The Pronunciation of “Propitiation”: The Mystery Solved

This is my final post on the pronunciation of “propitiation.” I promise.

The Oxford English Dictionary, “the definitive record of the English language,” has the answer to the mystery behind Carson’s unusual pronunciation of “propitiation” as prō-pĭs-ē-ā-shŭn. As I suspected originally,1 it is an older pronunciation formerly used in England and France. Here’s the relevant portion from the pronunciation section: “Anglo-Norman propiciatiun and Middle French propiciation, propitiation (French propitiation, propiciation).”2

No doubt, then, Carson picked it up in French Canada or during his studies in England at Cambridge University.

See also the previous two posts:

HT: Mark L. Ward Jr., who sent me a PDF of the entry.


  1. In my original post, I said, “Just a guess, but I wonder if it is British or reflects Carson’s knowledge of French. (Carson grew up in French Canada and studied in England.)”
  2. Cf. also this: “Forms: lME propiciacioun, lME-15 propiciacion, 15 propiciacyon, 15 propiciatyon, 15 propitiacion, 15 propycyacyon, 15-17 propiciation, 15- propitiation.”

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2 Responses to The Pronunciation of “Propitiation”: The Mystery Solved

  1. Matt June 7, 2008 at 10:37 am #

    Carson pronounces wrath a little oddly too. It sounds like roth.

  2. Phil Gons June 8, 2008 at 9:30 am #

    Yeah. I’ve noticed that as well. That one is more understandably British sounding to my ear though. Many dictionaries even list it as an alternate or preferred pronunciation.

    wrath \ˈrath, chiefly Brit ˈrȯth\ n