I came across the sentence "Fortunately their are a variety of different offerings out there with zounds of features." Disregarding the misuse of "zounds," how would Elizabeth I have pronounced the word? To rhyme with "God's wounds?" Or otherwise?
It makes most sense to me that zounds should rhyme with wounds. When you take two words and combine them and then contract them, they retain their pronunciation.
couldn't isn't pronounced cowdn't
doesn't isn't pronounced dow-znt
bosun isn't pronounced bossun
English is weird, eh?
EDIT: See Snumpy's answer. It started off as rhyming with wounds and changed during the Great Vowel Shift to rhyme with sounds
If it's anything like the exclamation, it would rhyme with sounds.
EDIT: It apparently has been affected by the Great Vowel Shift. Maybe someone else can provide a link to exactly how the 16th-17th century version of ou would have been pronounced.
The fact is that back when the contaction of "God's wounds" came into being and common use, the Great Vowel Shift had yet to happen in English. "Wounds" back then rhymed with "bounds" and "sounds" as pronounced today. Therefore, "zounds" also rhymed with "sounds" and "bounds" and still should today. The change in pronunciation for a "wound" in human or animal flesh occurred for that rather commonplace word, but the pronunciation of "zounds" did not change. There are a number of people who say it should be pronounced "zoonds" because "wounds" used to be pronounced "woonds," but I think they're being pedantic. On the rare occasion that I might say "zounds" for humorous effect -- since it is a rather outmoded expletive that now sounds quaint -- I'm going to continue to say it so it rhymes with "sounds" and "bounds."
I'd think it should rhyme with "wounds" since it's a contraction of "God's wounds" referring to Jesus's wounds on the cross.
Back in the time when it was used, people would swear on God's body parts rather than his name, thus avoiding breaking the Third Commandment, "Do not take the Lord's name in vain." Essentially, it's an archaic "Holy crap!"
So it would make much more sense for it to rhyme with "wounds," since that's the word it's derived from. However, pronunciation of certain words was wonky back then, and besides, gpr already established that both pronunciations can be correct, so the argument is irrelevent.
Why, then, did I comment? Because I like to impress people with my ability to properly follow links and use Google. And because people kept saying it should rhyme with "sounds" and I wanted to argue with them, because that's what I do.
People mention the great vowel shift - yay! Some may have noticed there's another vowel shift happening at the moment on the streets of London. Anyway, zounds is indeed an abbreviation of "God's wounds" and rhymes with it. What gets overlooked is that 'wounds' rhymed with 'sounds' before the great vowel shift, much the way 'wind' rhymed with 'kind'.