Definition of phonetic in English:

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Pronunciation: /fəˈnɛtɪk/


1Relating to speech sounds: detailed phonetic information
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  • A traditional phonetic transcription represents speech as a succession of segments.
  • The basic phonetic unit of pirate speech is the single long-drawn-out letter: R, I, A, etc.
  • Within this framework, speech input could be analyzed into phonetic features that are connected to a phonemic level of representation.
1.1(Of a system of writing) having a direct correspondence between symbols and sounds: a phonetic alphabet
More example sentences
  • In addition to the adaptation of Chinese characters to pre-existing Japanese vocabulary, two phonetic systems of writing were developed after the ninth century.
  • Champollion went on to show that for most of their writing, the scribes relied on using a relatively conventional phonetic alphabet.
  • Next he contends that Iroquois orality and phonetic writing stand in equal relation; he supports this claim through his metacommentary on translation and literacy and through his allusions to the Bible.
1.2Relating to phonetics: phonetic training
More example sentences
  • It was generally agreed that professional language teachers should receive phonetic training, and that at the school stage the teacher should preferably be of the same language background as the pupils.
  • I just copied the story uncritically from Wucker's account and from Dove's poem, and of course neither of them is trained in phonetic vocabulary or its application to speech.
  • Language CD-ROMs, which combine photographs, sounds, literal definitions and phonetic explanations, can contribute to restoring, sustaining and promoting of Aboriginal languages.



Pronunciation: /fəˈnɛtɪk(ə)li/
Example sentences
  • The/l / at the end of bell is still phonetically a lateral consonant for me, pronounced with the blade of my tongue in contact with the roof of my mouth.
  • They found that baby-talk vowels are not just spoken more clearly, but are phonetically different from their adult equivalents, New Scientist magazine reported.
  • Now, even the phonetically challenged will master the pronunciation of ‘Tuiasosopo.’


Pronunciation: /fəˈnɛtɪsɪz(ə)m/
Example sentences
  • It was a ‘European phoneticism of the sound the Khoikhoi made when dancing in the new moon’.
  • There doesn't seem to be any phoneticism in Aztec


Pronunciation: /fəˈnɛtɪsɪst/
Example sentences
  • The problem now is that, being a phoneticist, my pronunciation of Hungarian is such that I am often mistaken for a native and people don't make the linguistic assumptions they would normally when communicating with a foreigner.
  • Miss Hagen forces her voice into squeaks and growls, and slurs out enough schwas to dumbfound a phoneticist.


Pronunciation: /fəˈnɛtɪsʌɪz/
(also phoneticise) verb
Example sentences
  • Officers from Kojimachi police department in Tokyo have prepared a list of questions in the Irish language and phoneticised the pronunciation in Japanese script.
  • This is a novel steeped in the customs and cadences of the South, and Gay makes a good attempt at phoneticising the Southern drawl.
  • Many Arabic and Persian loan words were removed, while words from European languages were phoneticized.


Early 19th century: from modern Latin phoneticus, from Greek phōnētikos, from phōnein 'speak'.

  • Phonetic is from modern Latin phoneticus, from Greek phōnētikos, from phōnein ‘speak’. Other words from the same source are gramophone (late 19th century), and its reversed form phonograph (mid 19th century) originally a phonetic symbol, which explains the use of the combining form—gram used for ‘something written’; and saxophone (mid 19th century) an instrument for making pleasant sounds invented by the Belgian Adolphe Sax in 1840.

Words that rhyme with phonetic

aesthetic (US esthetic), alphabetic, anaesthetic (US anesthetic), antithetic, apathetic, apologetic, arithmetic, ascetic, athletic, balletic, bathetic, cosmetic, cybernetic, diabetic, dietetic, diuretic, electromagnetic, emetic, energetic, exegetic, frenetic, genetic, Helvetic, hermetic, homiletic, kinetic, magnetic, metic, mimetic, parenthetic, pathetic, peripatetic, photosynthetic, poetic, prophetic, prothetic, psychokinetic, splenetic, sympathetic, syncretic, syndetic, synthetic, telekinetic, theoretic, zetetic

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: phon|et¦ic

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