How Should You Pronounce “Uranus”?

Go ahead and say Uranus. Feel free to giggle if you like. I know, I know, it sounds like a dirty word. So what is the proper pronunciation of Uranus. Is there a way to talk about it without having school kids giggle.

The standard way to pronounce Uranus among astronomers is to put the emphasis on the first syllable “ur” and then say the second part “unus”. This is the standard literary pronunciation. The more common way people have pronounced it is u-ra-nus, with the “ra” sounded like “ray”.

The truth is that all the different ways of pronouncing Uranus are perfectly fine, even the way that sounds a little dirty.

We have written many articles about Uranus here on Universe Today. Here’s an article about the rings of Uranus seen edge on. And here’s one about a dark spot in its clouds.

If you’d like more info on Uranus, check out Hubblesite’s News Releases about Uranus. And here’s a link to the NASA’s Solar System Exploration Guide to Uranus.

We have recorded an episode of Astronomy Cast just about Uranus (we even talk about how to pronounce it). You can access it here: Episode 62: Uranus.

One Reply to “How Should You Pronounce “Uranus”?”

  1. Fraser: As strictly a know-nothing inter-galactic amateur, I took the name as coming from far before the Greeks, to Mesopotamia. The Sumarians referred to ANU as the sky-god. UR was the great ancient city on the coastal river, and together, UR-ANUs was the home of the sky god. I think it should be pronounced as two separate names, UR (oor) ANUS (anoose). That takes out the giggle and adds some respect.

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