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:
      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.
    • 1972, “Thick As A Brick”, Ian Anderson (lyrics), performed by Jethro Tull:
      See there! A son is born
      And we pronounce him fit to fight
      There are blackheads on his shoulders
      And he pees himself in the night.
    • 2012, David Walliams [pseudonym; David Edward Williams], Ratburger, London: HarperCollins Children’s Books, →ISBN:
      “If any pupil considers it acceptable to bring a pet into this school, let me tell you it is forbidden. Strictly forbidden!” pronounced the headmaster from the front of the class.
    • 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.
      • 1997 January 31, Charles Hutzler, “Leader’s office hunt a lesson in arcana and parking problems”, in AP News[1], archived from the original on 2023-04-19[2]:
        The Chinese believe feng shui, pronounced fung shway, can help blunt the ill effects to health and wealth brought on, for example, by the inauspicious jut of an adjacent building or hill.
      • 2012, Endymion Wilkinson, “Introduction”, in Chinese History: A New Manual[3], 3rd revised edition, Harvard University Press, →ISBN, →LCCN, →OCLC, page 14:
        The DPRK (Joseon Minjujui Inmin Konghuaguk 朝鮮民主主義人民共和國) is read in Chinese as Chaoxian minzhu zhuyi renmin gonghe guo, and its capital, Pyeonyang, is pronounced Pingrang 平壤.
  5. (intransitive) To produce the components of speech.
    Actors must be able to pronounce perfectly or deliberately disabled.
  6. (transitive) To read aloud.

Derived terms



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