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Can you give me a word that when pronounced, sounds exactly like pronouncing some of the letters of the alphabet.

For example

The word TEEPEE sounds exactly like the letters T and P so TP, just as if you pronounced the two letters.

Or Ziti which sounds like ZT. Two letters pronounced.

Entity : N T T

I am looking for a word that when pronounced, uses at least 4 separate letters. All the word must be pronounced with the condition above. No partials. Special kudos to anyone who comes up with a 5 or 6 letter pronounced word. (I only have a 4 letter solution)

Please only dictionary approved words and pronunciation. No abbreviations or acronyms or proper names.

With many fine answers I will just put my solution here instead of in the answers:

Obesity O B C T

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    $\begingroup$ Note that one of your examples (ZT) is dialect-dependent, the name of the letter Z differing between American and British English. $\endgroup$
    – rjpond
    Dec 3, 2017 at 23:52
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    $\begingroup$ I remember reading a book like this when I was a kid called CDB!: Wikipedia Amazon $\endgroup$
    – AAM111
    Dec 4, 2017 at 4:02
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    $\begingroup$ Fun fact, there's a band who sorta does this with their name. Their name is INXS, but it's pronounced "in excess". $\endgroup$ Dec 4, 2017 at 14:30
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    $\begingroup$ I am disappointed that the 4 letter rule disqualifies the best one of all: queue (Q) $\endgroup$
    – lPlant
    Dec 4, 2017 at 19:35
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    $\begingroup$ @LordFarquaad: Fun fact, the band Zed Zed Top also has this property. $\endgroup$ Dec 4, 2017 at 22:24

10 Answers 10

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Two five-letter ones:

Obediency and expediency (OBDNC, XPDNC)

and three 4s:

excellency, arcadian, anemone (XLNC, RKDN, NMNE)

In general, these are called "grammagrams". There are several lists available online, including this one and this questionable one.

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    $\begingroup$ @DEEM Multiple syllables run together in English speech. Whether it's /ɛn ɛm i/ or /ɛn ɛ mi/, the pronunciation is the same. As for the latter, Wiktionary gives no /y/ sound. $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Dec 3, 2017 at 21:13
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    $\begingroup$ The vowel sounds in anemone are different from the one in N, I'm not sure that fits. $\endgroup$
    – ffao
    Dec 3, 2017 at 22:05
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    $\begingroup$ @DEEM That seems very based around accents. Enemy at least here is definitely can be pronounced N EM E. Same with XPDNC. $\endgroup$
    – Rob
    Dec 4, 2017 at 9:18
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    $\begingroup$ anemone is not pronounced much like NMNE $\endgroup$
    – jwg
    Dec 4, 2017 at 10:34
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    $\begingroup$ @GrumpyCrouton It is conventionally uh-nem-uh-nee not in-em-in-ee (NMNE). $\endgroup$
    – ZX9
    Dec 4, 2017 at 21:28
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This probably works:

Excellency

...pronounced as

X-L-N-C.

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  • $\begingroup$ Isn't it X-E-L-"e"N-C $\endgroup$
    – prog_SAHIL
    Dec 3, 2017 at 15:07
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    $\begingroup$ @prog_SAHIL X-L-N-C ~ eks-el-en-si~ excellency sounds close enough to me. I don't see where you're getting the extra 'e's from. $\endgroup$
    – Ankoganit
    Dec 3, 2017 at 15:09
  • $\begingroup$ Dont think it is pronounced X El En C. El is pronounced more like ul I think $\endgroup$
    – DrD
    Dec 3, 2017 at 15:16
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    $\begingroup$ How you pronounce it largely depends where you are from. Personally, I think X L N C is valid. $\endgroup$ Dec 3, 2017 at 16:05
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Does this qualify?

cupidity

Letters :

QPDT (Although the word does not contain Q)

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    $\begingroup$ Not sure I'd count it, since I pronounce the second and third syllables "pih-dih", not "pee-dee" $\endgroup$
    – Adam V
    Dec 4, 2017 at 21:19
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One 4-letter one might be

apiary

which I think sounds sufficiently like

A-P-R-E

though I don't find it 100% convincing because

the R sound isn't really quite right (it's more "er" where we need "ar").

