Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The act or manner of pronouncing words; utterance of speech.
  • n. A way of speaking a word, especially a way that is accepted or generally understood.
  • n. A graphic representation of the way a word is spoken, using phonetic symbols.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The standard way in which a word is made to sound when spoken.
  • n. The way in which the words of a language are made to sound when speaking.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of uttering with articulation; the act of giving the proper sound and accent; utterance
  • n. The mode of uttering words or sentences.
  • n. The art of manner of uttering a discourse publicly with propriety and gracefulness; -- now called delivery.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The act of pronouncing, or uttering with articulation; the manner of uttering words or letters; specifically, the manner of uttering words which is held to be correct, as based on the practice of the best speakers: as, the pronunciation of a name; distinct or indistinct pronunciation. Abbreviated pron.
  • n. The art or manner of uttering a discourse with euphony and grace: now called delivery.
  • n. Eclectic pronunciation (of Greek), a system of pronunciation of ancient Greek which seeks to approximate to the actual ancient pronunciation. It agrees on the whole with the stricter continental system, and pronounces the diphthongs so that each element can he heard separately.
  • n. English pronunciation (of Greek), a system of pronouncing Greek with the English sounds of the corresponding Latin letters. This system is now little used in the United States.
  • n. English pronunciation (of Latin), a system of pronouncing Latin which follows, with some exceptions, the general analogy of the modern pronunciation of English. The Latin rule of accentuation determines the place of the accent; but the vowels are given their long or short English sounds without regard to their Latin quantity. The English long sounds are used at the end of a word (but final a is usually obscure, as in coma), before another vowel, and at the end of an accented penult or of any unaccented syllable (except penultimate i). The English short sounds are used in a syllable ending with a consonant (except final es, os), before two consonants (not a mute and liquid) and x (= cs), and (excepting u) in an accented antepenult before a single consonant, if not followed by two vowels the former of which is e, i, or y. C, 8, and t, succeeding the accent, are equivalent to sh, and x is sounded like ksh, before two vowels the former of which is an unaccented i or y, unless 8, t, or x precedes. Initial x is pronounced z. If the second of two initial consonants is not h, l, or r, the first (if not 8) is silent. Initial chth and phth are pronounced th. There are no silent vowels. Different authorities vary these rules somewhat, or acknowledge various exceptions to them. The English system of pronunciation of Latin regulates the pronunciation in English of all proper names which have not altered their Latin spelling, and of all Latin words and phrases which have become Anglicized.
  • n. Erasmian pronunciation (of Greek), a system the earliest champion of which was Erasmus in his treatise “De Recta Latini Græcique Sermonis Pronunciatione” (Basel, 1528). The pronunciation universally in use at that time was the modern Greek as used in the middle ages and supported by Byzantine scholars at the time of the revival of letters. Investigation led to a general conviction among scholars in the west of Europe that the Erasmian theory of the ancient pronunciation was correct; and by the end of the sixteenth century — after considerable controversy, embittered by the fact that the traditional or modern pronunciation was favored by supporters of the papacy, and the Erasmian system by the Reformers — the Erasmian system had come into general use, and the Byzantine method of pronouncing Greek as a living language — also called the Reuchlinian, from Johann Reuchlin, the first great representative of Greek scholarship in Germany — became obsolete in the western schools. In its original form the Erasmian pronunciation was distinguished from the Reuchlinian by giving most of the vowels the sounds which they have in Latin as pronounced by most of the western nations, the Italians, Germans, etc., and by pronouncing the diphthongs so that each vowel in them should preserve its own sound. As, however, this pronunciation closely approached that of the modern western languages in the sixteenth century, it became practically the usage that every nation should pronounce Greek after the analogy of its own language, and, as this has gradually changed in each country, the pronunciation of Greek has varied with it. In England, in the time of Henry VIII., the pronunciation of vowels was nearly the same as in continental languages. This is evident from the fact that the relation of the Greek vowels, as pronounced by the Erasmian system, to those in the Latin alphabet, as used in the vernacular, is treated by writers of that time as identical in England and on the continent. In England, accordingly, the Erasmian system of pronunciation was insensibly transformed into what is now called the English pronunciation of Greek. The system known as the continental is a partial revision of the Erasmian; that designated as the eclectic restores the Erasmian with some alterations.
  • n. Modern Greek pronunciation, the pronunciation of Greek, ancient and modern, actually in use in Greece at the present day. The change from the ancient to the present pronunciation was very gradual. The first signs of its prevalence are found in the Bœotian dialect and among Hellenists. Confusion of ει with ι became general about 200-100 b. c., but good speakers still made some difference between these sounds till after 200 a. d. The vowel η began to be frequently confounded with ι about 250-150 b. c., but persons of culture retained the sound of a Latin ē (English ā) for it till 500 a. d. or later. The diphthong αι became identical in sound with ε about 150-200 a. d., and somewhat later οι was pronounced like υ (ü). The vowel υ was distinguished from ι till late Byzantine times. After about 150-200 a. d. αυ, εν came to be sounded as av, ev, and later as af, ef before surds. During the Roman imperial period distinctions of quantity fell more and more into disuse, and merely accentual poetry began as early as the fourth century. In Egypt and other countries outside of Greece these changes of pronunciation began very early, and even the older manuscripts are accordingly full of their effects (iotacisms). This system of pronunciation prevailed throughout the middle ages not only in the East, but in the West till the time of the Reformation. Also called iotacism, itacism, Reuchlinian pronunciation.
  • n. Reuchlinian pronunciation (of Greek). Same as . See .
  • n. Roman pronunciation (of Latin), a system of pronunciation of Latin which seeks to approximate to the actual ancient pronunciation. It differs from the stricter continental system chiefly in the sounds given to æ, œ, c, and υ, and in having only one sound for each vowel. In the ancient pronunciation e and o varied in sound, and there are indications that the short vowels in general differed somewhat in quality from the long vowels. The following tables exhibit the leading systems described above.
  • n. In all these systems κ, λ, μ, ν, π, ρ, σ, τ, φ, and ψ respectively have the same sounds as k, l, m, n, p, r, s, t, f, and ps. The sounds given in parentheses represent the stricter continental pronunciation. γ is γ before γ, κ, ξ, χ (γ being γ elsewhere); gh represents the corresponding sonant to ċh (nearly as German g in Wagen as pronounced by most Germans). In the Modern Greek system χ is ch as in German ich, and γ is y before ā and ē sounds (ε, ι, etc.); γκ is ngg, μπ is mb, and ντ is nd. The strict continental system and the Modern Greek pronounce by the written accent, while the English and the modified continental accent Greek by the rule for accent in Latin. The two last-named systems generally make α and ι long in open syllables and short in closed syllables (the English pronunciation treating them as a and i in Latin), but υ is always long.
  • n. In all these systems b, d, f, h, k, l, m, n, p, ph (= f), q (qu = kw), r, t, th (in thin), have their ordinary English sounds. C and g represent c and g before e, æ, œ, i, and y; c and g represent c and g before other letters than these. The short vowel-sounds are used in the English and in the modified continental system in closed syllables, and the long vowel-sounds in open syllables, regardless of the ancient quantity. The Roman system gives the same quality of sound to a short vowel as to a long, but makes it more rapid in pronunciation. In continental pronunciation s is by some pronounced z between two vowels, and in the modified system final ěs is pronounced āz, and final os ōs. For the pronunciation of c, s, and t as sh, and of x as ksh or z, see . Pronounce ü as in German, or as French u.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the way a word or a language is customarily spoken
  • n. the manner in which someone utters a word

