Wikipedia:American Heritage Dictionary representation

The American Heritage Dictionary representation (abbreviated AHD) is a phonetic notation, based on the Latin alphabet, used by the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language to transcribe the pronunciation of spoken English. It and similar respelling systems, such as those used by the Merriam Webster and Random House dictionaries, are familiar to US schoolchildren. Except for minor formatting of the stress marks, it is identical to the system used on Wiktionary, where it is called the English Phonemic Representation (abbreviated enPR).

The following tables show the AHD representations of English phonemes,[1] along with the IPA equivalents as used on Wikipedia:


Because they behave differently among English dialects, rhotic vowels are listed separately. Many US speakers conflate âr, ăr, and ĕr; îr and ĭr; ōr, ôr, and ŏr; ûr and ŭr. Among non-rhotic vowels, many conflate ä, ô, and ŏ.

Example  AHD   IPA 
bad, cat, ran ă æ
marry ăr ær
bait, play, same ā
hair, pear, there âr ɛər
father ä ɑː
arm, bard är ɑr
bed, bet, end ĕ ɛ
berry, merry ĕr ɛr
ease, see ē[2]
about (reduced) ə ə
enter (reduced) ər ər
city, bit ĭ ɪ
mirror ĭr ɪr
here, near, peer îr ɪər
my, rise, pric'e ī
fire īr aɪr
not ŏ ɒ
moral, forage ŏr ɒr
law, caught, saw ô ɔː
born, for ôr ɔr
go, hope, know ō
more, four ōr ɔər
foot, pull o͝o
lose, soon, through, tube o͞o
boor o͝or ʊər
boy, noise oi ɔɪ
house, now ou
run, enough, up ŭ ʌ
hurry ŭr ʌr
fur, bird ûr ɜr
Foreign  AHD   IPA 
German schön, können;
French feu, oeuf
œ ø
German müde, French tu ü y


Example  AHD   IPA 
but, ebb b b
chat, inch ch
dot, odd d d
fan, leaf f f
get, bag g ɡ
ham, ahead h h
which hw hw
joy, gin, edge j
cat, sky, tack k k
left, little l l
man, him m m
not, hidden n n
singer, ring ng ŋ
pen, spin, top p p
run, very r r
set, city, pass s s
she, ash, mission sh ʃ
ton, stab, mat t t
thin, nothing, moth th θ
this, father, clothe th ð
voice, save v v
wet, aquatic w w
yes y j
zoo, rose z z
vision, beige zh ʒ
Foreign  AHD   IPA 
loch, pesach kh x
French: bon n ˜

Syllables and stressEdit

Indication  AHD   IPA 
primary stress (carried on the letter a) aʹ ˈa
secondary stress ˌa
division between syllables
(not used after a stress mark)

Note: Prime character with bold formatting (primary) and without (secondary). Unicode 02B9 used here; similar to Unicode 2032.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Houghton Mifflin, American Heritage Dictionary pronunciation key (PDF), retrieved 2016-01-21. 
  2. ^ The sound that might be expected to be spelled ēr is instead spelled îr.
  3. ^ a b The AHD uses o͝o and o͞o in print but ŏŏ and ōō online, as these are more widely supported by web browsers.