AskDefine | Define orthoepy

Dictionary Definition



1 the way a word or a language is customarily spoken; "the pronunciation of Chinese is difficult for foreigners"; "that is the correct pronunciation" [syn: pronunciation]
2 a term formerly used for the part of phonology that dealt with the `correct' pronunciation of words and its relation to `correct' orthography

User Contributed Dictionary



From (orthoepeia) “correct pronunciation” < (orthos) “correct” and (epos) “word”.


  • italbrac RP /ˈɔːθəʊɛpi/ or /ɔːˈθəʊɪpi/ or /ˌɔːθəʊˈɛpi/
  • italbrac US /ɔːrˈθoʊəpi/ or /ˈɔːrθoʊɛpi/


  1. The correct pronunciation of words.
  2. The study of correct pronunciation.

Extensive Definition

Orthoepy means the correct use of words, from the Greek orth- + -epos, correct + word, speech.
The English meaning of orthoepy is correct pronunciation, or the study of pronunciation. This is the only sense in English acknowledged by the OED and Webster's Dictionary. In this sense, its opposite is barbarism.
However, in ancient Greek, orthoepeia generally had the sense of "correct diction" (cf. LSJ ad loc., or the etymology in the OED); the archaic English term for this subject is orthology, and in this sense its opposite is solecism. The study of orthoepeia by the Greek sophists of the fifth century BC, especially Prodicus (c. 396 BC) and Protagoras, also included proto-logical concepts. Protagoras criticized Homer for making the word for "wrath" feminine (Aristotle, Sophistic Refutations 14) and for praying to the Muse with an imperative (ibid. Poetics 19). Plato depicts Protagoras criticizing the poet Simonides for contradicting himself, and then shows Socrates and Prodicus arguing to the contrary that Protagoras has conflated the senses of the words "be" and "become" (Protagoras 339a-340c). Euripides and Aeschylus bicker over orthotes epeon in Aristophanes' comedy The Frogs.
orthoepy in Bosnian: Ortoepija
orthoepy in Chuvash: Орфоэпи
orthoepy in German: Orthoepie
orthoepy in Italian: Ortoepia
orthoepy in Macedonian: Правоговор
orthoepy in Portuguese: Ortoépia
orthoepy in Russian: Орфоэпия
orthoepy in Slovak: Ortoepia
orthoepy in Ukrainian: Орфоепія
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