D&D Pronunciation Guide

Whenever the word Tiefling comes up in our home game, my son says “tie-FLING“, and I’ve always said “TEAF-ling.” For me it is a little odd when I hear it pronounced tie-FLING, because I don’t think of it that way when I read Tiefling. But it is just a made-up word for a game of imagination, so it doesn’t really matter. But maybe there is an authority on “correct” pronunciations for these game terms that we could use.

So I thought about it, and looked around the internetz, and found a guide that Frank Mentzer had put together for Dragon Issue #93 back in 1985.  There were a lot of words listed that were being mispronounced, so I took that list and delete ones I didn’t need.  I added some other commonly mispronounced fantasy setting words that we are using with a Wuxia campaign. Then did a little research on the words, added some links, and included IPA pronunciation symbols where possible. The words with hyperlinks are linked to dictionary.com, and will have an audio sample of one of the pronunciations (usually the first one).  And here is the list:


  1. Aarakocra: ar-ah-KOH-krah (/ɑr əˈkoʊ krə/)
  2. Arcanaahr-KAY-nah ( /ɑr ˈkeɪ nə/ ) or a British pronunciation ahr-CANE-ah (/ɑːˈˈkɑnə/)
  3. Arquebus: AHR-kwuh-buh s (/ˈɑr kwə bəs/)
  4. Bahamut: ba-HAH-mut (/bəˈhä mut/)
  5. Balor: BAY-lor (/ˈbeɪ lɔr/)
  6. Bardiche: bar-DEESH (/bɑrˈdiːʃ/)
  7. Behemoth:  bih-HEE-muhth, BEE-uh-muh th (/bɪˈhi məθ/ or /ˈbi ə məθ/ )
  8. Blackguard: I thought it was pronounced Black-guard.  But it’s Blaggard, and is a rather old-fashioned term for a scoundrel. BLAG-ahrd, BLAG-erd (/ˈblæɡɑːd/ or /ˈblæɡəd/)
  9. Brazier: [BREY-zher] (/ˈbreɪ ʒər/)
  10. Bulette: buu-LET, bew-LET, boo-LAY, or bew-LAY (/bʉˈlɛt/, /bjuːˈlɛt/, /buːˈleɪ/, or /bjuːˈleɪ/)
  11. Catoblepas: kat-OH-bleh-pas, also kuh-TA-ble-pas (/kəˈtoʊ blɨ pəs/ or /kæˈtɒ blɨ pəs/)
  12. Chimera: ki-MEER-uh, kahy-MEER-uh (/kɨˈmɪərə/ or /kaɪˈmɪərə/)
  13. Chitin: KAHY-tin (/ˈkaɪ tɨn/)
  14. Coup de Gracekooduh GRAHS (/kudə ˈgrɑs/)
  15. Cuirass: kwi-rass (/kwɪˈræs/)
  16. Drow: DROW (as in drowsy; rhymes with now and how) or DROH, (/ˈdraʊ/or /ˈdroʊ/)
  17. Dweomer: DWEH-mer (rhymes with “hem her”), or DWIH-mer; sometimes DWEE-mer,(/dwɛ.mə/, /dwɪ.mə/, or /dwi.mə/)
  18. D&D: DEE uhn DEE, or DEE ahn DEE  (/’di ən di/, or /’di æn di/) 
  19. Falchion: FAWL-chuh n, FAWL-shuh n (/ˈfɔl tʃən/ or /ˈfɔl ʃən/)
  20. Gaol: jeyl (/dʒeɪl/)
  21. Geas: GESH (/ˈɡɛʃ/)
  22. Gelatinous Cube: juh-LAT-n-uh s (/dʒəˈlæt n əs/)
  23. Gygax: GY-gaks (/ˈɡaɪ ɡæks/)
