Social Question

ibstubro's avatar

How do you say Muslim?

Asked by ibstubro (18765points) December 16th, 2015

I’ve always thought it was “MUZ-lim”.

NPR seems to favor “MOOZ-lim”.

If you think your age or geography factor in, please give details.
I don’t know, so I’ll cop to being middle-aged white guy in the Midwestern USA.

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27 Answers

filmfann's avatar


In my work, we often had to work with muslin material. I say it nearly the same way.

jerv's avatar

I go with either “MUS-ulm” or “MZ-lm”. I have my mother’s Boston accent and cadence. The latter is why my pronunciations seem off. Try talking twice as fast as most Midwesterners or 3–4 times the speed of a Southern drawl and it’ll make sense. Worcester is “WUH-stuh” or “W-sta” if that tells you about Bostonian cadence.

On the rare occasions I slow down and enunciate, I say “MUZ-lim”.

thorninmud's avatar

I pronounce the “u” as in “push”, not as in “but”.

marinelife's avatar

According to this, it is pronounced Mus-lim with the Mus rhyming with Puss in Boots, not Moozlim or Muzlim.

jca's avatar

MUZZ- lim.

Banjo_Pickin_Appalachian_Wizar's avatar

Muhs-lumb is the best I can do with my Southern twang. I’ve heard lots of folks use “mooseloom” or somesuch and it sounds really pretentious and awkward.

si3tech's avatar

muhz’ lim

ibstubro's avatar

Well, it seems like we’re largely in agreement here.

NPR seems to regularly and repeatedly say what sounds to me like “Moose-lum”, unless they were just re-broadcasting the same story. The the news on the hour.

marinelife's avatar

@ibstubro I don’t care what most of say, I want to pronounce it correctly. as it is said in Arabic. If you checked out my link, you see that “muzlim” is insulting.

ibstubro's avatar

Sorry, no, @marinelife.
I tried but there’s something blocking most of the video on my computer. It’s an annoying problem that I’m unable to fix. As near as I can tell it’s neither the script blocker or Avast, but is script related.
I couldn’t think how to frame a question about it.

Puss, said slowly, is nearly 2 syllables. P burst from the lips, then ooh`uss.
In English there is a word spelled like puss that begins in the throaty “m” sound…muss.

dxs's avatar


The first syllable rhymes with buzz.

CunningFox's avatar

I usually pronounce muslim like muslum.

Buttonstc's avatar

I pronounce it the same way I’ve heard most Muslims around here (Dearborn, MI., the largest population of Muslims in the USA) say it and I’ve asked the ones i know what they prefer. So hete’s the consensus:

The letter U has the same sound as in book, look, or push so I’m not quite sure how to write it within the word without it looking like the sound in moose because of the double Os.

And the letter S is NOT pronounced like a Z. It’s a firmer S sound.

The Muslims whom I know are not that icky picky with their American friends because they realize that we didn’t generally grow up having to pronounce Middle Eastern words so when they hear it pronounced similar to the cloth (Muslin) they don’t get bent out of shape about it.

But that’s for the ones whom I know. I make no guarantee about how the more militant Jihadi types would react (since they find practically everything that we infidels do to be highly offensive). Fortunately I have never met any of those in person (at least not to my knowledge.)

But the ones I’m friendly with are cool about it. But they do appreciate when Americans make the effort to ask them what the preferred pronounciation is.

So that’s the story in these here parts anyway.

Pachy's avatar

I generally pronounce it muhz’-lim but prefer the sound of muz’-lim.

ibstubro's avatar

If you have oo and a firmer s, is that not “Moose”, as I’m hearing on NPR, @Buttonstc?

dxs's avatar

@Pachy What’s the difference?

Buttonstc's avatar

No, it’s not really like Moose, which is why I chose not to write it that way.

Just think of the difference between the vowel sound in push versus moose. There is a definite difference between them.

So the vowel sound in Muslim is like push as opposed to moose.

Try saying just the vowel sound (apart from the surrounding letters) in each word and you can hear the difference.

The only part of the comparison to moose which is applicable is the harder S sound but not the vowel sound. Does that make sense to you ?

si3tech's avatar

I worked with a physician last name Hoopes. His pronunciation of the double “oo” was like the double o in look,book took.

Buttonstc's avatar

How interesting ! He must have his hands full with a lifelong effort trying to correct people’s pronounciation of his name :)

The natural tendency is to say it the way you’d say basketball hoop.

But I see the parallel to the vowel sound in Muslim and his preferred pronounciation of his last name. Interesting.

dxs's avatar

@ibstubro They’re only the same if you’re that wolf who likes Coooooooookie Crisp.

Pachy's avatar

Oh, @dxs, I see I goofed on my phonetic spelling. I meant the second one to be moose’-lem.

I should have learned by now that writing comments on my iPhone requires better eyesight than I have. ;-)

crustyyyturtle's avatar

I say Mus-lim sometimes Mus-lum

ibstubro's avatar


I got my video back and I watched your link, @marinelife.
Thanks, and probably the best answer to my question. It almost sounds like there is a nearly silent t at the end of the first syllable. I can imitate him nearly perfectly if I draw my tongue up for a t sound, but don’t follow through.

thorninmud's avatar

@ibstubro “probably the best answer to my question”

So you really meant to ask “What is the most accurate way to pronounce ‘Muslim’”, not “How do you say Muslim?”.

ibstubro's avatar

It was a social question, @thorninmud.

I’d say the question quickly evolved from “Is pronunciation of the word Muslim regional?” to “What is the correct way to pronounce the word Muslim?”
Apparently there is, and to me yours was the best answer because it’s the one I learned the most from.

Sorry for the compliment. ~

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