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This is not a techie query. I am just unclear on how to pronounce the word "Azure" which is brand name for Microsoft's cloud service offerings.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 14 down vote accepted

Azure is also an ordinary English word, pronounced the same way (or rather, ways) as the Microsoft program software offering.

The two main pronunciations differ in how they say the 'z': in US English, it almost always becomes a /zh/ (like the s in measure), while in the UK, it can either be a /zh/ same as in the US, or it can be a straight /z/. There's also disagreement about which syllable gets the stress: in the US, it goes on the first syllable: /AZH-uhr/, while in the UK, it's more likely to go on the second syllable: /az-YOOr/.

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The OED is full of surprises. 2nd ed gives stress on the first syllable, which I have never heard. I'm also surprised they list the bizarre American pronunciation first, which would sound absurd unless said with some sort of a Texan drawl. It's not that uncommon a word; I would have thought that Rule Britannia would have kept the sound of the word familiar in the public consciousness. The second most common use to poetry (from where I have seen it used) I would guess is probably in heraldry. Those are both fairly highbrow pursuits where speakers will give it a strong dipthong. –  Nicholas Wilson May 23 '11 at 18:47
    
@Nicholas Wilson: I'm not sure I understand your use of the word "diphthong". How do you "give" a word a "strong diphthong"? (And the American pronunciation is not bizarre: just say "measure", but lose the "meh" and add an a as in "as". No drawling needed.) –  Marthaª May 23 '11 at 19:06
    
Well, imagine how Lawrence Olivier might have leeoot instead of loot for lute. There is a broad spectrum of how much the vowel is graded in tone over the whole sound. As I keep trying the sound, I'm getting more used to the idea of pronouncing it like other way, but I'm still unconvinced anyone I know would actually follow it. –  Nicholas Wilson May 23 '11 at 19:39
    
I have heard both /ˈæʒɚ/ and /əˈʒuːɹ/. The second of those sounds foreign/unassimilated to me. –  tchrist Oct 8 '12 at 2:39

In American English, azure is pronounced /ˈæʒər/; in British English, two of the possible pronunciations are /ˈaʒə/, and /ˈaʒj(ʊ)ə/.

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This is not what the Cambridge Dictionary Online says for the British pronunciation. –  Peter Shor May 23 '11 at 15:06
    
I reported what I read on the OED the Mac OS X comes with. Actually, it reports /ˈaʒə/, /-ʒj(ʊ)ə/, /ˈeɪ-/; I hope I correctly interpreted which part is replaced from the hyphen. –  kiamlaluno May 23 '11 at 15:12
    
@Peter Shor Yeah, that is something that puzzles me too. –  kiamlaluno May 23 '11 at 16:07
    
@kiamlaluno: You clearly interpreted it correctly. I'm surprised that the two British dictionaries differ so much. –  Peter Shor May 23 '11 at 16:09
    
In BE programmers tend to pronounces it the AE way. The msft presentations all pronounce it in AE and it isn't a common enough everyday word for the local pronunciation to stick. Quite a few programmers who don't spend time on tropical beaches are unaware that it is a word. –  mgb May 23 '11 at 16:42

Check here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lMQKdfhmKI&feature=player_profilepage#t=15s

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5  
Link rot happens. Link rot is especially common with YouTube links. Please post a summary or description of what the link says. –  Marthaª May 23 '11 at 15:00
    
I hear something like five different pronunciations in this video. But the most common is definitely /ˈæʒər/ (like Asher, but with a voiced /zh/ for the consonant), which is also what my American Heritage dictionary says is correct. –  Peter Shor May 23 '11 at 15:00

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