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Please tell how do we correctly pronounce the word February. Though common pronunciation should be Feb-RU-ary, in some dictionaries it is Feb-U-ary where the first "r" is dropped. Which one is correct?

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Lots of words have silent letters. Do you have some special reason to believe that the dictionaries you have consulted might be mistaken? –  nohat May 4 '12 at 6:09
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There is no 'correct' pronunciation of anything. –  Barrie England May 4 '12 at 6:42
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Lots of people drop the first R. To many people's ears, this makes them sound uneducated. If you are learning English, you would be well advised to pronounce both of the Rs. –  user16269 May 4 '12 at 6:55
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@DavidWallace: interesting take. In the US, at least, the silent "R" pronunciation is extensive, to the point where I don't think it sounds uneducated here. –  J.R. May 4 '12 at 8:35
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@BarrieEngland: there may not be a single 'correct' way to pronounce anything (except maybe ˈɛnɪˌθɪŋ), but there are several 'incorrect' ways. (For example, I wouldn't pronounce February as "MARCH".) –  J.R. May 4 '12 at 8:39
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closed as general reference by Mahnax, J.R., Matt Эллен, tchrist, Robert Cartaino May 5 '12 at 4:21

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

2 Answers

This question could be much improved if you gave specific mention of the dictionaries you've checked.

My Mac's online dictionary clearly shows both pronunciations are acceptable:

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M-W lists both pronunciations of both as well, and you can hear them both, if you visit there, and click on the two speaker icons:

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Click on the speaker icon at Dictionary.com, and you will hear both pronunciations, separated by an "or":

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With so many reputable sources listing both pronunciations as valid, the word could be pronounced either way. If you manage to find a dictionary that only lists one pronunciation (such as Collins), that would indicate some abridgement.

For the record, here's how the OED lists it (both with a silent r, and an enunciated r):

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You already know that there is no "correct" pronunciation. The Longman Pronunciation Dictionary (2008) gives seven variants used in British English and two variants used in American English.

As for the word "February", it's a famous example of the divide between BrE and AmE. The most common pronunciation in BrE is with "ru" and in AmE it's with "ju". According to a poll conducted by Professor Wells, the variant with "ju" is becoming more common with the younger generation in Britain; cf. "Feb-yoo-" is now becoming the accepted standard (Oxford Dictionaries Online).

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