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"Wheel of Fortune" Mispronunciation Costs Player Chance at $1M

Brian Ach/WireImage(LOS ANGELES) -- Paul Atkinson was on the way to living the dream: the Wheel of Fortune contestant had landed on the million-dollar wedge, which would have put him one spin closer to the coveted prize.

All he had to do was solve the clue, and there was only one letter missing from the three-word phrase, “Corner Curio Cabinet.” Easy, right?

There was just one problem. Atkinson had never before seen the word “Curio,” and he mispronounced it. When he read the phrase, it came out sounding more like “Corno Curro Cabinet,” and the answer was not accepted.

Host Pat Sajak commiserated with Atkinson, telling him, “It just didn’t come out the way you intended.”

Another contestant read the phrase correctly.

Atkinson, who walked away from the popular game show with $2,000 for his efforts, explained the flub, telling ABC News that he was flustered.

“I was nervous! I’ve got Pat freaking Sajak to my immediate right...I’ve got lights and cameras in my face...” he said.

He added: “I’d never seen that word before.”

Atkinson called it his “biggest nightmare.”

“I knew I messed up,” he said. “I knew something awesome could’ve happened, but I totally goofed it.”

Atkinson seems to have taken the whole episode in stride, but there was strong outrage on his behalf online.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio