I've heard meelee, meyley (maylay), and mehlay. Is there any "correct" way to pronounce it in the U.S.?
closed as off-topic by choster, FumbleFingers, Mari-Lou A, tchrist♦, Mr. Shiny and New 安宇 Aug 20 '14 at 13:46
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NOAD gives these pronunciations:
melee |ˈmāˌlā; māˈlā| (also mêlée)
Which are, in order of usage, may-lay, may-lay, and also muh-lay
Melee comes from French, to fight, and is pronounced by French rules, with accents it is mêlée, which in English the e-circonflex would be more like "e" in Greg, and ée would be "ay" as in "gray".
Most commonly English speakers butcher it however they like, so no, there is not one correct way to fail to pronounce the French word. It's a potayto-potahtoh thing.
Most commonly I hear "Meh-lay", from US video-game users who use the term to refer to close-ranged weapons like knives, in first person shooters.
Using IPA, the American pronunciation is /ˈmeɪleɪ/, while the British pronunciation is /ˈmɛleɪ/, as reported by the New Oxford American Dictionary and the Oxford English Dictionary.