoene :-). I doubt anyone says it right unless they have seen the way to pronounce it (Tay-nee). My last name gets mispronounced some, but not as often as it gets misspelled. I will even spell it, and people insist on putting two z’s in it instead of 1. That is annoying


  9. My last name hasn’t been butchered….but my first name has. I have often been called a fruit for many years. As a young child, I didn’t correct anyone who would call me “Cherry”…..out of respect. However, as an adult I am constantly correcting those who are phonically correct. I often say something like, “No, I’m sorry. I am not a fruit. My name is French and it is pronounced with a ‘sh’ sound.” Or I will say, “As sweet as I am, that is not correct. I understand that Ch does make the ‘cha’ sound…however, it also makes the ‘sh’ sound.” Can you tell that I have sarcastic sense of humor? Then there are some who pronounce it absolutely correct which is ‘SHER-ree’ However, I still correct them! LOL!! My mother called me ‘SHARE-E’ on an everyday basis…..but when I was in trouble…..I heard the correct French pronunciation and that always scared me!!!


  10. Annette Luckenbaugh

    This made me laugh! My name LUCKENBAUGH pronounced “LUCK EN BAW” is only correctly pronounced in York and Lancaster counties being German in origin. It’s a great way to screen my calls. If they ask for Annette “LUKE IN BACH” I know it’s probably not someone I want to talk to!


  11. Is that De as in Day or Dee or Dell? I am currently pronouncing it Dell- Loss – Oh. Right or wrong?


  12. By the way, a more frustrating thing is when reviewers and interviewers call me Mark (at least I’ve never been called Mork). There is a Mark Dellosso, a pastor in New York, but I’m not him. And actually there are other Mike Dellossos too. My name is Mike. Mike.


  13. Sad to say, I was saying it wrong too. My bad as the kids would say. And now I know.


  14. Yes, I’ve been saying De-low-so. The correct way sounds like a stranger to me. I’ll keep it my way, though now I know it’s diff (at least until I forget!).


  15. Well, I must admit that I’ve been saying it wrong. With a last name like Williams, I haven’t met anyone who couldn’t pronounce it. However, when I was a little kid I started going by ‘Melin’ a name my biological mother called me. It’s pronounced like M’Lynn. I loved it and it stuck. All my friends and family call me that. But I’ve been called everything from Melon to Merlin to Melvin and the list goes on. In high school it even escalated to cantaloupe by an imaginative friend who took melon a little too far.


  16. Count me amongst those who had that first “o” pronounced wrong. I’ll try to remember the “ah” instead in the future.

    My maiden name was one people NEVER go right. And it’s spelled phonetically, so I just didn’t get it. I completely get your interest in this. I was relieved to marry into a name that is next to impossible to get wrong! 😉


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