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Audio Pronunciations FAQ

How can I hear the pronunciation of a word?

The word must be in boldface and followed by a red audio icon: audio icon. Click on the audio icon. A pop-up window will open, and in most cases the audio pronunciation will play automatically. Click on the "hear it again" link in the pop-up window to replay the pronunciation. When you are done, close the pop-up window.

If the pronunciation does not play automatically when the pop-up window opens, click on the "Click here to listen with your default audio player" link. This will open your default audio player application and play the pronunciation.

What hardware and software is required?

Your computer must have a properly configured sound card and a set of speakers or headphones. You'll also need a Web browser that is JavaScript enabled and supports playing of WAV sound files.

We also recommend that you have a stand-alone audio player application that supports WAV sound files (e.g. Windows Media Player) installed on your computer in the event that the pronunciation does not play automatically when you click on the audio icon. Most newer operating systems come bundled with an audio player. Your browser should be configured to automatically associate WAV sound files with your audio player.

Can I hear pronunciations with JavaScript disabled?

No. The pronunciation pop-up window is a JavaScript window, and the pronunciation will not play unless the pop-up window opens.

Does the audio feature work with Netscape 6 and 7?

Yes, but the audio will not play automatically when you click on the audio icon. Follow these steps to play an audio pronunciation in Netscape 6 and 7:

1. Once the pop-up window opens and loads fully, click on the link: "Click here to listen with your default audio player".

2. Select the "Open using..." option and click the OK button. This opens the default audio player used by Netscape 6 and 7 and plays the audio pronunciation.

Note: Entry words with special characters (such as é and ç in "démodé" and "limaçon") may have an audio icon, but the icon will be unresponsive when clicked. This is due to the way Netscape 6 and 7 renders special characters when they appear as part of a URL (Web address).

Do all entries include an audio pronunciation?

No, only those entries that have pronunciations listed in the definition have audio pronunciations. Among those that do not are thesaurus entries, abbreviations, and open compounds, such as "bird dog" and "red herring," the elements of which are pronounced at the "bird," "dog," "red," and "herring" entries. Also excluded are many entry words that appear within other entries, such as "stillness" at the end of the "still" entry. Words that are spelled and pronounced the same but entered separately, such as "crane" the noun and "crane" the verb, are a special case: only the entry listed first in the results list has an audio pronunciation.

How many audio pronunciations are there in the online dictionary?

About 105,000.

Why do some words have more than one audio icon?

These entries have more than one variant pronunciation. Click on each audio icon to hear each variant.

Why do some words have multiple pronunciations listed in the definition but only one audio pronunciation?

In many cases where there are multiple variant pronunciations only the first, most common variant is offered in audio format.

Why are only certain parts of some compound words pronounced?

This happens when part of the compound is already pronounced elsewhere in the dictionary. For example, at the "Grand Teton" entry "Grand" is not pronounced because it is already pronounced at the "grand" entry; "Teton" is pronounced, however, because there is no entry or pronunciation for "Teton" by itself. Similarly, at "Hohokam Pima National Monument," only the audio pronunciation "Hohokam Pima" is given, because "national" and "monument" are pronounced at their own entries.

The beginning of the audio pronunciation is clipped. What can I do?

Click on the "hear it again" link to replay the pronunciation until it no longer sounds clipped. You may have to replay the pronunciation more than once. If this doesn't help, try clicking on the "Click here to listen with your default audio player" link.

What can I do about the audio skipping?

Click on the "hear it again" link to replay the pronunciation until it no longer skips. You may have to replay the pronunciation more than once. If the pronunciations skip consistently try clicking on the "Click here to listen with your default audio player" link. If they are skipping with your default audio player, you may have to change your default audio player.

What do I do if my question isn't addressed here?

If you have other questions about the audio pronunciation feature, contact us by using the Web Site Support form.