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

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.

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Dinh, whose parents opened the pho shop in 1987 and who took over in 2018, is calling on aid for businesses struggling with their gas bills. Stephanie Breijo, Los Angeles Times, 26 Feb. 2023 Gaming Foodie and North Texan Alissa Nguyen then stops by to chat about her viral TikTok recipes, like her pho and sushi bake. Dallas News, 16 Feb. 2023 With no time for FOIAs or Bureau spokespeople, Merlan turned to her on-the-ground sources—her aging punk friends from high school who have retained their encyclopedic knowledge of strip mall parking lots and late-night pho joints. Karen Yuan, Bon Appétit, 22 Dec. 2022 Famous dishes include the bo luc lac (garlic beef), bun bo Hue (Hue-style beef noodle soup), goi ngo sen tom thit (lotus root salad with shrimp and pork) and pho. Mai Pham, Chron, 23 Aug. 2022 Restaurant critic Soleil Ho’s visits to the purely meat-free restaurants in the region brought both newfangled burgers and cooking steeped in the tradition of Central American and Asian cultures — including familiar dishes such as tamales and pho. Taylor Kate Brown, San Francisco Chronicle, 26 Feb. 2021 To make a speedy bowl of soup reminiscent of the warmth and flavors of pho, simply slice up the cooked proteins and vegetables, add them back to the broth with soaked rice noodles, a splash of fish sauce, hot sauce and fresh lime. Tribune News Service, cleveland, 25 Jan. 2021 In Vietnamese, Jenkins asks the server for a bowl of Dac Biet Xe Lua, a combination pho with rare slices of steak, flank, tendon, tripe and rice noodles. Los Angeles Times, 5 Jan. 2023 Palm trees abound, as does, arguably, the best pho and bubble tea in America. Jada Yuan, Washington Post, 7 Nov. 2022 See More

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.

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 21 Mar. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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