ˈfə How to pronounce pho (audio)
: a soup made of beef or chicken broth and rice noodles

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Pho, which first appeared in print in English in 1935, was borrowed from a Vietnamese word which was spelled phở. English speakers replaced the vowel with "o" but preserved the pronunciation as "fuh," rather than "foh." Another Vietnamese food word that was borrowed into English is nuoc mam, which refers to a type of fish sauce that is fermented in brine. In that case as well, the original Vietnamese word had accent marks that were lost on the journey into English. Nuoc mam was recorded in English just a few years before pho arrived.

Examples of pho in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web An East African eatery in Detroit, longtime family owned Seattle pho shops and a Palestinian chef using ancient cooking techniques in Washington, D.C., are among the dozens of finalists for this year’s prestigious James Beard Awards. Eva Roytburg, Fortune, 9 June 2024 Sacramento County is home to the eighth-most Vietnamese immigrants in the United States, according to the Migration Policy Institute — and at least eight slept-on restaurants spinning bánh mì, pho and more. Benjy Egel, Sacramento Bee, 31 May 2024 One of the most impressive dishes was her elevated take on pho, which had an intense broth with oxtail and brisket, fragrant with Thai and lemon basil, and served wide, silky handmade rice noodles. Laurie Ochoa, Los Angeles Times, 1 June 2024 Pho House: Vietnamese classics such as bún bò cay, a spicy beef soup native to Bạc Liêu in southern Vietnam, shine alongside Chinese counterparts in this Carmichael Oaks shopping center pho spot. Benjy Egel, Sacramento Bee, 31 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for pho 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pho.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from Vietnamese phở

First Known Use

1935, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of pho was in 1935


Dictionary Entries Near pho

Cite this Entry

“Pho.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jun. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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