I always pronounce words like "accelerate" and "eccentric" as "asselerate" or "eesentric". I don't know why but the "ks" that I hear in common pronunciation irks me. Is it correct to pronounce the c's as "ss" instead? I have heard once or twice the aforementioned pronunciation of "eccentric", but never of "accelerate".

  • 8
    To pronounce as "ss" would be essentric.
    – Hot Licks
    Feb 2, 2015 at 4:01
  • What pronunciation has your dictionary or OALD online?
    – rogermue
    Feb 2, 2015 at 5:43
  • A c is pronounced as a k before consonants, so why would pronouncing a c before a c "irk" you? English pronunciation can be a mess, but in this case, it is very consistent.
    – oerkelens
    Feb 2, 2015 at 7:44

1 Answer 1


You can of course pronounce these '-cc-' words however you like; but in most (or all) places where English is spoken, the standard pronunciation uses 'ks' (or 'x', if you prefer).

Here are links to Cambridge Dictionaries' entries for accelerate and eccentricity; both the UK and US pronunciation clips use 'ks' for both words.

That being said, I have certainly heard the 'ss' pronunciation being used with accelerate, eccentric and accessory, so your pronunciation preference does not put you completely out on a limb.

  • 1
    I've only heard that pronunciation used by speakers of AAVE and some of the more extreme Southern US dialects—and the same speakers also had thighs like ‘essit’ for exit, ‘he eass’ for he eats, ‘when he poss his closs’ for when he pops his clogs, so they just reduce more or less any cluster with a final sibilant to a geminate sibilant. The only word I know where orthographic -cc- commonly reflects [s] as well as [ks] is flaccid. Feb 2, 2015 at 11:16
  • 2
    @JanusBahsJacquet - I'm still trying to picture those deliciously sibilant thighs...
    – Erik Kowal
    Feb 2, 2015 at 11:21
  • Hah! The wonders of auto-correct sneaking up on you! Feb 2, 2015 at 11:22
  • @JanusBahsJacquet - There's one more word I can think of that follows the pattern of flaccid. This is succinct, where it seems to me that both the 'ss' and 'ks' pronunciations coexist on a more or less equal footing.
    – Erik Kowal
    Feb 2, 2015 at 11:27
  • I don’t think I’ve ever come across an [s] pronunciation in that word, but the dictionary does give [sə(k)sɪŋ(k)t], so it would appear it is common enough there, too. (Conversely, the dictionary gives [flæ(k)sɪd] for flaccid, but there I can’t recall ever hearing anyone use the [ks] pronunciation.) Feb 2, 2015 at 11:38

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