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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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  • 3
    $\begingroup$ 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 '17 at 23:52
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    $\begingroup$ I remember reading a book like this when I was a kid called CDB!: Wikipedia Amazon $\endgroup$ – OldBunny2800 Dec 4 '17 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". $\endgroup$ – Lord Farquaad Dec 4 '17 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 '17 at 19:35
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    $\begingroup$ @LordFarquaad: Fun fact, the band Zed Zed Top also has this property. $\endgroup$ – Eric Lippert Dec 4 '17 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 '17 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 '17 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 '17 at 9:18
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    $\begingroup$ anemone is not pronounced much like NMNE $\endgroup$ – jwg Dec 4 '17 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 '17 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 '17 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 '17 at 15:09
  • $\begingroup$ Dont think it is pronounced X El En C. El is pronounced more like ul I think $\endgroup$ – DEEM Dec 3 '17 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. $\endgroup$ – micsthepick Dec 3 '17 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 '17 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...... $\endgroup$ – DEEM Dec 3 '17 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 '17 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 '17 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 $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil Dec 3 '17 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 '17 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 '17 at 15:57
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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. $\endgroup$ – Peregrine Rook Dec 4 '17 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 '17 at 13:22
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    $\begingroup$ "beauteous" is pronounced BYOO-tee-uss, not bee-yoo-tee-ess. $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Dec 4 '17 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 '17 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 '17 at 15:48
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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 '17 at 21:20
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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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-1
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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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-1
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I got this one from school when I was a kid:

XLR8 -> Accelerate

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ 8 is not a letter of the alphabet. $\endgroup$ – Herb Wolfe Dec 5 '17 at 15:10

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