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How do you pronounce lido?

September 8, 2016

That type of big blue unheated open-air swimming pool that looks so beautiful but freezes your blood solid when you dive in – a lido, that’s right, but how do you pronounce it? Does it rhyme with Dido, or Speedo?

As a child I always rhymed it with Dido (or Fido). But I’ve noticed more and more people saying leedo now. My daughter Ros says that since it was originally an Italian word we should pronounce it in the Italian way; leedo, just as we say cappuceeno. That’s logical, but of course we don’t always preserve the original pronunciation when borrowing words from other languages.

Personally I tend to follow the lead of whoever I’m talking to: if they say leedo then so do I, but if they rhyme it with Fido I’m fine with that. But I realise this isn’t a general solution; if everyone did it there’d be no lead to follow. I suppose my default position would be the one I grew up with. I think this is one of those linguistic clues that give away someone’s age; under-40s would tend to say leedo, but lie-doh sounds right to us older folk.

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One Comment
  1. Simon Carter permalink

    I’m with you on the Dido pronunciation but the word comes up less frequently as time goes by. The one that catches me is Nestlés which I still call Nessels but no one ever seems to notice (or more likely care).

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