\ ˈfə How to pronounce pho (audio) , ˈfō\

Definition of pho

: 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

Others shift to a new concept: Chef Summer Le had a hit with the Vietnamese pop-up Bahnmilicious at Smallman Galley in 2017, and opened Shaka (Hawaiian poke bowls and Vietnamese pho) this month at Federal Galley. Melissa Rayworth, USA TODAY, "Pittsburgh's transformed dining scene is the place to be and eat," 21 Aug. 2019 Others shift to a new concept: Chef Summer Le had a hit with the Vietnamese pop-up Bahnmilicious at Smallman Galley in 2017, and opened Shaka (Hawaiian poke bowls and Vietnamese pho) this month at Federal Galley. Washington Post, "Lots to sample on a weekend visit to Pittsburgh dining scene," 19 Aug. 2019 Bol, which offers Vietnamese pho and Chinese dishes such as wonton noodle soup, fried rice and General Tso’s Chicken until the wee hours (1 a.m. weekdays, 3 a.m. weekends) has nearly tripled its capacity, from 58 to 160 seats. Michael Mayo,, "Hard Rock Hollywood opens new food court, center bar and bigger Bol restaurant," 9 Aug. 2019 Because this is Los Angeles, where the average person might have deep, simultaneous passions for Korean barbecue, tacos, pupusas, pho and sisig. Los Angeles Times, "Column: The workers who make Korean barbecue possible deserve better," 29 July 2019 The menu unites the family’s dual heritage, with pho and ramen sharing equal billing. Priya Krishna, New York Times, "A Global Feast in an Unlikely Spot: Lancaster, Pa.," 23 July 2019 Russian dishes are still a long way from gaining an international following like Vietnamese pho or Thailand’s tom yum soup. Washington Post, "Pass the lilac jam, please. Russian foodies explore tastes from the pre-Soviet past.," 26 June 2019 While most of the Santa Cruz author’s previous books have had a more singular focus on Vietnamese dishes like pho and banh mi or more general Asian preparations like tofu and dumplings, this one takes an Everywoman’s approach to her native cuisine., "Our favorite cookbooks of 2019, so far," 21 June 2019 There are a few salads, a few versions of pho, a couple of rice plates, and weekend specials. Globe Staff,, "Ban Tôi chef-owner Chieu Nguyen used to run a nail salon. Now he’s doing what he loves.," 18 July 2019

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

27 Aug 2019

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The first known use of pho was in 1935

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concealment of treason or felony

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