The executive vice president of a business unit at the company I worked for at the time was standing in front of a large room full of people. It was one of those corporate “rah-rah,” motivational meetings and he was presenting recognition awards for outstanding contributions by employees.
He clearly was reading, possibly for the first time, from a narrative that someone had prepared for him. As he read the accomplishments of a particular individual, he was attempting to articulate how this award winner was the personification of a diligent employee.
He said, “Joe Schmo (I can’t remember the guy’s name) is the epitome of efficiency.” If he had used the word “personification,” he’d have been fine. But when he read the word “epitome,” a synonym for “personification,” he totally mangled its pronunciation. It was a very awkward moment.
No doubt you know that the proper pronunciation of the word “epitome” is “ih-pit-uh-mee.” It’s not “epi-tome.” But “epi-tome” is the way this senior executive pronounced it.
The closest way to get across in print the way he said that word, since you can’t hear what he said, is to use another word that, when pronounced out loud, would approximate the way he pronounced “epitome.” Substitute “hippodrome” or “Thunderdome” as a way to pronounce epitome. You get it, right?
Written for these daily prompts: MMA Storytime (motivation), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (epitome), and Word of the Day Challenge (awkward).