How To Pronounce "Dave Gahan"

(with GIFs)

How do you pronounce Dave's full name? No, really, I am asking you! Do you know the correct way to pronounce it? Okay, so "Dave" is easy. Let's get that out of the way first. "Dave" is just short for David. Take a deep breath and say it with me: "DAAAAAVE." But how is "Gahan" pronounced? That is the one that seems to trip people up the most. So, why don't we run through a few possibilities?

Is it GAY-han?

Come on...we know some of you thought this at the beginning. Using an American phonetic pronunciation, the letters really do appear to spell "gay-han..." long "a" followed by short "a," amirite? Well, not only is it incorrect, it is completely, utterly, and woefully wrong, and sounds absolutely ridiculous. It might elicit a few giggles, though maybe not from Dave.

Is it gah-HAN or guh-HAWN?

Now we're getting somewhere at least and not just throwing out wild guesses. This one starts to make sense, right? After all, it's the pronunciation that many reporters and interviewers seem to use when introducing Dave so they can't be wrong, right? Wrong...not only does it still sound goofy like "guffaw," but it is still incorrect...however, Dave is just too nice (or maybe just plain too tired of it) to correct these people.

"I'm kind of over it [having people mispronounce his name]. I thought for a while of releasing [Paper Monsters] under the name Ga-Han and calling the album Essex."1

So what is it then?

So if it's neither "GAY-han" nor "guh-HAWN"...then how is it pronounced? Well, let's take a listen from the man, himself!

Gawn? Like as in, "gone wild??" How do you get that from "G-A-H-A-N???"

According to Wikipedia, the Gahan surname is of Irish origin2, with a variant spelled like "Gaughan," as well.3 So, the way that Dave pronounces it is similar to that of other Irish surnames such as Mahon or Vaughan, for instance. That is, the "h" sound is silent and it sounds mono-syllabic. So, "Mahon" sounds like "man" and "Vaughan" sounds like "vawn." Thus, we come to "Gahan" sounding like "gawn." And anyway, does it matter? The man knows how to pronounce his own name I would think, so for Gahan's sake, let's learn how to pronounce it correctly!


  1. "Cash for Questions", Q (June 2003)
  2. "Gahan", Wikipedia (retrieved on February 12, 2021)
  3. "Gaughan", Wikipedia (retrieved on February 12, 2021)