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  • $\begingroup$ Gareth . Close but...... $\endgroup$
    – DrD
    Dec 3, 2017 at 15:17
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    $\begingroup$ The question seeks "a word that when pronounced, sounds exactly like pronouncing (some of) its own letters" (emphasis added). The last of your four letters doesn't fit this criterion. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Dec 3, 2017 at 23:39
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    $\begingroup$ That condition was edited into the question after I wrote this answer. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Dec 4, 2017 at 0:01
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Perhaps

ACIDITY

fits the bill. It can be represented as

A-C-D-T

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    $\begingroup$ I pronounce that AH-SI-DI not ACD $\endgroup$ Dec 3, 2017 at 17:30
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    $\begingroup$ I tend to pronounce it UH-sih-dih- which is similar to Merriam-Webster's ə-ˈsi-də-. I didn't know realize there was such variation in how this is said. $\endgroup$
    – ZX9
    Dec 4, 2017 at 1:48
  • $\begingroup$ i don't really know the exact pronunciation of this one, but i find this very good ;) $\endgroup$
    – Neil
    Dec 4, 2017 at 15:57
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I’m not sure if this strictly counts as a word, but there’s a poem with it and it comes many times in Wodehouse.

Excelsior!

Which can be pronounced (probably) as

X-L-C-R

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  • $\begingroup$ "R" has an "ar" pronounciation to me, not "or". $\endgroup$
    – Adam V
    Dec 4, 2017 at 21:20
  • $\begingroup$ First thing I thought of. There was a game called XLCR back in the day. Unlike this link google just found, the copy I had included some blurb about an "Excelsior Yu". bbcmicro.co.uk/game.php?id=1816 $\endgroup$
    – Steve
    Sep 8, 2020 at 13:24
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Would you accept as a 6-letter word an extension of your 4-letter one?

Anti-obesity - as in anti-obesity medication.

Letters:

NTOBCT

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Here's a decent "4-letter" word:

Beauteous (B-U-T-S)

which can become a "6-letter" word:

Beauteousness (B-U-T-S-N-S)

EDIT: Any reason for the downvote? Both words are on Merriam-Webster and match the pronunciation of the letters as long as you say it a little quickly.

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    $\begingroup$ ISTM that pronouncing the last syllable of the second word as two letters (and hence, two syllables) is not justifiable, and especially not if you’re saying it quickly. Pronouncing “ous” as S is also a stretch. $\endgroup$ Dec 4, 2017 at 6:59
  • $\begingroup$ @PeregrineRock For me, it sounds right when running the syllables together, but I can see it does not exactly match the dictionary pronunciation. $\endgroup$
    – ZX9
    Dec 4, 2017 at 13:22
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    $\begingroup$ "beauteous" is pronounced BYOO-tee-uss, not bee-yoo-tee-ess. $\endgroup$ Dec 4, 2017 at 14:21
  • $\begingroup$ Bee-yoo becomes BYOO when said together. I admit that the "ess" sound should be "us". There may also be some freedom here with regards to dialect. I still think this example is worthwhile as I believe it fits the OP's requirements more closely than some other examples. $\endgroup$
    – ZX9
    Dec 4, 2017 at 15:35
  • $\begingroup$ The OP's example of entity as NTT shows there is some flexibility in pronunciation (in-tih-tee vs in-tee-tee). $\endgroup$
    – ZX9
    Dec 4, 2017 at 15:48
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Chris Cole's "Taxonomy of Wordplay" lists

elementarily (LMNTRLE)

and

eosinophilous (ESNFLS)

as being the longest, but I find these to be unsatisfying.

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I got this one from school when I was a kid:

XLR8 -> Accelerate

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    $\begingroup$ 8 is not a letter of the alphabet. $\endgroup$
    – Herb
    Dec 5, 2017 at 15:10

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