pho·​net·​ic·​al·​ly fə-ˈne-ti-k(ə-)lē How to pronounce phonetically (audio)
: in a phonetic manner or sense or from a phonetic point of view
words that are phonetically similar
especially : by using a system of written symbols that closely represent speech sounds
Wine Enthusiast breaks down the toughest wine tongue twisters and spells them out for you phonetically, so you'll never be speechless around a sommelier again. Wine Enthusiast Magazine
At the same time, the Communists abandoned the Wade-Giles system of phonetically rendering the sound of Mandarin using the Roman alphabet and adopted instead the pinyin system. Jasper Becker

Examples of phonetically in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In truth, Sabu, whose mother tongue was Kannada, was reciting his lines phonetically. Hazlitt, 29 Nov. 2023 The actor realized Myers was actually speaking Japanese, having phonetically memorized his lines so as to seem fluent. Lester Fabian Brathwaite,, 28 June 2023 On that visit and a subsequent session at the school with her daughter, Isaac’s mother, and Isaac’s teacher, Ms. Joseph found that her grandson was being given difficult reading assignments without being taught to parse the words by sounding them out phonetically. Sam Roberts, New York Times, 8 Apr. 2022 Selena learned Spanish phonetically to sing Tejano music. New York Times, 4 Dec. 2020 Amra-Faye Wright learned Japanese phonetically and played Velma in the Japanese company. New York Times, 10 Nov. 2021 At the time, schools were applying a literacy theory called whole language approach, which uses literature as a teaching tool and emphasizes learning through the context of words instead of breaking them down phonetically. Los Angeles Times, 25 Mar. 2022 Clerks often spelled names phonetically. Washington Post, 8 Jan. 2022 Publishers rejected Hurston’s manuscript, objecting to her choice to phonetically render his Black vernacular speech, a rich mix of Yoruba and English. Vera Carothers, The New Yorker, 21 Sep. 2022 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1823, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of phonetically was in 1823

Dictionary Entries Near phonetically

Cite this Entry

“Phonetically.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

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