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Q & A: A Problem with Pronunciation

by Nichole Bernier | Published August 2005 | See more Condé Nast Traveler articles

How to pronounce a guidebook guru's name

What's the correct way to pronounce Zagat, the name of the guidebook series? Is it ZAG-at or za-GAT? I hear people say it both ways and never know if I'm pronouncing it right.
Pamela Thibault
Watertown, Wisconsin

Here's the answer, straight from the horse's mouth: "It's pronounced za-GAT, as in the cat in the hat and that's that," says Tim Zagat, who, with his wife, Nina, founded the guidebook empire 26 years ago. The family name is common in Russia, according to Zagat, but his grandfather altered it from its usual spelling (which begins with an S) when he immigrated to the United States. Zagat adds that he himself even had his pronunciation "corrected" once by an opinionated customer who had called to place an order.

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