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

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 How to pronounce pronunciational (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

In addition to his Spring-Summer 2020 collection, Louboutin used the occasion present his LouBhoutan (a name that cheekily nods to the French label's proper pronunciation) capsule collection. Vogue, "Christian Louboutin Debuts Two New Collections with a Couture Week Cocktail Party," 3 July 2019 Dylan and Petty are discussing the proper pronunciation of Rickenbacker, the guitar of choice in that particular outpost of that particular era. Mark Feeney,, "When Byrds of a feather, and other bands, flocked together," 13 June 2019 Every language has unique fossilized compound roots, obsolete grammars, the sediment of past pronunciations and local lore that contain ancient knowledge about medicine, culture and the natural world. Caitlin Hu, Quartz, "Iceland is inventing a new vocabulary for a high-tech future," 2 June 2019 The world’s many modern signing systems have different rules for pronunciation, word order, and grammar. National Geographic, "How monks helped invent sign language," 28 May 2019 The song selection suggests nostalgia, but producer Joe Chicarelli’s vibrant arrangements ignore the sound of the past while Morrissey’s dulcet pronunciations make each song palpable, even urgent. Armond White, National Review, "Morrissey’s California Son Makes Protest Music Personal," 5 June 2019 Williams later repeats the pronunciation (at 4:39). Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Have We Been Pronouncing Arya Stark's Name the Wrong Way All This Time?," 26 Mar. 2019 Maude Getty Images Original: Ruth Gordon Recasted: Ann Dowd Queen of changing the pronunciation of streaming services, Ann Dowd is a legend among us. Danny Murphy, Marie Claire, "Recasted: Who Would Star in a Reboot of Harold and Maude?," 12 Feb. 2019 Having the app recognize and speak in these regional pronunciations could prove to be incredibly helpful for travelers trying to be understood as not all languages are spoken the same in various parts of the world. Dani Deahl, The Verge, "Google Translate now knows the difference between US and UK English and other dialects," 3 Oct. 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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Statistics for pronunciation

Last Updated

7 Jul 2019

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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 How to pronounce pronunciation (audio) \

Kids Definition of pronunciation

: the act or way of saying a word or words

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Comments on pronunciation

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