I was amazed when someone told me there is a word in English that has a bad meaning which is "whore". Because English is not my language, I called my baby girl "Hoor". In Arabic this means the beautiful lady. Link

Now I don't think that Hoor has the same pronunciation as whore. However, I want to ask when you hear Hoor, what does it trigger in your mind, does it remind you of the word whore?

And I need one native speaker to kindly say which pronunciation of the following should I use:

hoor, hour, hor, huor, huur,

So I can pick the one which is near to how we pronounce it in Arabic, or should I change her name?

  • 2
    I believe the Arabic 'Hoor' sounds like the Dutch 'hoer', which means 'whore'. Compare the pronunciation (linked) for yourself.
    – Řídící
    Commented Oct 9, 2016 at 6:31
  • 2
    You can't really ask a native English speaker to pronounce non-English words. The word whore rhymes with more.
    – Mick
    Commented Oct 9, 2016 at 6:37
  • @Mick In New Jersey it rhymes with poor.
    – deadrat
    Commented Oct 9, 2016 at 7:57
  • 5
    We have adopted the Arabic word in English as houri, meaning a beautiful young woman. Perhaps that would be an acceptable compromise. Go here for a definition and pronunciation: google.com/…
    – deadrat
    Commented Oct 9, 2016 at 8:01
  • 1
    There are lots of dialects of English where Hoor has the same pronunciation as whore. (These are the dialects where tour and tore are pronounced the same.) Parts of England, parts of the American South, East, Midwest. Commented Oct 9, 2016 at 12:16

2 Answers 2


You have my sympathy, cross-cultural naming can be very difficult. There are, unfortunately, so many idiots.

Following your link to your little girl's name I found that it has some useful alternative spellings. There are two (Huwr and Huwre) which look, to me, much less likely to cause problems than Hoor.

Also you could, maybe, change the pronunciation a little bit, perhaps to something more like 'HewRe' with some emphasis on the second syllable, which would work well with the Huwre spelling.

I hope you find this useful and I wish you, your Beautiful Lady daughter and all your family all the best for the future.


"Hoor" isn't an English word. So if I read the name and had to speak it, I would have to guess. My guess for the correct pronunciation would be based on the pronunciation of words like door, floor, boor, and would unfortunately match exactly how I would pronunciate "whore". If I knew that it was the name of a little girl I would (hopefully) realise it and change the pronunciation, but I might not. (My dictionary also says that "hoor" is a rarer Irish or Scottish spelling of "whore", but few people outside Ireland or Scotland would know that, and I didn't before I just looked it up).

You can obviously pronunciate the name any way you like, but that won't change the way others pronunciate it.

If your daughter moves to an English speaking country, or ever gets into a position where she has plenty of contact with English speakers, I think this name will cause your daughter problems. The word "houri" also has recently acquired some quite bad political connotations.

If that is possible, I would see if there is a different arabic word with similar meaning that is also used as a name.

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