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josie's avatar

For English speakers...Did they change the pronunciation of the name of the planet Uranus? Did they do it to avoid awkwardness during astronomy lectures?

Asked by josie (27929points) May 1st, 2011

When I was a little kid, and I learned the names of the planets, people pronounced Uranus as if they were saying “Y’er Anus” as in your asshole.

Then, when I was approaching puberty, I noticed that Carl Sagan, on the show Cosmos, referred to Uranus as ” Your- A- Nuss” and not your asshole.

The ancient Greeks thought Uranus was the God of the sky.

How did they pronounce it?

Was it always “Your_ A_ Nuss”, or did someone change the name anticipating that pre adolescent classroom disruptors like me would laugh out loud in science class?

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8 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

As I am German, I never had that problem.

josie's avatar

@ragingloli
I am American, and I don’t see it as a problem. I modified the question to make it an English speaker’s question.
My German is marginal, and I do not even know the German word for Uranus.

DominicX's avatar

The Ancient Greeks would’ve spelled it “Ouranos” and pronounced it “oh-rah-NOHS”.

I grew up pronounced it “YER-uh-nuss” rather than “yer-AY-nuss”. It wasn’t until I heard people saying it in school and laughing about the pronunciation that I realized people said it another way.

Reminds me of in Futurama when “Uranus” was changed to “Urectum” in 2620 AD to avoid the “your anus” joke.

josie's avatar

@DominicX Now, that is a great answer!.

YoBob's avatar

Love the line from Professor Farnsworth in “Futurama”.

Professor: Yes, they changed the name to avoid that tired old joke.

Fry: What do they call it now?

Professor: Yourectum!

Dutchess_III's avatar

I don’t see how any pronunciation helps. “Urine Us” is open to as much silly interpretation as Ur Anus.

Hey. Do you know what the USS Enterprise and toilet paper have in common? ....................................................... .....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
They both circle Uranus looking for Klingons. HA HA AHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAH!!

Rarebear's avatar

There are just two official pronunciations. That’s all. I’ve heard it said both ways at astronomy meetings.

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