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English words in which ‘ch’ is pronounced as ‘sh’: An exhaustive list

by Jakub Marian

Tip: Did you know that the plural of “sheep” is “sheep”, not “sheeps”? Learn more about the most common grammar mistakes in English (PDF version).

Note: This article is based on my detailed book about pronunciation mistakes in English (PDF version).

There are quite a few English words in which “ch” is pronounced as “sh”. I have compiled a list of such words that, I hope, will be especially useful to English learners. It is ordered from the most common ones to those that are the least common in modern English usage (approximately), and the meaning of each word is explained right next to it. There is also a list of common proper names at the very end.

machine /məˈʃiːn/ (mə-sheen) is piece of equipment with movable parts.
mustache /məˈstɑːʃ/ (mə-staash) UK, /ˈmʌstæʃ/ (mʌ-stæsh) or /məˈstæʃ/ (mə-stæsh) US is a type of facial hair growing between the mouth and the nose.
chef /ʃef/ (shef) is a professional senior cook.
chic /ʃiːk/ (sheek) means “fashionable and elegant”.
brochure /ˈbrəʊʃə/ (broh-shə) UK, /broʊˈʃʊr/ (broh-shoor) US is a small booklet usually containing some condensed information, often of commercial type.
cache /kæʃ/ (kæsh, the same as “cash”) is used mostly in connection with computers where it means temporary data stored in such a way that they are can be accessed fast.
cliché /ˈkliːʃeɪ/ (klee-shei) UK, /kliːˈʃeɪ/ (klee-shei) US is a phrase that has been repeated for so long that people no longer find it interesting.
champagne /ʃæmˈpeɪn/ (shæm-peyn) is a French sparkling white wine.
pistachio /pɪˈstæʃiəʊ/ (pis-tæsh-ee-oh) or /pɪˈstɑːʃiəʊ/ (pis-taash-ee-oh) is a species of tree well known for its nuts (which are also referred to as “pistachio”).
parachute /ˈpærəʃuːt/ (pær-ə-shoot) is a piece of cloth used to slow down falling objects in the atmosphere.
fuchsia /ˈfjuːʃə/ (fyoo-shə) is a small bush with flowers of a characteristic colour which is also referred to as “fuchsia”.
machete /məˈʃeti/ (mə-shet-ee) a large heavy knife used as a tool to cut vegetation.
niche /niːʃ/ (neesh) or /nɪtʃ/ (nitch) originally referred to a cavity in a wall usually used to place a bust or a statue. It is often used nowadays to mean a “niche market”, i.e. a certain specific market segment.
chauffeur /ʃɒˈfɜː/ (sho-fə-ə) or /ˈʃəʊfə/ (shoh-fə) UK, /ʃoʊˈfɜːr/ (shoh-fer) US is a personal car driver, usually of someone rich or important.
attaché /əˈtæʃeɪ/ (ə--shei) UK, /ˌætəˈʃeɪ/ (æ-tə-shei) US is a person who works at an embassy, usually with a special responsibility.
chauvinist /ˈʃəʊvɪnɪst/ (shoh-vin-ist) UK, /ˈʃoʊvɪnɪst/ (shoh-vin-ist) US originally meant a person who was unreasonably and aggressively patriotic. In modern English, however, it is used mostly in connection with male chauvinism—a chauvinist is then a man who believes that men are superior to women.
charlatan /ˈʃɑːlətən/ (shaa-lə-tən) UK, /ˈʃɑːrlətən/ (shaar-lə-tən) US is a person who claims to have knowledge or skills that he or she does not really have.
chandelier /ˌʃændəˈlɪə/ (shæn-də-li-ə) UK, /ˌʃændəˈlɪr/ (shæn-də-lir) US is a round frame with branches holding lights or candles.
charade /ʃəˈrɑːd/ (shə-raad) UK, /ʃəˈreɪd/ (shə-reyd) US is a situation in which people pretend that something is true when it clearly is not.
ricochet /ˈrɪkəʃeɪ/ (rik-ə-shei), in the UK also /ˈrɪkəʃet/ (rik-ə-shet) is a verb meaning “to hit a surface and come off it fast at a different angle”. When pronounced with // at the end, the same pronunciation persists also in the derived terms “ricocheted” /ˈrɪkəʃeɪd/ (rik-ə-sheyd) and “ricocheting” /ˈrɪkəʃeɪɪŋ/ (rik-ə-shei-ing).
