How Do You Pronounce “Buttigieg” Anyway?

You say "Boot-A-Judge." I say "Buddha-Judge" Boot-A-Judge. Buddha-Judge. Potato. Potatoh. Let's call the whole thing off.

With his rise in the polls, there seem to be as many different variations on how to pronounce Pete Buttigieg’s last name as there are Democrats running for their party’s Presidential nomination. Here’s your answer:

The 2020 election is still over 19 months away, and already, roughly 700 Democrats have announced their presidential campaigns. Among them, Peter “Mayor Pete” Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana. Though there are still some significant holes in his platform, Buttigieg is becoming increasingly popular, and has already received the necessary number of donations to be able to participate in the June Democratic Committee debate. In other words, we will be talking about him for a while, so we should know how to pronounce his name.

Let’s start at the top. His first name IS PRONOUNCED:

• Pee-ter

Or, if you are using his nickname, Pete, it IS PRONOUNCED:

• Peet

As for his last name, Buttigieg, it IS NOT PRONOUNCED:

• Butt-ee-geeg

• Butt-i-geg

• Smith

• Butt-i-jeeg


• Boot-a-judge

• Buddha-judge


• Boot-edge-edge. This is the pronunciation suggested by the candidate’s own Twitter bio, and the campaign is already selling shirts that say “Boot Edge Edge.” Personally, when I think of this pronunciation, I end up saying Buttigieg’s name as three separate words — “Boot. Edge. Edge.” — which is incorrect, but whatever works for you, I guess.

Buttigieg’s husband, who shares his last name, seems to be somewhat offers several options:

Hope that clears it up.

Buttigieg’s name. by the way, is Maltese in origin. His father immigrated to the United States from the island nation of Malta to attend college. The name is of both Semitic and Maltese origin, and I’m pretty sure that Buttigieg is the first descendant of Maltese immigrants to run for President.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed for too young in July 2021.


  1. Kathy says:

    I pronounce it “Who cares? He won’t be around for much of 2020 anyway,” which I grant is a bit too verbose for a name.

  2. James Pearce says:

    So it’s not pronounced “Newman?”

  3. Gustopher says:

    How you pronounce Mayor Pete’s last name is a very special and personal thing — no two people do it the same way.

  4. Listen to the pronunciation of Pete Buttigieg:

  5. Matt says:

    @James Pearce: hurrdurr u so cleva!!

  6. Kylopod says:

    At 538 a few months ago, one of the guys on the podcast actually pronounced it “BUTT-a-jidge.” I had to laugh.

    It seems it’s hard for people to escape including either the word “butt” or “booty.” It reminds me of the debate over how to pronounce Uranus: is it “your-anus” or “urine-iss”? Take your pick.

  7. Lounsbury says:

    The name is Maltese, the origin is Arabic. Not “Semetic”, it’s bloody Arabic via Maghrebi dialect which gave birth to Maltese (essentially Tunisian), easy enough to recognize once one knows he is Maltese origin.

    Funny the family should have gone with the Maghrebi habit of splitting the Bu from the rest of the name (as it’s the typically Maghrebi shortening of Abou, as in Father of).

    Funny that it gets transformed to Tgieg in Maltese from Djaj in Tunisian.

    I will note that Maltese is a funny thing to listen to, if you speak Maghrebine Arabic, it has the bizarre feeling of hearing an Italian speak Maghrebi Arabic.

  8. Kylopod says:


    Not “Semetic”, it’s bloody Arabic

    You do realize Arabic (as well as Maltese) is a Semitic language?

    That’s like saying “Not ‘Romance,’ it’s bloody French.”