From what I understand, the British pronunciation would be [anti] pretty much everywhere. But in American English I usually hear [antai], although it is mixed up with [anti] from time to time.

antivirus [anti] and [antai]

Is there any good rule/reason to use one versus the other?

  • I'm not sure there is a rule. I've heard native-born Americans from various regions and of various socioeconomic backgrounds pronouncing antibodies, anti-hero, anti-immigration, antimatter, and antiabortion both ways. I'm not even consistent myself; I say antichrist with the "short" i, but anti-Christian with the "long."
    – choster
    Oct 11, 2013 at 20:30
  • @choster I'm American, and I pronounce "antibodies" with an "ih" sound, but all those others with "ai". Perhaps because "antibodies" seems like one whole word to me, whereas the rest seem to clearly be other worse with "anti" as a prefix? I'm not sure. But (at least where I'm from) no one says "ee" (that I can think of).
    – WendiKidd
    Oct 11, 2013 at 21:17
  • Thank you all, now I have a bit more ideas why it is like this:)
    – dmi3y
    Oct 12, 2013 at 3:58
  • 1
    Semi is also treated this way. Semi-final.
    – Baz
    Oct 12, 2013 at 7:38
  • dmi3y, you're right. British pronunciation of anti is with the i sound in the words bin, dip and hit. The other pronunciation with the i sound in the words bicycle, dive and hike is American, not British.
    – Tristan
    Oct 12, 2013 at 13:49

1 Answer 1


The prefix "anti" is acceptably pronounced both ways, however it is usually pronounced [antai] (or to a lesser extent [anti]) when stressed or emphasized, and [antɪ] as in 'lid' when said otherwise.


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