chateau /ˈʃætəʊ/ (shæ-toh) UK, /ʃæˈtoʊ / (shæ-toh) US is a castle or large country house in France. The plural is “chateaux”, pronounced /ˈʃætəʊz/ (shæ-toh’z) UK, /ʃæˈtoʊz/ (shæ-toh’z) US.
douche /duːʃ/ (doosh) is a method of washing the inside of a woman’s vagina using a stream of water. A douche bag is a device with a bag to be filled with fluid used for the cleaning process. A “douchebag” is a modern slang term meaning “an arrogant and rude person”.
chanterelle /ˈʃɑːntərel/ (shaan-tə-rel) or /ˌʃɑːntəˈrel/ (shaan-tə-rel) is a common edible yellowish species of mushroom.
chivalry /ˈʃɪvəlri/ (shi-vəl-ree) is a polite behaviour that shows a sense of honour, especially by men towards women.
chute /ʃuːt/ (shoot) is a tube through which people or things can slide (such as in a water park).
chassis /ˈʃæsi/ (shæ-see) is an inside form of a vehicle.
chemise /ʃəˈmiːz/ (shə-meez) is a piece of women’s underwear or a nightdress.
quiche /kiːʃ/ (keesh) is a certain type of pie.
chaise /ʃeɪz/ (sheyz) is a carriage pulled by a horse or horses.
chiffon /ˈʃɪfɒn/ (shi-fon) UK, /ʃɪˈfɑːn/ (shi-faan) US is a type of fine cloth.
pastiche /pæˈstiːʃ/ (pæ-steesh) is a work of art that is created by deliberately copying the style of someone else.
penchant /ˈpɒ̃ʃɒ̃ / (ponn-shonn, with a nasal vowel) UK, /ˈpentʃənt/ (pen-tchənt) US is a special liking for something, for example “he has a penchant for wine”.
panache /pəˈnæʃ/ (pə-næsh) or /pæˈnæʃ/ (pæ-næsh), in the US also /pəˈnɑːʃ/ (pə-naash) or /pæˈnɑːʃ/ (pæ-naash) is “flamboyant confidence of style or manner”.
chalet /ˈʃæleɪ/ (shæ-lei) UK, /ʃæˈleɪ/ (shæ-lei) US is a certain type of wooden house usually built in mountain areas.
cachet /ˈkæʃeɪ/ (-shei) UK, /kæˈʃeɪ/ (kæ-shei) US; to have cachet means to have a quality other admire; for example “the restaurant seems to be losing its cachet”.
chagrin /ˈʃæɡrɪn/ (shæg-rin)/ UK, /ʃəˈɡrɪn/ (shə-grin) US is usually used in the phrase “to someone’s chagrin” meaning “to one’s disappointment”; for example “to his chagrin, neither of his projects were successful”.
chaperone /ˈʃæpərəʊn/ (shæp-ə-roh’n) UK, /ˈʃæpəroʊn/ (shæp-ə-roh’n) US is person who accompanies younger people (usually a women) to ensure that they behave properly.
ruche /ruːʃ/ (roosh) is a decorative fold on clothing or furniture.
crochet /ˈkrəʊʃeɪ/ (kroh-shei) UK, /kroʊˈʃeɪ/ (kroh-shei) US is a specific way of making clothes using a special thick needle.
louche /luːʃ/ (loosh) is an adjective meaning “of questionable taste or morality”, but often in an attractive way (for example “the louche world of the theater”).
chenille /ʃəˈniːl/ (shə-neel) is type of cloth.
gauche /ɡəʊʃ/ (goh’sh) UK, /ɡoʊʃ/ (goh’sh) US is an adjective meaning “awkward or lacking social abilities”.

Common proper names

Charlotte /ˈʃɑːlət/ (shaa-lət) UK, /ˈʃɑːrlət/ (shaar-lət) US is a female given name. It is also the name of the largest city of the US state of North Carolina.
Michelle /mɪˈʃɛl/ (mi-shel) is a female given name.
Chevrolet /ʃɛvrəˈleɪ/ (shev-rə-lei) is a car brand.
Chicago /ʃɪˈkɑːgoʊ/ (shi-kaa-goh) or /ʃɪˈkɔːɡoʊ/ (shi-kaw-goh) is a city in the US state of Illinois /ɪlɪˈnɔɪ/ (ih-li-noy).
Michigan /ˈmɪʃɪɡən/ (mi-shi-gn) is one the US states.
Seychelles /seɪˈʃɛlz/ (sei-shelz) is an island country near Madagascar.
Vichy /ˈvɪʃi/ (vish-ee) is a brand of mineral water, a brand of cosmetics, and a town in France.

This article was based on my book about English pronunciation and commonly mispronounced words. Why don’t you check it out? There’s also a downloadable PDF version.

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