Recorded since c.1330 as Middle English pronouncen (to utter, declare officially), from Old French prononcier, from Latin prōnūntiō, itself from prō- (forth, out, in public) + nūntiō (I announce) from nūntius (messenger).



pronounce (third-person singular simple present pronounces, present participle pronouncing, simple past and past participle pronounced)

  1. (transitive) To declare formally, officially or ceremoniously.
    • 1918, W[illiam] B[abington] Maxwell, chapter V, in The Mirror and the Lamp, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, OCLC 4293071:
      Then everybody once more knelt, and soon the blessing was pronounced. The choir and the clergy trooped out slowly, [] , down the nave to the western door. [] At a seemingly immense distance the surpliced group stopped to say the last prayer.
    I hereby pronounce you man and wife.
  2. (transitive) To declare authoritatively, or as a formal expert opinion.
    The doctor pronounced them legally dead.
    • 2020 December 16, Paul Clifton, “Investigation begins after death at Eastleigh depot”, in Rail, page 12:
      Paramedics attended, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
    1. (transitive) To pronounce dead.
      • 2015, April 30, Carol H. Allan, David R. Fowler (medical examiners), Freddie Gray autopsy: excerpt from the report, published in The Baltimore Sun, June 24, 2015
        Despite resuscitative efforts, Mr. Gray was pronounced on 4/19/2015.
  3. (intransitive) To pass judgment.
    The judge had pronounced often before, but never in front of such a crowd.
  4. (transitive) To sound out (a word or phrase); to articulate.
    • 1869, Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad, page 182:
      They spell it "Vinci" and pronounce it "Vinchy". Foreigners always spell better than they pronounce.
    • 2007, Don DeLillo, Underworld: A Novel, New York, N.Y.: Scribner Classics, →ISBN, page 543:
      I wanted to look up velleity and quotidian and memorize the fuckers for all time, spell them, learn them, pronounce them syllable by syllable—vocalize, phonate, utter the sounds, say the words for all they're worth.
    1. (in passive) To sound like.
      The Icelandic double l in Eyjafjallajökull is pronounced tl.
  5. (intransitive) To produce the components of speech.
    Actors must be able to pronounce perfectly or deliberately disabled.
  6. (transitive) To read aloud.

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Related termsEdit


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