I've tested it in Microsoft Bing Translator (pronounced it as /ˌkəʊ vid/, the result is unstable (sometimes it shows correctly and sometimes not. - How to use the Translator? - Type abc into the left textbox and the icon of a mic will show up; click the mic and speak). Here's How to Pronounce COVID. But I need phonetic symbles to be spelt out.

Bill Gates tweeted COVID-19 has cost lives, sickened millions, and thrust the global economy into a devastating recession. But hope is on the horizon:

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    Like all pronunciation, it depends on who is speaking. Here in Scotland, I mainly hear /kɒvɪd/ or /kəʊvɪd/ or /kəʊvəd/, but it's likely that other variants exist. Commented Feb 8, 2021 at 8:50
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    This question is probably a better fit on the full English Language stack. Related.
    – J...
    Commented Feb 8, 2021 at 14:08
  • @TobySpeight "but it's likely that other variants exist" I see what you did there
    – DeepSpace
    Commented Feb 8, 2021 at 19:30
  • The first pronunciation on the howtopronounce site sounds really weird. That presumably is because it is being said by a non English speaker. Of course COVID19 does not restrict itself by language barriers so perhaps you are asking an impossible question. Question: Whose pronunciation do you want? American? British? French? etc. etc. Commented Feb 8, 2021 at 22:45
  • Do you know IPA well? Do you want a spelling for a particular country or do you want a broad transcription that's fairly dialect-neutral? The long O phoneme is pronounced /əʊ/ in at least part of England, and /oʊ/ in most of the U.S. and Canada.
    – Jetpack
    Commented Feb 8, 2021 at 23:10

4 Answers 4


There is no rule agreed to yet because it's the combination of acronym and brand new. But most of people on a TV or Radio pronounce it as /koʊvɪd/. It's because of "O" in the word.

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    I mean who makes the rules about pronunciation? You say 'there's no rule agreed to yet..', but then you say 'it's because of the "O"'.... both the statements are contradictory.
    – Void
    Commented Feb 7, 2021 at 14:24
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    It's not because the 'alphabet O makes /oʊ/'. Alphabets don't make sounds, they're just the written counterparts of sounds. /// It's pronounced /əʊ/ (/oʊ/) because the first syllable is open (see my answer). Syllables are a unit of spoken language and have nothing to do with spelling/alphabets.
    – Void
    Commented Feb 7, 2021 at 14:36
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    @Void But how do you decide if a syllable is open or closed? The written syllables seem to not make sounds neither. Commented Feb 8, 2021 at 8:46
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    It's not an acronym, it's a shortening of COronaVIrus Disease.
    – OrangeDog
    Commented Feb 8, 2021 at 12:32
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    @OrangeDog - My definition of acronym would include that. Like telco or comicon. Commented Feb 8, 2021 at 14:32

/ˈkoʊvɪd/ Primary stress on first syllable. "co" as in "cove" not as in "coffee" vid as in "video", not as "vine" (nor "virus".)

This should now be in online dictionaries, even if not in paper ones.


I would transcribe it /'koʊ vɪd/, being a Midwest Am.E speaker, but the exact character of the first vowel is highly dependent on dialect. For example, Southern Am.E would exaggerate the dipthong; Scottish would have no or almost no dipthong; and the initial /o/ may sound more like an /ə/ in some accents.

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    @NewPlanet: I've heard 'Pfizer' pronounced /ˈfaɪ.zə/. 'Moderna' is stressed on the second syllable.
    – Void
    Commented Feb 7, 2021 at 16:21
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    Pfizer rhymes with Tizer no 'p' & no 'ts'. It's American not German. Moderna, as Void said, like cod learner. Commented Feb 7, 2021 at 17:57
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    I don't read phonetics, sorry. Mod as in 'fashionable youth from the 60's with a motor scooter'. Earner like someone who is paid to do a job, or a beginner driver (learner) without the L.. Emphasis on 'earn'. Commented Feb 8, 2021 at 8:18
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    @NewPlanet: /məˈdɜːnə/
    – Void
    Commented Feb 8, 2021 at 8:42
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    @Void I think whether "Pfizer" is pronounced with the "r" sound at the end depends on whether or not you speak a rhotic or non-rhotic dialect of English.
    – nick012000
    Commented Feb 8, 2021 at 13:43

The "vid" bit never seems to be in dispute; it's like the "vid" of "video".

The "co" bit, I hear pronounced like "co" from "cone" about two thirds of the time, and "co" from "coffee" the rest of the time. Though the former seems to be winning, the latter makes more sense, given that it's taken from "corona".

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    This leads me to ask, how are you pronouncing "corona"? I hear the first 'o' in that pronounced like "cup" most often, and "cone" the rest of the time. Never like "coffee" though. Commented Feb 8, 2021 at 14:33
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    I have not heard one person say: kawvid, like coffee.
    – Lambie
    Commented Feb 8, 2021 at 14:39
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    @Lambie depends how you say "coffee". Trying to describe pronunciation without IPA or at least a reference accent is useless.
    – OrangeDog
    Commented Feb 8, 2021 at 14:57
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    @Lambie yes I know. I am criticising both of you.
    – OrangeDog
    Commented Feb 8, 2021 at 15:18
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    @SteveBennett - what are you perceiving as the difference between the vid in video & livid? To me they are identical. I've never heard anyone pronounce it cove-èd or cov-əd, always with a distinct i. The co as in cone I'm with, but I'd bet it's because of association with words like co-operative, co-educational & because to pronounce it covvid like coffee or constant (identical in my accent, N.BrE, no cawfee where I live;), you'd want to see two v's. Commented Feb 9, 2021 at 10:13

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