Mighty Red Pen

March 14, 2007

I now pronunciate you

Filed under: At home with MRP,Pop culture,Word wars — mighty red pen @ 6:46 pm

Is pronunciate a word? Diana Ross seems to think it is.

In a head-scratching moment chez MRP last night, we heard Diana Ross tell an American Idol contestant that she should work harder to pronunciate her words. She said it about five times.

MRP thought she must be conflating pronounce with enunciate, and I was inclined to give her credit for making up a sort of useful word.

However, lest the grammatically correct among us think that Ms. Ross is totally out of her bird, it seems that some people agree with her. While Merriam Webster denies any knowledge of the word, dictionary.com says it’s a real word, although it calls the usage “rare.”

And yes, MRP watches American Idol. So?


  1. I don’t watch the tube, but I did see some Paula Abdul clips on YouTube. Did Diana perhaps ave the same problem?

    Of course you don’t need much vocabulary to judge AI. Wit helps, but vocabulary is optional.

    Comment by Harry — March 15, 2007 @ 7:39 pm | Reply

  2. dude, are you seriously unaware of this word? everyone knows the word pronunciate! it’s totally correct! my mom, the strict english grammar teacher, used to remind me to pronunciate every day of my childhood.

    get with it, MRP. in philly, we work on PRONUNCIATING.

    Comment by aud — March 16, 2007 @ 1:54 pm | Reply

  3. Aud, dude, I didn’t say it wasn’t a real word, I just said it’s not a very good one. And also, it doesn’t mean “to pronounce” as in “say your words correctly.” It means “to pronounce” as in “to declare.” Just cause that’s how you guys roll in Philly . . .

    Comment by mightyredpen — March 16, 2007 @ 3:53 pm | Reply

  4. I also found this word in dictionary.com saying the Webster’s New Millennium™ Dictionary of English has it listed as a rare usage.

    I have not found it any other English dictionary I have including the OED and Macquarie (Australia).

    My guess is it made its first appearing Websters since the millenium.

    Until it begins to appear in other English dictionaries, I’ll maintain my belief that is a butchered fusion of pronounce and enunciate.

    Oh heck…even if it is a real word, it sounds incredibly ignorant when used for some reason.

    Comment by oztouz — March 18, 2007 @ 2:52 pm | Reply

  5. Actually further to my last post. Even though the word can be found through dictionary.com citing Webster’s New Millennium™ Dictionary of English, a search of Mirriam-Websters online says no such word exists. So even they can’t get it together on the word. Until they do, I’m taking a pass on it as well 🙂

    Comment by oztouz — March 18, 2007 @ 3:15 pm | Reply

  6. Susan’s used this word before on her CIP blog, so it must be valid:

    “I (cough) love your blog (whatever the hell it means! I’m kinda scared to talk around ya though! And, hey, if you and your husband talk at night about how to say the pronounciation of certain words, then all I can say is, the Land of Divorcia, population one, ain’t so bad after all!!!!)”

    Comment by YouIt? — March 19, 2007 @ 2:22 pm | Reply

  7. If you’re referring to the quote above then sure…..”pronunciation” is a correct form for the verb “pronounce”. “Pronunciate” is not. At least according to all the English dictionaries I have seen with the exception of the one cited above.

    Comment by oztouz — March 19, 2007 @ 3:12 pm | Reply

  8. addendum to earlier post: maybe all those years my mom actually said “enunciate”, not “pronunciate”. more like, “bon, i can’t understand you. you never enunciate.”

    but i swear she also said pronunciate. occasionally. at least now i know the difference.

    Comment by aud — March 19, 2007 @ 10:37 pm | Reply

  9. dear mrp,
    i’m so grateful you explained all this; Diana certainly confusiated me. She uses words I cannot comprehensiate. mrp rocks my socks!

    Comment by Titi — March 20, 2007 @ 4:12 pm | Reply

  10. Now I know I am not crazy. I heard Diana Ross use pronunciate AI. I went straight to m-w.com and couldn’t find it. I didn’t understand why that was not edited out. She sounded incredibly ignorant!

    Comment by jennifer cayne — March 20, 2007 @ 4:50 pm | Reply

  11. I love AI. Let me enunciate that. I love AI. Sadly, the best reason for watching this season was eliminated last night. 🙂

    Comment by pelt — April 12, 2007 @ 2:26 pm | Reply

  12. My boyfriend and i were at a bar, don’t remember how the subject even came up. But we were talking about word pronunciation, and he said im good at pronunciating. I asked if he meant pronouncing and laughed at him a bit. He then said that it’s a real word. In my opinion, even if it has been declared a word “now” it still sounds weird.

    Comment by Reniece — June 28, 2010 @ 5:07 pm | Reply

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