Say it correctly: ‘mas-TEC-tomy’


Search terms in one’s blog stats can be amusing or thought provoking. Often unintentionally so. Take the person who was searching here for “masectomy mis-pronunciation.” Gotta wonder if he or she pronounces the word like he/she spelled it, and thinks those who pronounce it otherwise are mistaken. Or perhaps, to the person’s credit, they were simply looking for the correct pronunciation. I don’t know, but it’s a major issue with me because I hear it so often. I cringe every time someone mispronounces it. The word is mastectomy, with two t’s in it, not the excruciatingly common mispronunciation “mas-SEC-tomy.” So read carefully, please, and make sure you’re pronouncing it correctly. mas-TEC-tomy. Mastectomy. Got it?

/End of grammar rant. Sorry ’bout that.


11 thoughts on “Say it correctly: ‘mas-TEC-tomy’

  1. As strange as it may sound, I don’t think I’ve ever actually said the word, and I’m pretty sure I’ve never written it. But I know the limitations of my vocabulary and I’m (usually) far too self-conscious to risk using a word I haven’t used many times before without checking it out first. Of course, I have the benefit of doing most of my “conversing” here online, where all the tools I write with highlight anything I misspell – several of which were actually in this comment! 😀

    1. I know the feeling. I have a lot of words in my vocabulary that I’ve read here and there, and written, but still don’t know how to pronounce because I haven’t heard them spoken. Of course, now that I’ve said that, I can’t think of any. This one really bugs me, though. It’s so common in our society, you hear it spoken all the time, and yet so many people pronounce it wrong. Who’s perpetuating the wrongness? Don’t these people ever read? It’s pretty obvious if you see it in print. If you try to look up “masectomy” on Google, it gives you “mastectomy.” Read, people. Read!

  2. Sorry to be an extreme Johnny-come-lately…but I have to tell you how gratifying it was for me to find this blog post!! I had just Googled “It’s mastectomy, not masectomy”. After looking through several pages of “masectomy” used routinely, often by women who had them, and even by medical practitioners, I found your blog and smiled. Sometimes I wonder if they’re confusing the word with “vasectomy”, which somehow adds to my annoyance. This has been a pet peeve of mine for many years, even before I had my mastectomy in 1998. Many thanks!

    1. Oh thank you. The mispronunciation is so common everywhere, every day, that I’m getting hunchbacked from constantly cringing. I’d never thought about the similarity to “vasectomy” but I’ll bet you’ve hit on something there. And you’re right, that just makes it worse.

      1. What really bugs me is that so any TV host as, commentators, etc. mispronounce it.

        The other word mispronounced almost always is “forte” when referring to someone’s strong point. It is “fort” not “fortay!”

      2. Yes, just yesterday I heard an interviewer, a woman, say “masectomy” when speaking to a breast cancer patient. Two of us probably cringed at that.

        “Forte” is certainly another problem. I have to be very diligent with it because I often slip on it myself if I’m not thinking. I hear “fortay” so much more often than “fort” that I feel a bit self-conscious when I say it correctly.

  3. I looked this up because I even hear it mispronounced on Cancer Treatment Centers. People who have had it mispronounce it. Is it similar to Realtor? People seem to insist there is an extra “a” between the real and tor.

    1. I’ve no explanation for it other than people repeating what they’ve heard, or think they’ve heard, without ever reading carefully or looking it up. They think they are correct so they never bother to check.

      I think Gwen, above, could be right. People may be confusing the pronunciation with “vasectomy.”

  4. “Or perhaps, to the person’s credit, they were simply looking for the correct pronunciation” is also BAD English. In English, one properly says, “Or perhaps, to the person’s credit,he was simply looking for the correct pronunciation.”

    If you don’t like that, you can put it all in the plural, as in “Or perhaps, to such people’s credit, they were simply looking for the correct pronunciation.”

    1. You are correct. However, the use of a masculine pronoun as all-inclusive has been falling out of favor with the rise of the women’s movement and others. Had I been more careful, I’d have said “his or her credit.” But even that is frowned upon in some sectors. I think my use of “they” may be the very usage that is now suggested as acceptable, although I have come out against using “they” as a singular pronoun.

      Although it can depend on the subject matter, I tend to write casually on this blog, as demonstrated above by “Gotta wonder,” because in my mind I’m conversing with my readers.

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