Are there words in English with the letter C in which it's really pronounced as Z?

By googling I found an old book which counts these words as in which letter C sounds like Z: suffice, discern, sacrifice. But checking it in Cambridge dictionary raises that it is not true or not updated and those words pronounce as C rather than Z.

Another old book (The Oxford Spelling Book) says:

"C sounds like Z in squinancy which is pronounced like quinzy"

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  • The final syllable of suffice and sacrifice rhymes with "rice", not with "rise".
    – TimR
    Nov 17, 2017 at 16:11
  • 1
    Yes, and it has this for rice: /raɪs/ Contrast prize: /praɪz/
    – TimR
    Nov 17, 2017 at 19:14
  • 1
    I agree with @Tᴚoɯɐuo - The final c in suffice and sacrifice sound more like s than z.
    – J.R.
    Nov 17, 2017 at 19:45
  • 1
    It might have been true in 1810 but not now.
    – LawrenceC
    Nov 17, 2017 at 19:57
  • 3
    The name of the city of Quincy (in Massachusetts) is pronounced with a z, like "quinzy". Nov 17, 2017 at 22:30

2 Answers 2


The only examples I can find after searching are proper nouns: The city of Quincy (/ˈkwɪnzi/ KWIN-zee) as mentioned in comments, and the highest mountain in Australia Mount Kosciuszko (/ˌkɒziˈʌskoʊ/).

Standard (i.e. RP or GA) pronunciations of sacrifice and discern now use /s/.


This seems to occur in one pronunciation of the rare (or even archaic) word sice, defined by Merriam Webster as

the number six on a die : a throw of six in dice

MW gives the pronunciation as \ˈsīs, ˈsīz\; the Oxford English Dictionary agrees that it can be pronounced with /z/ in American English (although the OED only lists the pronunciation with final /s/ for British English).

I have never heard this word; I just came across it in the dictionary.

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