“They order the toasted cheese sandwiches blithely, “ (audio)
(by Edward Field, from writersalmanac.publicradio.org)

The reader, Mr. Garrison Keillor, sounds to be pronouncing ‘blithely’ as /blaɪθlɪ/. Is the word pronounced only as / blaɪðlɪ/ in UK? His pronunciation is not found in both OALD and other oxford dictionary online.

  • 1
    Huh, can't speak for the UK, but that's how I've always pronounced it down here in Australia.
    – Damien H
    Oct 30, 2014 at 6:39
  • 2
    The word is always pronounced with a voiced /ð/ sound in British English. Kellor's pronunciation sounds very odd to me.
    – tunny
    Oct 30, 2014 at 7:14
  • 3
    Keillor is American (Minnesota). He is pronouncing -th- as an unvoiced dental but in this word, it is normally voiced in American English. But one does not hear it much (outside academe), so it could be a word he had never heard but had only read.
    – TimR
    Oct 30, 2014 at 11:34
  • 1
    I have never heard the word pronounced the way M-W gives it. The [aI] vowel is always longer, and the dental is always voiced.
    – TimR
    Oct 30, 2014 at 22:21
  • 1
    I'n British and that's not how I pronounce it. I don't do IPA so can't provide how I say it in text but it's much closer to this en.wiktionary.org/wiki/blithely. For me his TH is over pronounced and he seems to stick an A into the LY that isn't there for me.
    – Frank
    Nov 1, 2014 at 10:12

1 Answer 1


I know a few women named Blythe (in the US), and they all go by a pronunciation with the voiceless fricative. I can't say I've heard the word "blithely" spoken all that often, but I would assume the root could have the same pronunciation as the name. I think both pronunciations are possible.

  • The girl's name Blythe is pronounced (here in the US) differently than the adjective|adverb blithe|blithely, in my experience.
    – TimR
    Nov 3, 2014 at 22:17

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