Maybe this problem is a bit too trivial for some people. I could not find any dictionary giving me a pronunciaiton for the word 'pluriharmonic'. Google does not work, either. Will someone be kind enough to give me a pronunciation for this word? It is a word from mathematics. I guess since it is a compound word, 'pluri-harmonic' may be its correct form. So will someone give me some information on the 'pluri' part? How is it pronounced? Thank you very much!

  • I suppose mathematicians chose 'pluriharmonic' to clearly differentiate their usage from 'multiharmonic', which would be used in all other contexts, though I'm not sure why that should have been necessary. But given they effectively "invented" the term, and they don't hyphenate it, I think you can safely assume the "correct" form is unhyphenated. They do write complex-valued pluriharmonic, and para-pluriharmonic, so it's not like mathematicians avoid using hyphens in general. Commented Dec 22, 2011 at 18:09

4 Answers 4


The entire word may not be in online dictionaries, but its parts certainly are. OxfordDictionaries.com has:

pluri- /ˈplʊəri/, combining form: several

harmonic /hɑːˈmɒnɪk/, adjective: relating to a harmonic progression

So: /ˈplʊəri/ /hɑːˈmɒnɪk/, or in simplified form: plu-ri-hahr-mon-ik

As a classical compound, it's not necessarily hyphenated, but looking at other words compounded from pluri- (pluripotent, plurilateral, etc.), it appears that it is not:


  • That /plʊərɪ/ pronunciation makes no sense to me. That should be two syllables, not three. The Brits invent strange notations. See John Lawler’s answer for much more sensible renderings.
    – tchrist
    Commented Dec 26, 2012 at 14:56
  • @tchrist: It's a diphthong. More strictly speaking, it can be transcribed as /ʊə̯/ to show that the schwa is non-syllabic, but that is not necessary; you can compare it to transcriptions like /eɪ/, /aɪ/ and /aʊ/. It's a standard British notation (even though the pronunciation it notates is somewhat archaic); the fact that it is not American does not make it "strange." This site is not restricted to any one form of English.
    – herisson
    Commented Jan 13, 2016 at 6:47

OED doesn't have this, but it does have others to model your pronunciaiton on. For example pluriflorous

Brit. /ˌplʊərɪˈflɒrəs/ , /ˌplɔːrɪˈflɒrəs/ , U.S. /ˌplʊrəˈflɔrəs/


Brit. /ˌplʊərɪˈparᵻti/ , /ˌplɔːrɪˈparᵻti/ , U.S. /ˌplʊrəˈpɛrədi/

  • I have no idea what /plʊərɪ/ would be. That makes no sense to me to have two vowels before the r, and I do not think anyone actually says it that way.
    – tchrist
    Commented Dec 26, 2012 at 14:52

Probably the prefix is /'plərə/, or /'plʊrə/ in careful speech; almost certainly it wouldn't end in /i/ in a compound.

The initial /h/ in harmonic may or may not be pronounced, since it's stressed on the second syllable like historic, and prefixation wouldn't shift its stress.

So, all together then, if it were a frequently pronounced word, it would be /'plərəhar'manək/, with two stresses, one of which might be slightly louder than the other -- but which one would vary.

But it's obviously made up from classical roots, so anybody might well pronounce it any way at all, since it's not a common word to most readers.

  • 2
    ... and I would use the /i/ ... same sound as in, for example, multidimensional and sesquicentennial
    – GEdgar
    Commented Dec 22, 2011 at 16:58
  • ... both of which I'd pronounce with a shwa. Takes all kinds... Commented Dec 22, 2011 at 16:59
  • 1
    @John: You'd pronounce the first "i" in multidimensional as a schwa? I've always thought my own speech was about as degenerate as it gets (my standard set of phonemes is unusually small, and I reduce a lot of vowels to schwas). But even I would make the effort to articulate that first "i", and the "h". Truly, as you say, it takes all kinds. Commented Dec 22, 2011 at 18:01
  • 1
    It's not a question of "degeneracy", it's a question of /fæspichrulz/. Unstressed vowels get centralized more and more the faster people speak. This is a fact about English that may be ignored by native speakers, and normally is, but it's crucial knowledge for non-natives trying to understand speech. Commented Dec 22, 2011 at 18:13

Pronounce 'pluri' so that it rhymes with 'furry'.


  • 6
    I would accent the MON, not the Har and Ic.
    – GEdgar
    Commented Dec 22, 2011 at 16:57
  • The word is har-MON-ic, not HAR-mo-ny.
    – Gnawme
    Commented Dec 22, 2011 at 19:20
  • I have to take some time to understand how to pronounce 'pluri'to rhyme with 'furry'.Thank you very much.
    – xyz5261941
    Commented Dec 23, 2011 at 0:42
  • A natural way to look it would be to stress the syllable immediate following the prefix.
    – Kris
    Commented Dec 23, 2011 at 10:43
  • D'oh! Yes. Edited.
    – Darren
    Commented Jan 3, 2012 at 11:43

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