Are your parents' sisters "ants" or "onts"?

I’ve always wondered about the distribution of the two pronunciations of “aunt” in the English speaking world. Where do people say “ant” and where do they say “ont”? Is it regional, or is the “ont” pronunciation based on the notion that that it might sound higher class, like pronouncing vase “vahs”.

Also what’s the usual pronunciation of aunt in other Anglophone countries?

Mine are all “ain’ts”. As in “I ain’t got an Aunt”.

I pronounce the last word like “ants”. The other way is poncy and wrong! :smiley:

She told me she loved me like a brother. She was from Arkansas, hence the Joy!

I got the “ant” pronunciation from my mom, who has lived everywhere. Her husband says it “ont,” and he grew up in northern Minnesota. It bugs us the way he says it, but it bugs him the way we do. I guess we’re even.

I pronounce it “ant”. I grew up an army brat.



from North Carolina originally, although I’m not necessarily sure its a regional thing.

I’ve heard it both way in many regions of the US


PS, for Americans - Aren’t to me is more like Ahn’t to you.

If you say the R, it sounds like you’re talking like a pirate. Arrrrrn’t. Arr, that’s not it, matey. Arrrr.

I’m english. I pronounce it ‘Aunt’. I’ve NEVER heard anyone pronounce it ‘Ont’.

Mine are “ants”–I’m from California. Mr. Armadillo’s parents’ sisters are all “Onts.” Like whiterabbit, his fambly is all from Minnesota.

My father’s sister from Boston is “ont” Jess.

My mother’s sister from South Carolina is “ant” Donna.

Hope that clears things up a little.

I have Aunties (or I guess that would be “anties”.)

I have one Aunt who insists that, according to HER dictionary, ONT is the preferred pronunciation and we should all call her ONT. We get around this by just calling her Margaret.

Mine are all “ants”. And I grew up in the Mid-west

I’ve got anti’s myself, mind you I’m very Lancastrian speaking when it comes to relatives.


aunt to rhyme with taunt. ants are insects.

Both. I grew up saying Ont - my dad grew up in North Dakota, and his mother’s was bilinguage German-English. But my step-mom and -sisters say Ant; they’re from western Maryland.

BTW, here’s the semi-authoritative survey on the point: The Harvard Dialect Survey. Note the clump of “onties” in North Dakota-Minnesota, and the other in New England.


And I’m bilingual English-Jibberish. Sigh.

My sister married a man from Minnesota, that was when I first heard ONT, my neice from a different sister is living in the UP, and now another neice is saying ONT. I believe it is a regional thing, like someone from Missouri saying futher, instead of farther…I like the regional interpretation of Pasties…

I say ahnts too (or ahnty.) I’ve rarely heard “ant” except on TV, actually… and I’ve never heard it with an “o” sound rather than an “a” one, or am I totally misinterpreting how that would be said? Wouldn’t be the first time.