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There are a lot of comics that don't have set-in-stone explanations; feel free to put multiple interpretations in the wiki page for each comic.
  
 
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Latest revision as of 23:05, 16 October 2016

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki!
We have an explanation for all 1815 xkcd comics, and only 41 (2%) are incomplete. Help us finish them!

[edit] Latest comic

Go to this comic explanation

Mispronunciation
I pronounce epitome "EPPY-tome", but EpiPen "uh-PIE-pen".
Title text: I pronounce epitome "EPPY-tome", but EpiPen "uh-PIE-pen".

[edit] Explanation

This comic is a meta-joke where Cueball explains to White Hat which words he often spells or pronounces wrong. Ironically, those words happen to be words whose definitions mean "to spell wrong" and "being pronounced wrong". While describing the words he says he has trouble with, he manages to use the same words correctly in sentences both inside quotation marks (to refer to the word itself) and outside (to describe the action corresponding to those words).

The word misspell is misspelled quite often (although not in this comic!). Misspell is quite commonly misspelled as mispell or miss-spell. Some might argue that misspelled is the one word which should always be misspelled intentionally and written mispelled, so that its orthography reflects its meaning.

The word mispronunciation is often misspelled and mispronounced like "mispronounciation", with the middle part like "noun" instead of "nun". This is made even more confusing by the fact that the related word, "pronounce", does in fact have "noun" in the middle.

The punchline comes when Cueball tells that the epitome of mispronunciation is the the way Cueball pronounces epitome. This is also metahumor, as epitome refers to a very good or perfect example. Thus Cueball shows the epitome of mispronunciation when he incorrectly pronounces epitome.

The title text explains Cueball's mispronunciation of epitome. It is supposed to be pronounced in four syllables, /ɪˈpɪtəmi/ (uh-PIH-tuh-mee), starting with a schwa, then emphasis on the second syllable pronounced like "pit", and a long E on the fourth syllable pronounced like "me". Instead, he pronounces it /ˈɛpɪtoʊm/ (EPPY-tome), with emphasis on the first part pronounced like the beginning of "epic", and a silent E on the the second part pronounced like "tome". The mispronounced version is what a person unfamiliar with the word might reasonably guess, given other words with similar spelling like "epicenter", "epitaph", and "episode".

EpiPen, a trademark for a type of epinephrine autoinjector (i.e. adrenaline), is brought up to further illustrate the inconsistency between spelling and pronunciation. This time the word is supposed to be pronounced with an emphasized "EPPY", but he (intentionally?) mispronounces it like "uh-PIE", possibly to match other proper nouns such as Epirus and Epione.

[edit] Transcript

[White Hat and Cueball are walking.]
Cueball: I sometimes misspell "misspell" and "mispronunciation," and I mispronounce "mispronunciation,"
Cueball: But the epitome of mispronunciation is probably the way I pronounce "epitome."


Is this out of date? Clicking here will fix that.

[edit] New here?

Last 7 days (Top 10)

Lots of people contribute to make this wiki a success. Many of the recent contributors, listed above, have just joined. You can do it too! Create your account here.

You can read a brief introduction about this wiki at explain xkcd. Feel free to sign up for an account and contribute to the wiki! We need explanations for comics, characters, themes and everything in between. If it is referenced in an xkcd web comic, it should be here.

  • There are incomplete explanations listed here. Feel free to help out by expanding them!
  • We sell advertising space to pay for our server costs. To learn more, go here.

[edit] Rules

Don't be a jerk.

There are a lot of comics that don't have set-in-stone explanations; feel free to put multiple interpretations in the wiki page for each comic.

If you want to talk about a specific comic, use its discussion page.

Please only submit material directly related to (and helping everyone better understand) xkcd... and of course only submit material that can legally be posted (and freely edited). Off-topic or other inappropriate content is subject to removal or modification at admin discretion, and users who repeatedly post such content will be blocked.

If you need assistance from an admin, post a message to the Admin requests board.

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