pro·​nun·​ci·​a·​tion | \prə-ˌnən(t)-sē-ˈā-shənalso nonstandard, -ˌnau̇n(t)- \

Definition of pronunciation 

: the act or manner of pronouncing something

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Other Words from pronunciation

pronunciational \prə-​ˌnən(t)-​sē-​ˈā-​shnəl, -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective

Is it 'pronunciation' or 'pronounciation'?

We’ve received quite a few letters and e-mails from correspondents asking for pronunciation help—but in some of these letters and e-mails, pronunciation is spelled pronounciation. The confusion is understandable: the verb is pronounce, so why shouldn’t the noun be pronounciation? Both the noun and verb come ultimately from the Latin verb pronuntiare. But when the Latin verb was taken into Anglo-French and later entered Middle English, that second vowel was sometimes rendered as -u- and sometimes rendered as -ou-. This meant that, from about the 1500s onward, we have evidence of both pronounciation and pronunciation in the written record. Eventually the noun standardized to pronunciation, but because of influence from pronounce, we do occasionally see pronounciation in print, and we also have evidence of a corresponding pronunciation for pronounciation (\pruh-nown-see-AY-shun\). The spelling pronounciation and the pronunciation that goes with that spelling are not considered a part of standard English. Using them could result in criticism or questioning.

Examples of pronunciation in a Sentence

What is the correct pronunciation of his name? I haven't learned proper pronunciation of French words.

Recent Examples on the Web

For people whose native language is not English and are struggling: embrace the accent, embrace your culture, and embrace the correct pronunciation of your name. Cody Charles, Teen Vogue, "College Advice for Students of Marginalized Identities," 21 Nov. 2018 As least one crowdsourced conversational English-to-Japanese reference site seems to show the same pronunciation split between Japan and America. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "How do you pronounce “NES”? Nintendo throws a wrench in the debate," 3 Aug. 2018 Its Korean pronunciation is vaguely similar to English, so the members have a hard time translating the ingredient. Devon Abelman, Allure, "K-Pop Group Monsta X Reveals the Skin-Care Tips That Make Their Complexions "Shine Forever"," 27 July 2018 But to me, what really is the proper pronunciation? James Wagner, New York Times, "When Spanish Names (Don’t) Flummox English-Speaking Baseball Announcers," 12 June 2018 Cosell’s pronunciation is sure to bring winks and smiles to the Mets’ crowd. Ben Walker, The Seattle Times, "That Voice: Cosell’s grandson debuts as Mets’ PA announcer," 2 June 2018 Apparently that’s the proper Scottish pronunciation. Margaret Gray,, "'Speechless' actor John Ross Bowie makes his stage debut in Neil Simon's '23rd Floor'," 11 Apr. 2018 In a new interview with The Guardian, Maisie Williams clarified once and for all the correct pronunciation of her character Arya Stark's name. D. Elizabeth, Glamour, "Maisie Williams Finally Set the Record Straight on How to Pronounce Arya Stark's Name," 18 Oct. 2018 And that’s before you even get to musical artists with English-language names that French pronunciation transform into an almost entirely new word, like Radiohead, or Earth, Wind, and Fire. Brian Barrett, WIRED, "Inside Amazon's Painstaking Pursuit to Teach Alexa French," 13 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pronunciation.' 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 pronunciation

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pronunciation

Middle English pronunciacion, from Anglo-French pronunciation, from Latin pronuntiation-, pronuntiatio, from pronuntiare

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Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for pronunciation

The first known use of pronunciation was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for pronunciation



English Language Learners Definition of pronunciation

: the way in which a word or name is pronounced

: a particular person's way of pronouncing a word or the words of a language


pro·​nun·​ci·​a·​tion | \prə-ˌnən-sē-ˈā-shən \

Kids Definition of pronunciation

: the act or way of saying a word or words

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