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A friend said that epitome is pronounced as epi-tuh-mi and not epi-tome (with the tome like home). Who is right? Also, is the pronunciation purely dependent on the region where you learnt English?

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Maybe something's wrong with the JavaScript support on my browser. The same thing was said about another question of mine. But, the truth is that the questions just don't turn up. –  Lelouch Lamperouge Apr 21 '11 at 15:29
    
you might wish to post a bug report on the meta site, then. –  RegDwigнt Apr 21 '11 at 15:31
    
@RegDwight, I shall –  Lelouch Lamperouge Apr 21 '11 at 15:33

2 Answers 2

up vote 14 down vote accepted

Epitome comes from Greek but it was introduced in English via the Medieval French épitomé. It's now very rarely used in French, really found only in scholarly works.

Note the acute accent at the end. This is why you pronounce it with an 'i'. For instance: Beauté => Beauty.

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So, I was wrong. :'( –  Lelouch Lamperouge Apr 21 '11 at 7:00

As reported by the NOAD and the OED, Epitome is pronounced /əˈpɪdəmi/ in American English and /ɪˈpɪtəmi/ (or /ɛˈpɪtəmi/) in British English.

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Both the American Heritage and Merriam-Webster dictionaries say that it's pronounced /ɪˈpɪtəmi/ in American English as well. Of course, it's difficult to tell /ə/ from /ɪ/ in an unstressed syllable. –  Peter Shor Apr 21 '11 at 12:13
    
@Peter Shor Usually, in American English a non accented t that is not at the beginning (nor at the end) of a word is pronounced /d/, as in Italy; Ito, Prince Hirobumi; cartage; Carter, Angela; aorta; etc. –  kiamlaluno Apr 21 '11 at 12:24
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@kiamlaluna: But if this is a feature of your accent (definitely not universal in American English), you distinguish between a "t" and the "d" by the length of the preceding vowel, so catty and caddy are still pronounced differently, even if the "t" and "d" are pronounced the same. With due respects to the NOAD, I think prescribing the /d/ in pronunciation guides is just likely to confuse everybody. –  Peter Shor Apr 21 '11 at 12:40
    
@Peter Shor No, it is not a feature of my accent. The NOAD is not the only American dictionary that reports that pronunciation of Italy. See also Why is "t" sometimes pronounced like "d" in American English?. As for the pronunciation of catty and caddy, the NOAD reports that both the words are pronounced /ˈkædi/. –  kiamlaluno Apr 21 '11 at 12:48
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If anybody's still reading this, I just realized why Americans use a /dʒ/ in the pronunication of congratulations. It was probably originally pronunced /kənˌgrætjuˈleɪʃənz/, much closer to the British pronunciation. I suspect that first, the /t/ turned into a /d/, and then the /dj/ turned into a /dʒ/, giving /kənˌgrædʒuˈleɪʃənz/. (Merriam-Webster says both /tʃ/ and /dʒ/ are valid pronunciations, but does not mention /tj/; I use /dʒ/.) –  Peter Shor May 9 '11 at 16:00

protected by tchrist Jul 3 at 3:29

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