The gyro. It’s a delicious sandwich typically made with thinly sliced lamb, tzatziki sauce, and onion rolled in a warm pita. Something that simple shouldn’t be so complicated to order. After all, it’s only four letters. But what’s the proper way to pronounce “gyro?”
The word for this classic Greek sandwich was borrowed by the English language in the 1970s, but since then, Americans have butchered the pronunciation to the point we’re no longer sure how to say it. We can no longer order this classic Greek sandwich with confidence.
Most people agree that gyros are delicious, but they tend to disagree on how to pronounce g-r-y-o. Is it GUY-roh? ZHI-ROH? Or maybe JAI-roh? Some say GEE-roh or JEE-roh.
Luckily, this isn’t one of those situations where it depends. There is a clear right and wrong way.
And the right way: YEE-roh.
JAI-row is probably the most common way of mispronouncing the popular Greek food, but Merriam-Webster says that pronunciation is only correct when referring to gyro, as in a gyroscope or gyrocompass. Unless you’re talking about the tool that uses Earth’s gravity to help determine orientation (which is likely never), you shouldn’t be saying JAI-roh.
If you’re really looking to tighten up your gyro ordering skills, you should also know that technically “gyros” is the singular, but in English the final ‘s’ is often interpreted as a plural. If you are ordering one sandwich you should say, “I would like a gyros (YEE-rohs),” or ‘ena gyro’ in Greek.
Greek doesn’t make plurals with the letter ‘s’ like English and Spanish, but rather, changes the end vowel like Italian. So if you were looking to order two or more gyro, you would say ‘dio gyra‘ or two gyra.
So there you go. You’re all set to order this tasty snack whether it’s at the local fair or on your next trip to Athens, Greece.