When did Ur-A-nus become UR-a-nus?

When I was a child in the Seventies learning about the planets, Uranus was always pronounced as, well, “your anus.”

The first time I heard the now popular “YOUR-a-nus” pronunciation was when a NASA probe was passing the planet and it was reported on T.V.

I have consulted the most recent Oxford English Dictionary and it offers both pronunciations. However, in my brief research, I cannot find any dictionary printed before 1979 that offers both pronunciations.

Who started this? Was it, as I suspect, newscasters whom didn’t want to be heard uttering what could be mistaken as “potty-talk” [i.e. “A NASA probe passed by Uranus this week.”]?

It started because there are people who can find,use and/or object to anything which can be mis-interpreted as dirty/vulgar/sexy or whatever upsets their phony moral outrage level.

Look what happened to a perfectly good word like “gay”-----one would be afraid to say it today in it’s original usage.

It dos,however,seem that they have a gay time nitpicking

Don we now our gay apparel
Fa la la, la la la,
la la la!

The answer to your question is: The dreadful day in my youth when my father replied to me “It’s not MY anus!” and I had to look up “anus.”

All the planets get their name from a god.

According to Matt Groening’s new TV series “Futurama” [please watch it–good tv shows always die!] in the 30th century the name of the planet Uranus will be changed to stop all those stupid jokes.

The new name will be Urectum.

here is what i found in a mythology dictionary. Haven’t found a greek dictionary yet.

{yoo-ray’-nuhs} In Greek mythology, Uranus (Ouranos)

so it’s not’your ran us’ or’your anus’ or ‘my anus’ it is ‘our anus’ if you pronounce it right and enunciate it is ‘you rain us’ so every body was wrong just dont slur to that r.

For some reason, I always associated the pronunciation change with Carl Sagan.
–Alan Q

Only english. Other languages pronouce it another way, I hope.

At least in sign language, you don’t point to your butt.

I think the new pronounciation became current about the time that astronomers discovered that Uranus has a ring system. I guess they just couldn’t bear to say the words “rings around yer-A-nus”.

Mr. John:

Actually, Ouranos would be more accurately pronounced oo RAHN oss.


This, of course, overlooks the fact that the improved pronunciation sounds like Urine-ous.

English doesn’t have to apologize to other languages–Greek included–for its spelling, pronunciation, or syllabic stress. The Gree, subject to correction, is: oo-RAH-nohs, and literally means “heaven.” Element No. 92 was discovered shortly after the seventh planet was located, so the element’s name, interestingly enough, is pronounced yoo-RAY-nee-um.
In a long-forgotten magazine, “Laugh-In,” published in the late 60s (after the TV show), appeared the line:
“Down Zeus! Up Uranus!”

yoor’--ns (where * is the schwa, and the “oo” is short as in “book”) is the only pronunciation given for Uranus in my 1968 Webster’s New World Dictionay. My compact OED’s only pronunciation is you’-r*-n*s (“you’-” pronounced like the word “you”).

I’ve forgotten where I read this, but the words “urine” and “Uranus” are supposed to be related: rain is supposed to be the piss of the gods. The etymology for “urine” in the compact OED ends at “related to Greek ouron” (Greek characters transliterated here). I don’t know where my Greek dictionary is, so I can’t verify this.

I have a webster online dictionary, but you can find 490+ more at www.onelook.com

Ura•nus "yur-e-nes, yu-"ra-\ noun [LL, fr. Gk Ouranos]
1 : the sky personified as a god and father of the Titans in Greek mythology
2 : the planet seventh in order from the sun — see planet table

©1996 Zane Publishing, Inc. and Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. All rights reserved.

Uranus changed from “you-RAIN-us” to “YOUR-en-un” about the same time that “huh-RASS-ment” became “HARR-us-ment,” that is when the age of political correctness changed the language so high school sophomores couldn’t possibly find a double-entendre in otherwise common words. Its all about making everything a sterile and non-offensive as possible. I say offend everyone. People need to stop being offended at arbitrary words and start getting offended at true injustice in the world.

Jason R Remy

“One pill makes you taller, and one pill makes you small, but the ones that mother gives you don’t do anything at all”
– Jefferson Airplane * White Rabbit * (Slick, G. 1966)

Too much concern for a word people rarely use.


While humorous, your explication is false. HARR-ass and HARR-ass-ment are the original pronunciations.


I agree with you there, Jayron. Things have deteriorated to the point that–well, one could ask bitterly, Who needs the First Amendment (freedom of speech) anyway?
Hey, Big Brother was politically correct. :frowning: