Bitcoin addresses are RIPEMD-160 hashes of the public portion of a public/private ECDSA keypair (along with an abbreviated hash of the hash to provide a check code, as @pulpspy notes in a comment). ...
RIPEMD is a family of cryptographic hash functions, meaning it competes for roughly the same uses as MD5, SHA-1 & SHA-256 do. The Wikipedia page for RIPEMD seems to have some nice things to say ...
Do I pronounce it as a word or do I make it sound like "R-I-P-E-M-D" like by pronouncing each individual letter.