"Wilde" pronunciation

I know most people pronounce it as “wild.” Is it also acceptable to pronounce it as “vil duh” or “will dee”?

What’s the context? If you’re speaking English and pronouncing the surname of the famous litterateur Oscar Wilde, the only correct way is as a homonym of the word “wild”.

The same name in other contexts might be pronounced differently.

In the case of Brandon de Wilde, it’s pronounced like build-uh. In the case of the other name for a gnu, it’s pronounced wil-deh, as in wildebeest.

I’ve been called a wilde chaya (“wild beast” in Yiddish, usually said of a child running around tearing up the joint).

It’s OS-ker.

The first (and to date, only) Wilde I met in real life pronounced it “WILL-dee”.

OS-ker! OS-ker!


I find that surprising. I don’t know who this person is, but the name doesn’t seem like a language that would pronounce “w” as “b.” I could see “vill-duh/veel-duh,” but not “build-uh.” (And all I could find online is that this person’s name is pronounce “will-duh.”)

I meant “rhymes with”, of course.

Ah. Sorry. It wasn’t obvious to me, as “v” becoming “b” sounds is not terribly unusual.

Brain fart on my part.

It is acceptable to pronounce it whichever way the owner of the name pronounces it. It would be odd to pronounce it differently for no reason.

Or, as Gene Wilder would say, “It’s Dr. Fraahnkenshteen, not Dr. Frankenstien”.

In the case of Olivia Wilde it’s just wild with a silent e.

I happen to have a real name that was from the German. I am told, in the old country, at the time of their emigration, the vowel in the name was pronounced “oooh”, as in ‘shoe’. If one used the usual way of German pronouncing of double vowels (oa in this case), the sound would be as in ‘craft’. Plus, the name actually was spelled with an ‘aa’…and changed upon arrival at new Orleans to ‘oa’. Then, of course, Americans sometimes said the ‘oa’ as in ‘loaf’, enough that the family mostly decided to go with that sound, so that we say our name rhymes with ‘loaf’, today.

So, when someone meets me by way of looking at my nametag, or on a voter form, application, etc., hardly anyone gets it right, and I just smile and say, “you are one of the few who know how to pronounce it properly! Congratulations!” This makes them feel obliged to treat me well, far moreso than if I quibble about how to say it. And that, my dear, is the reason that many people don’t know for sure how to properly pronounce an particular person’s name.

This is oddly prevalent among sports people. Young kids won’t correct a coach or agent when their name is mispronounced, the broadcaster or newsman gets it wrong, and, finally, the whole world thinks that Michael ‘Jor-dann’, is really Michael ‘Jor-dun’. :slight_smile: