How do you pronounce primer (textbook or explanatory text.)

I’ve listened to NPR announcers pronounce it “PRIM-mer” for years, and that drives me nuts. If the pronunciation was “primmer” surely it would be spelled with two n’s?
As an aside, I am a painting contractor and in over three decades have only ever heard primer, the coating, pronounced PRY-mer. Never “primmer.”

Poll in a minute.

The coating is pronounced pry-mer. I have heard the term for a text pronounced both ways.

Which is interesting since they clearly come from the same root, prime, meaning start.

I pronounce the book “primmer”. I think it’s because I hear British people pronounce it that way and it’s a (much?) more common word in British English than American English.

Interestingly enough, I grew up in Europe and was schooled almost exclusively in the UK system and am familiar with, and used, the UK term as relates to a book…yet I do not recall anyone ever using the “primmer” pronunciation over there.

Could be I’m mis-remembering, of course. Hopefully some UK dopers will chime in!

I’m British and I never heard that. “Primmer” to me would mean “more prim”. Using it to describe a text book sounds completely absurd to my ears.

In my head, it’s PRY-mer for both the textbook and the paint coat. In real life, it’s one of those words that I simply avoid saying out of uncertainty to avoid embarrassing myself. Like “dour.” Does it rhyme with “sour” or “pour?”

The “e” gives its strength to the “i” - It’s PRY-mer, and NPR is full of douches, as proved in BAY-zhing v. BAY-jing.

I would lean towards PRIM-mer for a book. PRY-mer for paint.

Based on, it’s actually the other way around. Hard “I” is the British pronunciation and the soft “I” is more commonly American.

Apologies for spreading confusion.

American here.

The word isn’t very commonly used, but I pronounced it with a long “i” until 8th grade, when we had a book with that word in the title. I was shocked when our teacher taught us how to pronounce it, but I looked it up in the dictionary and he was right. The on-linie dictionaries I just checked still give only the short “i” pronunciation, “primmer”.

In my head they’re both pry-mer but if I’m speaking out loud about a beginning textbook I’ll say pry-im-mer as my brain changes the pronunciation to be ‘right’.

Hmm. I suggest is just plain wrong. The OED gives only one pronunciation for that spelling for any of the word’s definitions:

Possibly this is not relevant as it’s about spelling but in the Molesworth books set in a 1950s English public school, Molesworth vandalises his text book from:

The Shorter Latin Primer


The Shorter Way of Eating Prime Beef

No - If the OED ignores the fact that “primmer” is a common US pronunciation, than it’s either wrong or it needs to be updated. Or perhaps it’s not up on American pronunciations.

I don’t know that I’d accept Molesworth as an authority here. Aren’t those books full of odd spellings?

The early textbooks in the U.S. were called primers - “primmer” is how I’ve heard it pronounced. (Took a couple of history of education courses in grad school.)

However, I’ve never heard anyone ridiculed for the way it’s actually, you know, spelled. And I’ve not heard anyone refer to a modern-day text as anything but “pry-mer.”

That part of the OED website is about British (and ‘World’) English pronunciation. There’s a separate bit for US English.

Well of course not, it was just a bit of fun.

I have always heard the word pronounced as prim-er.

I thought it was PRY-mer up until Jr. High (I saw the word almost every month in MAD Magazine), then I was corrected by my 8th grade creative writing teacher and pronounced it primmer ever since.

You mean something like “prinmner”? :stuck_out_tongue:

It sure as hell looks like it ought to be pronounced “pry-mer,” but I’ve heard that the official correct pronunciation is “primmer.” So, basically, I avoid pronouncing the word altogether.

In my dialect

(text) primer rhymes with trimmer; (paint) primer rhymes with rhymer

dour rhymes with tour and pour