Arnold Zwicky zwicky at STANFORD.EDU
Tue May 5 15:16:50 UTC 2009

NSAID is an abbreviation for "non-steroidal ant-inflammatory drug".
how is it pronounced?  apparently, as /En.sEd/ (with compound stress,
1 2).  at least that's what i hear in tv ads.

that is, the N is pronounced as a letter name (as in initialisms) and
SAID is pronounced the same way as the verb form "said" (as in
acronyms).  so this is one of those mixed abbreviations that we don't
really have a name for.

an interesting feature is /sEd/ for SAID.  the the /E/ here is
exceptional; we'd normally expect /e/, as in "paid", "raid", "laid",
"braid", "maid", "afraid".  but the spelling SAID represents an
existing english word, so its pronunciation takes precedence over the
general letter-sound correspondences.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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