Victuals is famously pronounced "vittles". But how is victualling, as in victualling yard, pronounced?

I presume the "c" remains silent, but various unsourced and presumably autogenerated pronunciation videos suggest both "vittling" and "vittualing".

  • 1
    Haha, cool question. I’ve heard it in older TV shows and movies (where the Hollywood actors were perforce affecting a Appalachian or otherwise rural accent, not necessarily faithfully!) as the former, vitt’lin.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 4:38
  • Of course single l for American spelling ... victualing
    – GEdgar
    Commented Oct 19, 2018 at 12:13

2 Answers 2


/ˈvɪtlɪŋ/, i.e. the normal pronunciation of victual + -ing.

Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary, 18th ed.: Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary*, 18th ed

The Routledge Dictionary of Pronunciation for Current English, 2nd ed.: The Routledge Dictionary of Pronunciation for Current English, 2nd ed.

  • Not /ˈvɪtəlɪŋ/, with three syllables? That's how it's pronounced on forvo.com. Same for whittling and belittling. Also, the OP's first video pronounces it this way. Do you have any actual evidence it's pronounced with two syllables vit-ling /ˈvɪtlɪŋ/,? Your dictionary pronunciations seem ambiguous to me. Commented Oct 19, 2018 at 11:27
  • 1
    @PeterShor As seen in the dictionaries, /l/ here is a syllabic consonant and interchangeable with /əl/. In victual(s/ed) it constitutes a syllable by itself, but in victual(l)ing it may be absorbed by the following syllable (-ing) – a phenomenon John Wells calls "compression".
    – Nardog
    Commented Oct 19, 2018 at 11:34
  • Then you shouldn't use /ˈvɪtlɪŋ/ but /ˈvɪtl̩iŋ/ (with a dot under the l or /ˈvɪt.l.ɪŋ/ with explicit syllable breaks. I don't think whittle and belittle undergo compression very often in English (unlike power and trouble). Certainly not in American English, because then you would have to turn a flapped /t/ back into a real /t/, which I think we almost never do here. Commented Oct 19, 2018 at 11:38
  • @PeterShor But it can be either two or three syllables. Which is why I deliberately chose not to indicate syllabicity or syllabification, which are by no means mandatory. Compression into /tl/ may be less common, but certainly not impossible. See Merriam-Webster's entry for bottling, for example.
    – Nardog
    Commented Oct 19, 2018 at 11:46

The OED says /ˈvɪt(ə)lɪŋ/ showing the extra syllable is optional. Their recorded pronunciation does have the schwa in there.

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