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

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 Zendaya stans picked up on her sneaking in a quick pronunciation lesson. Radhika Menon, Teen Vogue, "Zendaya Used a Viral "Smallfoot" Video to Remind People How to Say Her Name," 24 Sep. 2018 For people whose native language is not English and are struggling: embrace the accent, embrace your culture, and embrace the correct pronunciation of your name. Cody Charles, Teen Vogue, "College Advice for Students of Marginalized Identities," 21 Nov. 2018 As least one crowdsourced conversational English-to-Japanese reference site seems to show the same pronunciation split between Japan and America. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "How do you pronounce “NES”? Nintendo throws a wrench in the debate," 3 Aug. 2018 Its Korean pronunciation is vaguely similar to English, so the members have a hard time translating the ingredient. Devon Abelman, Allure, "K-Pop Group Monsta X Reveals the Skin-Care Tips That Make Their Complexions "Shine Forever"," 27 July 2018 But to me, what really is the proper pronunciation? James Wagner, New York Times, "When Spanish Names (Don’t) Flummox English-Speaking Baseball Announcers," 12 June 2018 Cosell’s pronunciation is sure to bring winks and smiles to the Mets’ crowd. Ben Walker, The Seattle Times, "That Voice: Cosell’s grandson debuts as Mets’ PA announcer," 2 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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Statistics for pronunciation

Last Updated

17 Mar 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

What made you want to look up pronunciation? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

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