For the past half-century foodies have referred to foods and drinks made in small batches by hand using traditional methods as artisanal—made by artisans: workers in handicrafts. It has also been extended to a wide variety of other handmade products. Dictionaries agree that the word should be pronounced “ARR-tizz-uh-nul” with the accent on the first syllable and the second syllable rhyming with “fizz.” Just say “artisan” and add “-ul.”

Diners and restaurant workers alike commonly confuse the pronunciation of its first three syllables with that of “artesian”—“arr-TEE-zhun”—which is an adjective to describe water which spurts out of the earth under natural pressure. In this word the accent falls on the second syllable, pronounced like “tea.” A spring such as this is called an “artesian spring” or “artesian well.”

If you hand-bottle water from a natural spring in your back yard I suppose you could label the result artisanal artesian water.

Back to list of errors


Common Errors front cover