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French prononciation, from Latin prōnūntiātiō, prōnūntiātiōn-, from prōnūntiātus, past participle of prōnūntiāre, to pronounce; see pronounce.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin pronuntiatio, noun of action from perfect passive participle pronuntiatus, from verb pronuntiare ("proclaim"), from pro- for + nuntiare ("announce"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Remember, there is no noun in pronunciation. Don't say pronounciation, as many regrettably do. Take care to say pronunciation. — The Orthoepist

    June 9, 2010

  • Re: melalice's question on her profile (which is not public): under each word, there's a "pronunciations" link to the pronunciation page. For most dictionary words there's also a pronunciation on each word's main page (right column).

    February 26, 2010

  • Grant, are you gonna bracket snarfled a fargle or ruzzled a pallow?

    February 13, 2010

  • I must be keeping you busy then!

    November 19, 2009

  • If you post a bogus pronunciation, leave a comment for me and I'll delete it. I review all the prons every few days, anyway, and can usually tell when some snarfled a fargle or ruzzled a pallow.

    November 19, 2009

  • There really should be a "delete" button. Alas, there is none. So make sure you get it right before you hit "save!"

    November 19, 2009

  • What happens when someone posts a bogus one?

    November 19, 2009

  • Yes! There's a "play" button, you can listen to it before submitting it.

    November 19, 2009

  • Lets say I got myself a microphone and recorded a pronunciation (on wordnik), would I be able to listen to myself before it's officially put up?

    November 19, 2009