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jonno's avatar

How is "kilometre" properly pronounced?

Asked by jonno (1062points) March 3rd, 2008

Is pronouncing “kilometre” as “kill-OM-met-uh” instead of “KILL-o-meet-uh” incorrect? Or are they both accepted pronunciations?

“KIL-o-meet-uh” would seem to make more sense as it fits in with how millimetre, centimetre etc. are pronounced, but then “kil-OM-met-uh” sounds better and comes off the tongue easier, and besides, English is never consistent, nor is it perfect :P.

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8 Answers

drewtyer's avatar


silly metric system.

Tennis5tar's avatar

Kill-om-eet-er… could just be my accent.

GeauxTigers's avatar

Kill-om-ett-er or kill-uh-meet-err are both listed as valid pronunciations per M-W.

“In North American speech kilometer is most often pronounced with primary stress on the second syllable. This pronunciation is also heard frequently in British speech. Those who object to second syllable stress say that the first syllable should be stressed in accord with the stress patterns of centimeter, millimeter, etc. However, the pronunciation of kilometer does not parallel that of other metric compounds. From 1828 to 1841 Noah Webster indicated only second syllable stress, and his successor added a first syllable stress variant in the first Merriam-Webster dictionary of 1847. Thus, both pronunciations are venerable. Most scientists use second syllable stress, although first syllable stress seems to occur with a higher rate of frequency among scientists than among nonscientists.”


I personally say Kill-om-ett-er, but I have the mid-western (lack of) accent.

ezraglenn's avatar

who cares, it’s still murder.

JonnyCeltics's avatar

This question is an old one; there are two ways to pronounce it: visit the US or the UK, take your pick, and roll with it. Not let’s talk about the spelling…now there is something Americans (me included) can’t really imply their will on. It is, in fact, of the metric system, and therefore, we shouldn’t really have a large say… :P

dland's avatar

kah-LAWM-it-urr, but that could be because I am from Pittsburgh.

Zen_Again's avatar

Ki – law – mitt – err

Like speedometer

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