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An example of bokeh

From Japanese 暈け (boke, blur), the nominalized form of 暈ける (bokeru, to blur (intransitive)).

The terminal -h, absent in the romanization boke, is a pronunciation guide so that it is not pronounced as /boʊk/ as it would be under standard English orthography. Contrast karate and karaoke, which have undergone sound changes.

The term has been used since at least 1996,[1] with the spelling bokeh introduced by editor Mike Johnston in the March–April 1997 issue of Photo Techniques magazine, Johnston writing “it is properly pronounced with bo as in bone and ke as in Kenneth, with equal stress on either syllable”.[2]



bokeh (uncountable)

  1. (photography) A subjective aesthetic quality of out-of-focus areas of an image projected by a camera lens.


  1. ^ Harold M. Merklinger (March–April 1997), “A Technical View of Boke”, in Photo Techniques (reproduced on The Luminous Landscape website)[1], archived from the original on 22 December 2016.
  2. ^ Mike Johnston (4 April 2004), “Bokeh in Pictures”, in The Luminous Landscape[2], archived from the original on 3 January 2015.

Further readingEdit