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

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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 Guinan and Wasatonic have observed Betelgeuse (whose pronunciation is the subject of some debate in the Astronomy community) for more than 40 years. NBC News, "Astronomers want to see a supernova. A dimming star is giving them hope.," 5 Feb. 2020 Yet once past the pronunciation, the Rocca del Dragone Falanghina ($46 a bottle) offers beautiful aromatic stone fruit and tropical notes with a hint of almond and crisp acidity. James Tidwell, Dallas News, "Sommelier says: 6 Southern Italian wines to try at new Dallas pizza spot," 7 Jan. 2020 This book includes several Dena’ina words along with their pronunciations, reminding youngsters that English isn’t the only language spoken in Alaska. David James, Anchorage Daily News, "5 Alaska children’s books perfect for gifting this holiday season," 23 Nov. 2019 Bootes, like several constellations and stars, has several acceptable pronunciations. Mike Lynch, Twin Cities, "Sky Watch: The summer hunter begins his long goodbye," 25 Aug. 2019 Last, but not least, my roommate Jasmine has taught me new pronunciations of words and new Australian versions of words. oregonlive, "Mikayla Pivec’s Oregon State women’s basketball diary: Thanksgiving on the road, extreme couponing habits, what her Beaver teammates are like," 16 Dec. 2019 Until the 19th century, parliamentarians were a rowdy bunch, challenging each other to duels over matters including the pronunciation of a Greek word, whether a window should be open or shut, and an insult to a dog. The Economist, "The threat to MPs from the public is greater than ever," 3 Oct. 2019 Even so, by the turn of the century, the network faced complaints about its tight control over pronunciation, cadence and accent, especially for women and people of color. Jason Loviglio, The Conversation, "NPR is still expanding the range of what authority sounds like after 50 years," 6 Dec. 2019 Of course, the candle is chocolate chip cookie scented since Phoebe's grandmother’s grandmother may or may not have been Nestlé Toll House, depending on your pronunciation. Isabel Garcia, House Beautiful, "These Candles Are Designed to Smell Like the 'Friends' Characters," 12 Dec. 2019

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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Time Traveler for pronunciation

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for pronunciation

Last Updated

17 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pronunciation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for pronunciation


How to pronounce pronunciation (audio)

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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