I “googled” the word anonymize to verify its spelling because it is not in the Chrome’s dictionary. Before I closed the tab, on a whim, I clicked the little speaker icon to hear Google’s pronunciation of the word and was taken aback. Google seems to think that the word is pronounced /əˈnänəˌmīz/.

That seemed wrong because while I don’t recall hearing anyone say the word anonymize, I certainly never said it like that. More over, nobody pronounces anonymous in that manner, so I can’t imagine why the variant should be any different.

From what I can tell, it looks like everybody else agrees with me on the pronunciation, which leaves me wondering where/how the heck Google got that awkward pronunciation. The obvious guess was that, as usual, it scraped it from Wiktionary or Wikipedia, but I did not see any such indication there.

The dictionary section does not give any indications of where they draw their references, so I am left wondering if that really is an actual pronunciation of the word or if Google just messed up.

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    What's the umlaut on /nä/ for? That's no English phoneme. That means they're using their own house style, like Merriam-Webster. and that means that what they call /i/ could be a "long I" and therefore "miz" could mean /mayz/. The causative suffix is always pronounced /-ayz/, afaik. Aug 21, 2015 at 17:57
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    @JohnLawler, it looks like that might be the case. One person got no answer as to Google’s source, while another page indicates that they make/made up their own.
    – Synetech
    Aug 21, 2015 at 18:23
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    Executive Summary: Do not trust transcriptions on Google. For pronunciations, find a native speaker. Aug 21, 2015 at 18:42
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    @John: the transcription is perfectly fine (assuming you understand Merriam-Webster's notation). The pronunciation is atrocious—/ˈænoʊnɪˌmaɪz/, I think—and disagrees with the transcription. But I suspect it's a native speaker who just doesn't know how to pronounce the word. Aug 21, 2015 at 19:08
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    @John: if you actually have M-W in hard copy or online, you can find their key for phonetic symbols. So it's possible to decode. (And generations of Americans, like me, grew up using them, which is probably why they don't change.) But if you just see Google using their transcription, I don't know how on earth you'd figure out what all those funny marks mean. So maybe M-W has an excuse for using them, but Google has absolutely none. Aug 23, 2015 at 19:41

1 Answer 1


According to Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary by Daniel Jones, the only viable pronunciation for anonymize/anonymise is:

[əˈnɒnɪmɑɪz] OR [əˈnɒnəmɑɪz] (for the Brits); [əˈnɑːnəmɑɪz] (AmE)

This is the "WORLD'S MOST TRUSTED pronouncing dictionary"; the cover of the 18th edition says it, I don't.

According to Dictionary.com, it's /əˈnɒnɪˌmaɪz/, which is the same.

Accordin to OxfordDictionaries.com, it's /əˈnɒnɪmʌɪz/, which is the same.

According to Merriam-Webster.com, it's \ə-ˈnä-nə-ˌmīz\, which is the same.

If Google's transcription of the word is /əˈnänəˌmīz/, Meriam-Webster (has the same thing) pronounces it just fine.

Trust but verify. If you're 100% sure they stress the first syllable in anonymize, they messed it up.

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    Oxford, which is the only one of your citations to provide audio, stresses the second syllable not (as Google) the first, which makes it appear that the problem is different transcriptions. Perhaps you could save your scorn till you are sure what is being asked? Aug 21, 2015 at 23:54
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    ok, i think he said "Google seems to think that the word is pronounced /əˈnänəˌmīz/", which seems perfectly fine and he asked "I am left wondering if that really is an actual pronunciation of the word" are you ok with that?
    – HUIta
    Aug 22, 2015 at 0:00
  • @TimLymington - The Merriam-Webster citation provides audio. (And it pronounces it "correctly".)
    – Hot Licks
    Dec 20, 2015 at 3:10

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