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How Much Do People Really Know about Dr. Seuss?

Everyone knows that the Grinch stole Christmas and that Horton heard a Who, but how much do we know about the man who created those iconic characters? It turns out that we don't even know how to correctly pronounce his pen name. "Dr. Seuss," which most people pronounce to rhyme with "moose," should actually be pronounced Soice or Zoice, to rhyme with "voice." The famous children's author, artist, and political cartoonist was born Theodor Seuss Geisel in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1904, to parents of German ancestry. His pen name, which was derived from his mother's maiden name, became anglicized in American pronunciation. Dr. Seuss let this slide, as that pronunciation came naturally to his readers and perhaps because it linked nicely to the much-loved storyteller Mother Goose. As for the "Dr." part of the pen name, there's a simpler explanation: Seuss did it to please his father, who had always wanted him to go into medicine.

You can say that again:

  • Mount Everest is named after Welsh geographer and surveyor George Everest and should really be pronounced Eve-rest -- with the emphasis on "Eve."
  • Author J.K. Rowling says that her readers all pronounce the French-inspired name of evil Lord Voldemort incorrectly: The "t" at the end should be silent.
  • As beastly as it sounds, the word zoology should be pronounced ZO-ology.
Discussion Comments
By anon1000240 — On Jul 18, 2018

Oh I never consciously noticed the Dr. Suess / Mother Goose connection. I love it.

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