\ˈfə, ˈfō\

Definition of pho 

: a soup made of beef or chicken broth and rice noodles

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Did You Know?

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

New Dong Khanh for pho is one of my go-tos on a day off. Kara Baskin,, "Getting Salty with Jason Tom of Night Market," 23 Apr. 2018 Sample menu: Sugarcane shrimp ($11), quail ($12), soft-shell crab ($13), pork belly salad rolls ($8), mi quang noodles ($12), oxtail pho ($13), frogs legs ($14). Michael Russell,, "Hem 23 puts Vietnamese street food in a stylish setting, but is it good?," 15 Mar. 2018 Hên Vietnamese Eatery | Cherry Hill Boldly decorated Viet strip-maller, dispensing pho, banh mi, and other staples, is new at 2087 Marlton Pike East. Michael Klein,, "Your dining guide to the new A.C. casinos | Let's Eat," 27 June 2018 Follow my search for the city’s best Vietnamese pho along Washington Avenue and in Kensington (and check my Northeast package, too, for good spots along Adams Avenue). Craig Laban,, "Philly's best ethnic food neighborhoods | Craig LaBan," 4 June 2018 The region is home to Oregon's best Indian and Korean restaurants, respectable Vietnamese pho and banh mi and some outstanding taquerias., "10 Cheap Eats destinations in Beaverton and Hillsboro," 27 Mar. 2018 From risotto to pho, our favorite dishes demand bowls, and bowls demand spoons. Bee Wilson, WSJ, "The Comfort of Bowl Food," 13 July 2018 Food ☆☆ 1/2 All the familiar basics of Vietnamese restaurants are here, if spottily executed: bun (noodle bowls); somewhat lackluster pho; good fried and so-so fresh rolls. Kate Washington, sacbee, "Saigon Street Eat offers up ultra-cheap Vietnamese food for a burgeoning Broadway," 12 Apr. 2018 His perfect meal was the street-stall pho of his favourite country, Vietnam. The Economist, "Anthony Bourdain committed suicide on June 8th," 16 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pho.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of pho

1935, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pho

Vietnamese phǫ̛

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Dictionary Entries near pho


pH meter

Phnom Penh





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Last Updated

19 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for pho

The first known use of pho was in 1935

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