pro·​nun·​ci·​a·​tion | \ prə-ˌnən(t)-sē-ˈā-shən How to pronounce pronunciation (audio) also nonstandard -ˌnau̇n(t)- \

Definition of pronunciation

: the act or manner of pronouncing something

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from pronunciation

pronunciational \ prə-​ˌnən(t)-​sē-​ˈā-​shnəl How to pronounce pronunciation (audio) , -​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 The speech-recognition technology will ensure your pronunciation is on point. Greta Good, Chron, "If you plan to travel soon, this 60% price drop on Babbel can help you learn a new language," 7 Apr. 2021 Veteran Michael Boxall prefers the Spanish pronunciation. Jerry Zgoda, Star Tribune, "Minnesota United trying to settle on what to call new striker Ramon Abila," 14 Apr. 2021 The poem is riddled with r words, and Gorman takes joy in the effort of pronunciation. Doreen St. Félix, Vogue, "The Rise and Rise of Amanda Gorman," 7 Apr. 2021 Currently, Babbel offers courses that tackle 14 languages and many focus on your pronunciation and speech using voice recognition. Benjamin Levin, CNN Underscored, "We tried the top online learning platforms — here’s how they compare," 1 Apr. 2021 For some, the incident also taps into longstanding feelings of marginalization by non-Asian people who can’t be bothered to learn correct name pronunciation. Jessica Gelt, Los Angeles Times, "An Asian actor got disrespected at L.A. theater awards. What happened next was swift and powerful," 1 Apr. 2021 Sometimes pronunciation slip-ups result in embarrassing consequences. Washington Post, "Some people think they have to lose their accent to get ahead. Is that fair?," 24 Mar. 2021 Many of these names are Chinese and Korean, and the Asian American Journalists Association has released a pronunciation guide for people to say their names in a respectful manner. oregonlive, "Asian American community leaders urge people to ‘learn our names’ to combat anti-Asian racism," 23 Mar. 2021 The pronunciation of several of the Greek letters (Zeta, Eta, Theta) are similar and occur in succession. Allison Chinchar And Haley Brink, CNN, "The Greek alphabet will never be used again to name tropical storms," 17 Mar. 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pronunciation

Time Traveler for pronunciation

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for pronunciation

Last Updated

8 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pronunciation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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 How to pronounce pronunciation (audio) \

Kids Definition of pronunciation

: the act or way of saying a word or words

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on pronunciation

What made you want to look up pronunciation? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu jedi training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!