November 6, 2012


How do you pronounce primer? I ask this because a promotional announcement on my local NPR station used the pronunciation pry-mer to refer to a brief tutorial of some sort. This pronunciation is apparently common in England, but the standard American pronunciation for a reader for young children or a short tutorial of some sort is prim-er. On the other hand, a primer (pronounced pry-mer) can be a paint applied before applying the top coat or a device intended to ignite an explosive charge.


  1. Around here it's pronounced with a long "I" like the paint primer or the word "primary". People hearing the short "i" would think you were saying someone or something was "more prim" than someone else.

  2. The logic behind English spelling and pronunciation can be hard to fathom. The word meaning “more prim,” of course, is spelled primmer.


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