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[pruh-nouns] /prəˈnaʊns/
verb (used with object), pronounced, pronouncing.
to enunciate or articulate (sounds, words, sentences, etc.).
to utter or sound in a particular manner in speaking:
He pronounces his words indistinctly.
to utter or articulate in the accepted or correct manner:
I can't pronounce this word.
to declare (a person or thing) to be as specified:
She pronounced it the best salmon she had ever tasted.
to utter or deliver formally or solemnly:
to pronounce sentence.
to announce authoritatively or officially:
The judge pronounced the defendant guilty.
to indicate the pronunciation of (words) by providing a phonetic transcription:
This dictionary pronounces most of the words entered.
verb (used without object), pronounced, pronouncing.
to pronounce words, phrases, etc.
to make a statement or assertion, especially an authoritative statement (often followed by on):
He was required to pronounce on the findings of his research.
to give an opinion or decision (usually followed by on):
to pronounce on an important matter.
to indicate the pronunciation of words:
a spelling book that pronounces.
Origin of pronounce
1300-50; Middle English pronouncen < Middle French prononcier < Latin prōnūntiāre to proclaim, announce, recite, utter. See pro-1, announce
Related forms
pronounceable, adjective
pronounceableness, noun
pronouncer, noun
prepronounce, verb (used with object), prepronounced, prepronouncing.
unpronounceable, adjective
unpronouncing, adjective
Can be confused
announce, enunciate, pronounce (see synonym study at announce) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for unpronounceable
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But spare your honest indignation; our unpronounceable friend did none of these.

    Nuts and Nutcrackers Charles James Lever
  • The signorino is an American and he has an unpronounceable name.

    Olive in Italy Moray Dalton
  • She said an unpronounceable word and added: "You may call me Liz."

    The Gift Bearer Charles Louis Fontenay
  • Their last names were unpronounceable, so they were called Pavel and Peter.

    My Antonia Willa Cather
  • He probably had either a surname to be concealed or else unpronounceable to French lips.

    A Modern Telemachus Charlotte M. Yonge
  • He had had a week with a friend at a place with an unpronounceable name.

  • He asked her if she was one of the Wisharts of some unpronounceable place.

    The Half-Hearted John Buchan
  • He had been christened "Zip," a contraction of some unpronounceable name, and his motto was: "Zip buys or sells anythings!"

    The Salamander Owen Johnson
  • The line he made his application on was that he should so like to play her a rapid movement by an unpronounceable Slav.

    Somehow Good William de Morgan
British Dictionary definitions for unpronounceable


not able to be uttered or articulated


to utter or articulate (a sound or sequence of sounds)
(transitive) to utter or articulate (sounds or words) in the correct way
(transitive; may take a clause as object) to proclaim officially and solemnly: I now pronounce you man and wife
(when transitive, may take a clause as object) to declare as one's judgment: to pronounce the death sentence upon someone
(transitive) to make a phonetic transcription of (sounds or words)
Derived Forms
pronounceable, adjective
pronouncer, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Latin prōnuntiāre to announce, from pro-1 + nuntiāre to announce
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 unpronounceable



early 14c., "to declare officially;" late 14c., "to speak, utter," from Old French prononcier "declare, speak out, pronounce" (late 13c., Modern French prononcer), from Late Latin pronunciare, from Latin pronuntiare "to proclaim, announce; pronounce, utter," from pro- "forth, out, in public" (see pro-) + nuntiare "announce," from nuntius "messenger" (see nuncio). With reference to the mode of sounding words or languages, it is attested from 1620s (but cf. pronunciation in this sense early 15c.). Related: Pronounced; pronouncing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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