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

Other Words from pronunciation

pronunciational \ prə-​ˌnən(t)-​sē-​ˈā-​shnəl How to pronounce pronunciation (audio) , -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective

Is it 'pronunciation' or 'pronounciation'?

We’ve received quite a few letters and emails from correspondents asking for pronunciation help—but in some of these letters and emails, 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 viewers quibbled with his pronunciation of certain words, or accused him of trafficking in clickbait. New York Times, 28 Apr. 2022 Mandarin has a reputation for being a difficult language to learn for native English speakers, particularly because of its varied tonal pronunciation. Tracy Brownstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 13 Apr. 2022 But Meijer's family name — and its pronunciation — is extraordinarily well known in Michigan, given that his family founded the huge grocery store chain of the same name. Dave Boucher, Detroit Free Press, 3 Apr. 2022 What was first designed to compress images to quickly display color images has since become a driving force of internet culture – and debate about its proper pronunciation. Larisha Paul, Rolling Stone, 25 Mar. 2022 Yang offers to settle the pronunciation of the singer’s last name, which has a double-L that can sometimes throw off English speakers. Jude Zhu, Billboard, 8 Apr. 2022 The looping animations known as graphics interchange format quickly became a staple of the internet, although the pronunciation of ‘GIF’ was a frequent subject of debate. New York Times, 24 Mar. 2022 For some traditionalist Catholics, Francis' pronunciation of Russia in the prayer, as well as his invitation for all the world's bishops to join him, finally fulfills the original Fatima prophesy. Nicole Winfield, ajc, 25 Mar. 2022 The better-than-the-real-thing pronunciation of words. Morgan Greenwood, SELF, 4 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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

20 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Pronunciation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for pronunciation


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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