This is not a techie query. I am just unclear on how to pronounce the word "Azure" which is the brand name for Microsoft's cloud computing service.

  • Incredible that someone had similiar thoughts like I had about the word and the product name of which it is a part of. :-) In my duplicate thread I provided two examples which you will hear often if you talk with non-native English speakers abot MS Azure: english.stackexchange.com/questions/426285/… – Bruder Lustig Jan 14 '18 at 18:23
  • Pronounce it as your heart desires. – Hot Licks Dec 26 '18 at 23:33

Azure is also an ordinary English word, pronounced the same way (or rather, ways) as the Microsoft program software offering.

The two main pronunciations differ in how they say the 'z': in US English, it almost always becomes a zh /ʒ/, like the s in measure, while in the UK, it can be either a zh /ʒ/, same as in the US, or a straight z /z/. There's also disagreement about which syllable gets the stress: in the US, it goes on the first syllable: AZH-uhr /ˈæʒər/, while in the UK, it's more likely to go on the second syllable: az-YOOR /azˈj(ʊ)ə/.

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    The OED is full of surprises. 2nd ed gives stress on the first syllable, which I have never heard. I'm also surprised they list the bizarre American pronunciation first, which would sound absurd unless said with some sort of a Texan drawl. It's not that uncommon a word; I would have thought that Rule Britannia would have kept the sound of the word familiar in the public consciousness. The second most common use to poetry (from where I have seen it used) I would guess is probably in heraldry. Those are both fairly highbrow pursuits where speakers will give it a strong dipthong. – Nicholas Wilson May 23 '11 at 18:47
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    @Nicholas Wilson: I'm not sure I understand your use of the word "diphthong". How do you "give" a word a "strong diphthong"? (And the American pronunciation is not bizarre: just say "measure", but lose the "meh" and add an a as in "as". No drawling needed.) – Marthaª May 23 '11 at 19:06
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    Well, imagine how Lawrence Olivier might have leeoot instead of loot for lute. There is a broad spectrum of how much the vowel is graded in tone over the whole sound. As I keep trying the sound, I'm getting more used to the idea of pronouncing it like other way, but I'm still unconvinced anyone I know would actually follow it. – Nicholas Wilson May 23 '11 at 19:39
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    As an English native since birth (I'm 44 years old, as I write this), I have never heard the word pronounced with stress on the second syllable except by (some, not all) Microsoft employees and others discussing the Microsoft cloud service that the question asker references. – Rob Gilliam Feb 4 '15 at 10:06
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    I was indeed born and raised in England. I've checked my deadtree edition of the OED (2nd edition) and as far as I can tell it lists 5 common pronunciations, all of which stress the first syllable, not the second. – Rob Gilliam Apr 18 '16 at 14:26

How about, how does Microsoft pronounce it?

Introducing Microsoft Azure Stack (YouTube)

I'm not an expert in IPA, so I'll go with what Marthaª said: "AZH-uhr" is the pronunciation used as of May 23, 2016 by Mark Russinovich, Microsoft Azure CTO.

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    Good find. Although (working in IT) I have never seen any indication that Microsoft intended any special pronunciation, it's just the plain English word azure, which means the CTO is likely just using the standard American pronunciation because he's American; I've heard senior Microsoft employees here in Australia use the British pronunciation. – nnnnnn Jul 11 at 15:52
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    I used to work at Microsoft on a team that worked closely with the Cloud Tools team. Everyone that I worked with pronounced it this way. Occasionally, I would hear "az-YOOR" in a presentation given by someone on team that was just beginning to look at Azure integration. – Dave Kidder Sep 29 at 17:02

In American English, azure is pronounced /ˈæʒər/; in British English, two of the possible pronunciations are /ˈaʒə/, and /ˈaʒj(ʊ)ə/.

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    This is not what the Cambridge Dictionary Online says for the British pronunciation. – Peter Shor May 23 '11 at 15:06
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    I reported what I read on the OED the Mac OS X comes with. Actually, it reports /ˈaʒə/, /-ʒj(ʊ)ə/, /ˈeɪ-/; I hope I correctly interpreted which part is replaced from the hyphen. – kiamlaluno May 23 '11 at 15:12
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    @Peter Shor Yeah, that is something that puzzles me too. – kiamlaluno May 23 '11 at 16:07
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    @kiamlaluno: You clearly interpreted it correctly. I'm surprised that the two British dictionaries differ so much. – Peter Shor May 23 '11 at 16:09
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    In BE programmers tend to pronounces it the AE way. The msft presentations all pronounce it in AE and it isn't a common enough everyday word for the local pronunciation to stick. Quite a few programmers who don't spend time on tropical beaches are unaware that it is a word. – mgb May 23 '11 at 16:42

After hearing pronunciations of azure that differ from mine, I thought perhaps I learned it incorrectly. So I referred to my dictionary, the one with screws that hold the five inches of pages together. Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary of the English Language Unabridged published 1952 gives these variations in pronunciation: äẓ'ūre āẓ'ūre aẓ'ūre āẓ'ure

So, clearly I am comfortable with second syllable emphasis, though there are subtle differences with respect to the [a] and [u]. I agree with @Nicholas Wilson that a pronunciation like "AZH-uhr" would have a rather Texan drawl. I hope this helps.

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  • Welcome to EL&U! Haven't seen a book being referenced here before! – A Lambent Eye Dec 20 '18 at 20:44
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    @Danimal Reks: Did you read the definition of stress marks and their placement in the preface of your Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary? Because back in the day, the stress marks came after and pointed to the stressed syllable (acute accent marks) and were not typed as a keyboard apostrophe, the IPA character in use now, shown in your example. – Grammar Gramma Dec 26 '18 at 23:16

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