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 those who are new to the world of decadent Greek and healthy Mediterranean foods, servers are happy to help not only with menu suggestions but also pronunciations. Joan Cary, Aurora Beacon-News, "Guide to outdoor dining in Chicago suburbs: Basil’s Greek Dining in Aurora," 8 July 2018 The athlete then took to Twitter to share the correct pronunciation of his kids’ monikers. Stephanie Petit,, "The Queen's Granddaughter Zara Tindall Steps Out to Cheer for Husband 2 Weeks After Welcoming Baby Lena," 1 July 2018 Untapped Cities also took a deep dive into the history of the street, mentioning that the pronunciation was likely tweaked because of the Tennessee native making a big noise along the Gulf Coast. Craig Hlavaty, Houston Chronicle, "The New York pronunciation of Houston explained," 30 Apr. 2018 Even the best may need help with pronunciations here. Joan Cary, Aurora Beacon-News, "Guide to outdoor dining in Chicago suburbs: Basil’s Greek Dining in Aurora," 8 July 2018 Yes, the front-house staff had difficulties with some basics – such as properly setting a table, pacing and not mangling the pronunciation of every Italian word on the menu. Craig Laban,, "Atlantic City restaurants: New casinos, diverse independent spots create rising culinary energy," 6 July 2018 Unfortunately, the Kensington Palace tweet didn't also offer a pronunciation guide for curious royal family fans. Southern Living, "Here's How to Pronounce the Royal Family's Newest Member's Name, Prince Louis," 27 Apr. 2018 Weiner's unconventional spelling of the Russian surname reportedly reflects both the pronunciation and how it was spelled up until recently. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "The mini-series from Mad Men's Matthew Weiner is about the modern descendants of the Romanov family.," 2 July 2018 Too bad this Jeopardy contestant didn't have the Free Press' pronunciation guide. Caroline Blackmon, Detroit Free Press, "'Jeopardy' contestant butchers the word 'Mackinac,' gets away with it," 29 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

1 Sep 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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