View synonyms for pronunciation


[ pruh-nuhn-see-ey-shuhn ]


  1. the act or result of producing the sounds of speech, including articulation, stress, and intonation, often with reference to some standard of correctness or acceptability:

    They are arguing about the pronunciation of “forte” again.

    His pronunciation retains charming traces of his early years in Ireland.

  2. an accepted standard of the sound and stress patterns of a syllable, word, phrase, etc.:

    He said the pronunciation of “curl” is kɜrlkurl not kɔɪlkoil

  3. the conventional patterns of treatment of the sounds of a language:

    the pronunciation of French.

  4. a phonetic transcription of a given word, sound, etc.:

    The pronunciation of “pheasant” is ˈfɛzəntfezuhnt

  5. Rare. an act or instance of declaring publicly; pronouncement:

    It was but the latest pronunciation of the political double-standard uttered in the course of this scandal.

    Synonyms: dissemination, promulgation, proclamation, affirmation, announcement, statement, assertion, declaration

  6. Obsolete.
    1. elocution or delivery.
    2. elegant speech; oratory.
    3. an act or instance of speaking.


/ prəˌnʌnsɪˈeɪʃən /


  1. the act, instance, or manner of pronouncing sounds
  2. the supposedly correct manner of pronouncing sounds in a given language
  3. a phonetic transcription of a word

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Pronunciation Note

It may seem odd for the pronunciation of this very word to be an issue; the pronunciation of pronunciation should be evident from its spelling. The vowel in the second syllable is u, said as in the word up. It is not the diphthong ou, as in ouch. However, for some people, the impulse to retain the sound pattern of the familiar verb pronounce is too strong to resist, and we hear this word said as if it were spelled p-r-o-n-o-u-n-c-i-a-t-i-o-n all too frequently. All this is a reminder that the entire subject of “correct” pronunciation is fraught with controversy. Changes from what we heard growing up are often resisted with surprisingly passionate scorn. And yet we know that language is constantly changing, and that many pronunciations once attacked as ignorant are now accepted without question in even the most educated circles. For example, we hear [skiz, -, uh, m], as well as the older [siz, -, uh, m], for schism, and [fawr, -tey], as well as the historically correct [fawrt], for the sense of forte meaning “something that one excels in” (see Pronunciation note at forte 1 ). And stress patterns change with new generations: increasingly, [k, uh, m-pair-, uh, -b, uh, l] is overtaking [kom, -per-, uh, -b, uh, l] for comparable. Language experts seize the opportunity to note and study these changes; language innovation can be fascinating--even exciting. But some deviations from the current norm will not become part of an accepted standard, and as long as the way one speaks remains a marker of one's education, or one's ability to perform well in school or in a prospective job, it is best to avoid misguided pronunciations like [pr, uh, -noun-see-, ey, -sh, uh, n].

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Other Words From

  • pro·nunci·ation·al pro·nun·ci·a·to·ry [pr, uh, -, nuhn, -see-, uh, -tawr-ee, -tohr-ee], pro·nunci·ative adjective
  • nonpro·nunci·ation noun

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Word History and Origins

Origin of pronunciation1

First recorded in 1400–50; late Middle English pronunciacion, from Latin prōnūntiātiōn- (stem of prōnūntiātiō ) “delivery (of a speech),” equivalent to prōnūntiāt(us) (past participle of prōnūntiāre “to proclaim, announce, utter”) + -iōn- noun suffix; pronounce, -ate 1, -ion

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Example Sentences

After drinking in a red Speedo-clad Duchovny—a nod to that infamous X-Files scene—and some haggling over the pronunciation of the word “prescient,” he disappears into a far-away room in his mansion.

Voice developers no longer needed to dictate the exact pacing, pronunciation, or intonation of the generated speech.

DENVER — A few hours before the Concacaf Nations League semifinals Thursday, the stadium’s public address announcer practiced pronunciations of player names and other standard declarations to be used before and during the matches.

ELSA was designed to give them an accessible resource to help improve their pronunciation and confidence when speaking English.

In some areas of the southern United States, for example, there may be little, if any, difference between the pronunciation of the word “wheel” and “will.”

Nicki Minaj popularized “yaaasssss” with her song “Yasss Bish” and she claims the pronunciation has roots in drag-queen culture.

It always surprises you to hear the Arabic pronunciation of words that have entered American parlance.

Another is Thomas Bender, a onetime HowCast employee who created the YouTube channel Pronunciation Book.

The transliterated Hebrew terms sprinkled here and there are often incorrect, or the pronunciation badly rendered.

Others were simply impressed by his perfectly fine pronunciation of the Hebrew words.

By doing this he in about an hour learned the spelling, pronunciation, and meaning of nearly 100 French words.

I wonder if you'd mind very much if I called one day to thank you formally for the lesson you gave me in pronunciation?

This pronunciation of the nasal vowels in French is, as is well known, an important factor in the famous "accent du Midi."

Fortunately for the student, the spelling represents the pronunciation very faithfully.

Their picturesque pronunciation gives their conversation a piquancy which defies imitation.


Related Words




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