pro·​nun·​ci·​a·​tion prə-ˌnən(t)-sē-ˈā-shən How to pronounce pronunciation (audio)
 also nonstandard  -ˌnau̇n(t)-
: the act or manner of pronouncing something
pronunciational adjective

Did you know?

Is it 'pronunciation' or 'pronounciation'?

Among the various letters and emails we receive from correspondents asking for pronunciation help are a number in which 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 means that, from about the 1500s onward, we see evidence of both pronounciation and pronunciation in the written record. Eventually, the noun standardized to pronunciation, but because of influence from pronounce, we occasionally still see pronounciation in print, and encounter a corresponding pronunciation for pronounciation (\pruh-nown-see-AY-shun\). These facts notwithstanding, the pronounciation spelling and the pronunciation that goes with it are not considered a part of standard English, and may open one 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 Both of the spellings and pronunciations can be used interchangeably. Stacey Leasca, Southern Living, 16 Sep. 2023 The slang, the delivery, his lover-boy persona, even the choices on his pronunciation being more like a second-generation Latino in the U.S. Leila Cobo, Billboard, 31 Aug. 2023 The platform’s speech recognition technology enables learners to refine their pronunciation. Stack Commerce, Popular Science, 31 Aug. 2023 Cole’s butchered Anglophone pronunciation of Spanish gives the songs an odd, unforgettable poignancy: love as a mistranslation. Kyle Chayka, The New Yorker, 1 Sep. 2023 The artist also discussed meeting countrymen U2 at the Kennedy Center Honors last year, a difficult early career booking on The Late Show With David Letterman, dropping out of college to pursue music, the strangest pronunciation of his last name, and the merits of performing in intimate venues. Jonathan Cohen, Spin, 28 Aug. 2023 Hewitt, of course, used the common English pronunciation of the word. Adrienne Mahsa Varkiani, The New Republic, 27 June 2023 The pronunciation of Jaime Reyes’ first-name really matters. Matt Wake |, al, 17 Aug. 2023 This includes book clubs, English conversation classes and grammar and pronunciation classes. Emma Fox, Los Angeles Times, 16 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pronunciation.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English pronunciacion, from Anglo-French pronunciation, from Latin pronuntiation-, pronuntiatio, from pronuntiare

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near pronunciation

Cite this Entry

“Pronunciation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


pro·​nun·​ci·​a·​tion prə-ˌnən(t)-sē-ˈā-shən How to pronounce pronunciation (audio)
: the act or way of pronouncing a word or words
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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