  24. Halberd: HAL-berd, HAWL-berd, HOL-berd; formerly HAW-berd (/ˈhæl bərd/ or /ˈhɔl bərd/ or /ˈhɒl bərd/; formerly ˈhɔ bərd/)
  25. Ioun: eye-OON (/aɪˈuːn/)
  26. Iuz: YOOZ or EE-uz
  27. Djinni: JI-nee, JIN-ee (/dʒɪˈni, ˈdʒɪn i/)
  28. Ixitxachitl: iks-it-ZATCH-i-til
  29. Katana: ka-TAH-na (/kəˈtɑː nə/)
  30. Ki: Chee or Key (/ki/ )
  31. Kobold: KOH-bold, KOH-bohld (/ˈkoʊ bɒld/ or /ˈkoʊ boʊld/)
  32. Lich: LITCH (as in ditch), *not* LIKE or LICK (/lɪtʃ/)
  33. Lolth: LOALTH
  34. Lycanthrope: LAHY-kuh n-throhp or lahy-KAN-throhp (/ˈlaɪ kənˌθroʊp/ or /laɪˈkæn θroʊp/)
  35. Lycanthropy: lahy-KAN-thruh-pee (/laɪˈkæn θrə pi/)
  36. Mage: MAGE (as in age), *not* MADGE (as in badger) (/meɪdʒ/)
  37. Melee: MAY-lay, may-LAY, or MEL-ay (/ˈmeɪ leɪ/ or /meɪˈleɪ/ or /ˈmɛl eɪ/)
  38. Naga: NAH-gah (/ˈnɑ gɑ/)
  39. Nunchaku: nuhn-CHAH-koo (/nʌnˈtʃɑ ku/)
  40. Otyugh: AHT-yuhg (/ˈɒtjəɡ/ or /ˈɒtjuː/)
  41. Paladin: has the emphasis on the first syllable: PAL-uh-din  (/ˈpæl ə dɪn/ )
  42. Pennaggalan: pen-NAG-oh-lawn
  43. Portcullis: pawrt-KUHL-is, or pohrt-KUHL-is, (/pɔrtˈkʌl ɪs, or poʊrtˈkʌl ɪs/)
  44. Sahuagin: sah-HWAH-gin
  45. Sai: sigh not say (/saɪ/)
  46. Scion: SAHY-uh n (/ˈsaɪ ən/)
  47. Scythe: sahyth (/saɪð/)
  48. Sigil: SIJ-il (/ˈsɪdʒ ɪl/)
  49. Svirfneblin: svirf-NEB-lin  (/svɜrf ˈnɛb lɪn/)
  50. Tarrasque: tah-RASK  (/tɒˈræsk/)
  51. Tiamat: TYAH-maht (/ˈtyɑ mɑt/), play the D&D Cartoon for reference. 😉
  52. Tiefling: TEAF-lingwhat did you expect? I made the list 🙂
  53. Vargouille: var-GWEEEL
  54. Wu jen: WOO jen
  55. Wuxia: WOO-she-AH  (/ˈwuːˌʃiːˈɑː/)
  56. Wyvern: WAHY-vern (/ˈwaɪ vərn/)
  57. Yakuza:  YAH-koo-zah (/ˈjɑ kʊˌzɑ/)

So that is a short list of ## commonly mispronounced words that I will be using for my campaign. When I was trying to interpret the IPA pronunciations, I found that it was not easy. I wish I had a text-to-speech application to use with those.

If you have any words that you’ve seen mispronounced, want to add to the list, see a mistake, or have any questions, just leave a comment or send me a message. Also, I have to admit that I do say mee-lee a lot, instead of MAY-lay for melee, and I get corrected on several occasions by my son. Old bad habits are hard to stop.

It’s all good, right? I hope you enjoy and find the list useful. 🙂

-Have Fun!
Michael
@mrlong78

References

And a very large list can be found on E.N. World:
[http://www.enworld.org/forum/content.php?151-D-D-Pronunciation-Guide]

Shares

More Tribality Articles You Might Enjoy