How to pronounce kilometer

The answer is really pretty simple. In American English the accent is usually on the antepenult syllable or the third from the end of the word. The final syllable is referred to as the ultimate, the next to the last is the pentultimate and the third from the last is the antepenult syllable. Kilogram and kilometer are pronounced differently because ‘kil’ in kilogram is the antepenult and ‘lom’ is the antepenult in kilometer. You see the same pronunciation pattern differnce in the word controversy. British pronunciation places the stress on the “ver” or pentultimate syllable and American pronunciation stresses the antepenult or ‘tro’ syllable.

You didn’t tell us what the make model, year & mileage of your car is, so it will be difficult for us to diagnose your problem.

Wow, Interesting. I Took Two Semesters Of Linguistics Back When I Was In College, But I Don’t Remember Studying That ! I Do Remember Buying Two Cheese Bagels For $.25 Every Day, Though.

Often (most of the time) seemingless random language variations and idiosyncrasies are actually following the rules. It’s just a matter of knowing what they are.

How do happen to know this ?


Man, I hope you don’t have pronunciation o.c.d.

Around here you’d go absolutely batty with so many local residents having english as a second language,
Navajo, Zuni, Laguna, Apache and other native americans…
Spanish, mexican, latino or whatever term you wish for spanish speaking roots…
Arabic based launguages or middle eastern roots.

boy I’m glad we don’t even need to say kil-O-meter…kiloMETER…KILOmeter…'round these parts. ( USA four corners New Mexico )

why does it matter ?
do you NOT know precisely what anyone means no matter how they say it ?

How many milLIMiters in a cenTImeter?
How many kiLOcycles in a meGAcycle?

Measurement devices have the accent on the second syllable: speedometer, altimeter, etc.
Units of measure have accent on the first syllable: kilogram, millimeter, etc.
“Kilometer” belongs to the second group; the caller was correct.

Now THAT’S an explanation I can understand! Thanks cweisert.

And I suppose if I say “3 clicks” you will not know how far we will be walking?

Why not just pronounce kilometer as “5/8 of a mile” and let it go at that?

Antepenultimate. You mean the second syllable? Sounds like someone just got a new dictionary.

Also, you’re wrong about the American pronunciation of controversy. In American we place the emphasis on the first syllable. Or as you might say, the preantepenultimate syllable. :slight_smile:

If accent was designated by the syllable position counting from the beginning of the word you might be right, except that the accent in kilometer is actually on the second syllable from the beginning of the word. Well, in fact, you are just wrong about kilometer, and millimeter has the same pattern. It’s accent is on the third syllable from the end, the antepenult, not the first syllable. I think your dictionary will support this interpretation.

I was gonna’ ask whatever happened to klicks? You beat me to it.

Actually I’ve had my dictionary for quite a while. Syllables are counted from the end of the word not the beginning, which might be your confusion. The Preantepenult(imate) is the forth syllable from the end of the word, followed by the antepenult(imate), the penultimate and the ultimute. In linguistics it is common to shorten antepenultimate to “antepenult” but I was in error to use the shortened form in this setting. Thanks for the correction. You are also right about 'controversy. That is accented on the preantepenultimate, the forth from the end of the word, which happens to be the first syllable in that word. Cheers.

Syllables are counted from the end of the word not the beginning,


Well, let’s just see if we can start another 100 post argument over nothing, shall we ?

It is AR’gument isn’t it ?
or is it arGU’ment ?
arguMENT’ ?

“3 clicks” can be accented on either the ultimate or penultimate syllable. “Do you have anything like a hot dog sandwich?” is normally accented on the penultimate syllable.

Is this another one of those stream of consciousness posts?

Heated seats, yea or nay? What say you, davidbbatin?

From 1828 to 1841 Noah Webster indicated only second syllable stress, and his successor added a first syllable stress variant in the first Merriam-Webster dictionary of 1847. Thus, both pronunciations are well-established. Most scientists use second syllable stress, although first syllable stress seems to occur with a higher rate of frequency among scientists than among nonscientists.


Nice addition to the discussion. I’m more familiar with contemporary vernacular so your historical contribution is very welcome.

I’ve never had heated seats but I think they would be nice, especially if you have mornings that are -20F or colder. In my experience if it drops to -50F the car is not likely to start anyway so heated or unheated seats are a moot point.

They will heat if you bought the 115VAC plug in option. Please make sure you pockets are free of sharp objects and that you have recently emptied your bladder:)

I lived off the grid for a while, 12 years, and that was when I experienced the really cold weather. Plugging in was not an option. Thanks for the heads-up though.

When I lived in Britain (and Europe - Germany, Holland, Italy, Belgium to name a few), it was always called a KIloMEter (the distance, anyway). Emphasis on those two syllables, not just one.