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[fon-iks or for 2, foh-niks] /ˈfɒn ɪks or for 2, ˈfoʊ nɪks/
noun, (used with a singular verb)
a method of teaching reading and spelling based upon the phonetic interpretation of ordinary spelling.
Obsolete. phonetics.
Origin of phonics
First recorded in 1675-85; phon- + -ics Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for phonics
Historical Examples
  • Especial attention is called to the system of phonics developed.

  • There should be at least two ten-minute lessons in phonics each day.

    How to Teach Phonics Lida M. Williams
  • From the first day a definite place on the program should be given to phonics.

    How to Teach Phonics Lida M. Williams
  • phonics is not a method of teaching reading, but it is a necessary part of every good, modern method.

    How to Teach Phonics Lida M. Williams
  • As new words are met containing known sounds, the pupils should apply their knowledge of phonics.

    How to Teach Phonics Lida M. Williams
  • The real difficulty in phonics lies in the fact that the pronunciation of the English language abounds in inconsistencies.

    How to Teach Phonics Lida M. Williams
  • The attention given to the use of diacritical marks, silent letters, and phonics.

    History of France Charlotte M. Yonge
British Dictionary definitions for phonics


noun (functioning as sing)
an obsolete name for acoustics (sense 1)
a method of teaching people to read by training them to associate letters with their phonetic values
Derived Forms
phonic, adjective
phonically, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for phonics

1680s, "science of sound," from Greek phone "sound" (see fame (n.)) + -ics. As a method of teaching reading it is first attested 1908, though the system dates from 1844.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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