"In Mexico, Sicario means hitman," declares the trailer for Sicario, the new film starring Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin. More specifically, 'sicario' is Spanish slang for 'hitman' in Mexico. In the film, Blunt plays Kate Macer, an FBI agent who is recruited to join an elite task force working on the U.S.-Mexico border, and quickly finds herself in over her head. Blunt, who plays an American, is not the "sicario" referred to in the title — to say more would be giving too much away. But probably the most confounding thing about the movie has been how to say its title. So, how do you pronounce Sicario ?
How you pronounce "sicario" likely depends on where you're from and what language skills you have. For example, if you butchered Les Misérables, you're probably not pronouncing Sicario correctly. Is it See-car-ee-oh? Sick-areo? See-sar-eeo? Ok, obviously, it's the first one — sick-areo sounds like a skateboarding trick, and I just made up sounds for the third option. Going forward, when talking about Sicario, try pronouncing it 'see-CAR-ee-oh.'
Of course, even with the best intentions, unless you're a Spanish speaker, it's likely you'll still sound a bit ridiculous saying Sicario. If you're nervous and want to avoid awkward pronunciation, I recommend either saying the title really fast, or calling the movie "That movie with Emily Blunt," "That new Mexico-FBI movie," or simply "This movie" — (that last option requires a photo or website link of some kind, but can still be effective).
Sicario isn't alone in confusing American audiences with a foreign language title. Here are a few other movie titles we've all struggled to pronounce over the years:
As mentioned above, American audiences could not settle on a correct pronunciation of Les Misérables. This wasn't all bad, considering no one in the main cast was actually French and the movie was nominated for so many awards that we were rewarded with hilarious clips of celebrities butchering the pronunciation. Win-win.
The D may be silent, but some people did not get the memo. Let it be known henceforth that 'Duh-Jango' is not a thing you should say, ever.
When Bennifer came together to shoot this Kevin Smith movie, I bet they foolishly thought the film's weird name — pronounced 'gee-lee' not 'jiggly' — would be what the movie would be made fun of for. Instead, Gigli is remembered as both Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez's worst movie.
This has been Pop Culture Pronunciation 101. (Then again, J.K. Rowling just informed us we've all been saying 'Voldemort' wrong, so, you know, who knows how the hell these other things are meant to be said.)
Images: Lionsgate; Giphy (3)