Is there a different pronunciation for the word "Jews" and the word "juice"?

EDIT: I am referring specifically to the vowels in these words, apart from the ending consonant. It seems to me that the "w" letter in "Jews" makes the pronunciation more tense, but it may be only my impression

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    As I understand (and it's the way I speak), Jews ~ /dʒuːz/ and juice ~ /dʒuːs/. Mar 23, 2014 at 12:33
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    What @DamkerngT. - is perfectly accurate. "Jews" is ended with a Z sound whereas "juice" ends with an S sound.
    – Stark07
    Mar 23, 2014 at 14:46
  • I really meant more on the "u/w" sound. I did not know about the "s" vs "z". I once mentioned in an ironic way that I ordered an "apple Jews" and the person did not catch the irony until she said "oh Juuuwws" (like the u was longer in Jews). In the dictionary, however, the "u" sound is the same
    – Ralph
    Mar 23, 2014 at 17:03
  • @Ralph People sometimes lengthen vowels/words for emphasis. It's not necessarily because she thought the u sound was longer in Jews (though it doesn't discount it either). Mar 24, 2014 at 10:27
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    Yes, they're different. See also on ELU Are “whores” and “horse” homophones?
    – sumelic
    Apr 6, 2017 at 22:46

2 Answers 2


Both start with a J and the J retains the same pronunciation. English is sometimes reliable. The 'ce' and the 'ws' are slightly different, because they sound more like 'ss' and 'wez' respectively.

With that out the way, the vowels: they are the same. An 'E' followed by a 'W' (and maybe some other letters (and not in all cases)) sounds like 'oo'. The 'ui' in juice is also pronounced as a 'oo'.

That should clear it up.

  • Sorry for the basic question and the misunderstanding (for me the "w" is a vowel). From your question I infer that the pronunciation between the "u" and the "s"/"z" is a bit different since there is a bit of "w". Am I correct?
    – Ralph
    Mar 23, 2014 at 21:07
  • Yes. It's a very subtle 'w' though, so make sure you don't put much emphasis on it. The word is strictly one syllable. :)
    – MMJZ
    Mar 23, 2014 at 21:48

The vowel in Jews is longer than the vowel in juice, because there is a voiced consonant after it. Many dialects of English lengthen vowels before voiced consonants (See Wikipedia.)

I don't believe it's the "w" that makes the difference. For me, the vowel sounds the same in Jews and excuse (verb), and in juice and excuse (noun).

In several dialects, the vowel actually changes quality before a voiced consonant; see Canadian raising.

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    This is correct. Just say the following pairs to yourself – plays/place, grows/gross, bruise/Bruce. The first word in each pair definitely has a slightly longer vowel.
    – neubau
    Mar 24, 2014 at 4:37

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