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 Some as-yet-unknown neural mechanism enables us to filter out differences in accent and pronunciation, helping us understand spoken words regardless of the speaker. Virginia Morell, Science | AAAS, "Dogs hear words the same way we do," 3 Dec. 2019 Due to a pronunciation misunderstanding, the Alexandria Ceremonial Police Orchestra from Egypt shows up in a tiny Israeli desert town, stranded overnight until a morning bus can take them to the real location of their concert. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Funny, poignant 'The Band's Visit' is a honey of a musical at Marcus Center's Broadway series," 27 Nov. 2019 Elders fluent in northern and southern Haida dialects revised dialogue and coached actors in pronunciation. Julian Brave Noisecat, The New Yorker, "Can Film Save Indigenous Languages?," 14 Nov. 2019 And, of course, the quickest way to tell a Yank from a Brit is by pronunciation. The Economist, "How America saved old-fashioned English grammar," 17 Oct. 2019 But English is, of course, a very peculiar language, as Bernard Shaw complains, the orthography and the pronunciation have nothing in common. Gabe Friedman,, "Harold Bloom dreamed in Yiddish until his death," 17 Oct. 2019 Create English-language lesson plans and teach vocabulary and pronunciation skills to primary school students. National Geographic, "Thailand Community Service: Teaching & Mentorship," 20 Sep. 2019 She was initially assigned to an ELL English class that focused on basic skills like fill-in-the-blank vocabulary exercises and pronunciation., "Immigrant students learn hard lessons about racism at a historically white high school in Maine," 14 Aug. 2019 Manuel helped non-Spanish speakers in Washington with the pronunciation of Spanish names., "Deaths in South Florida: 11/5," 5 Nov. 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

8 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Pronunciation.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 15 December 2019.

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More Definitions for pronunciation


How to pronounce pronunciation (audio) 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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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).


delight or enjoyment

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