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Okay.. here is the problem:

In a certain story I am writing, I have a place called the "Winged Lion Inn" which serves as a locus for several story-related events.

I have a friend that insists it should be [pronounced] the "Wingèd Lion Inn" instead, using "learnèd" or "three-leggèd" as examples.

English is a highly flexible language, especially when dealing with matters of pronunciation, so I would like to know if my friend's view is correct.

  • 1
    For what it's worth, I've only ever seen "winged" as a two-syllable word in poetry, where meter is important. – Maroon May 14 '15 at 8:24
  • @Maroon So should I concede the point to him as "poetic license"? – Gio May 14 '15 at 8:31
  • Hmmm, I wonder, actually. I've only ever heard "winged angels", for instance, but I wonder if in some situations, a two-syllable pronunciation makes more sense. – Maroon May 14 '15 at 8:35
  • @Maroon It seems "wingèd" remains solely in the hands of poets! =) – Gio May 14 '15 at 8:44
  • When we use "winged" as a verb to mean "barely struck" we use one syllable: "John got shot in the stomach, but the attacker only winged me." – Robusto May 14 '15 at 17:10
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It's not mere poetic licesce.

Words ending in -ed are pronounced /id/ if they serve as adjectives. In case of verbs, the syllable is dropped unless the verb ends in -d or -t

  • I learned the truth.
  • He was a learnED man

  • He crooked a finger for the waitress.

  • His teeth were yellow and crookED

Also note jagged, wicked, rugged etc...

This "rule" (like every rule ever) isn't without a few exceptions; winged seems to be one of them, according to Oxford.

PS - 'Beloved' is a semi-exception, in that both pronunciations are acceptable.

  • 2
    Could this really be the first straightforward answer on this topic to ever exist on the internet? – Adam May 14 '15 at 8:44
  • @Gio: you're welcome. It might interest you to know that the verbs not pronounce /id/ are pronounced either /d/ or /t/ depending on whether the last consonant is voiced or unvoiced. Cook_t_, but begg_d_ – Tushar Raj May 14 '15 at 8:45
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    Nearly all adjectives ending in "ed" are pronounced the same way as the verb. The exceptions are the ones pronounced differently (including learned, naked, wicked, crooked, ragged, rugged, dogged). See this question. – Peter Shor May 14 '15 at 11:00
  • @PeterShor: Thanks. The answer and Mr. Lawler's comments were very informative. – Tushar Raj May 14 '15 at 11:05
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There are no hard rules for the pronunciation of adjectives/participles on -ed. Normally, they are all pronounced -d/t, like striped, except those ending on -ted and -ded. But there are many exceptions pronounced as -id, like naked. The exceptions are almost all adjectives, or participles used as adjectives: true verbal participles are almost always pronounced the standard way, as -d/t.

Then there are words that can be pronounced either way, such as wingid/wingd, according to the Oxford English Dictionary (2nd ed.). Note that, when winged means "shot in the wing", it is always pronounced wingd, according to the same dictionary.

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