ob-gyn revisited

Neal Whitman nwhitman at AMERITECH.NET
Fri Mar 30 21:29:25 UTC 2012

Back in 2002, there was a short thread on "ob-gyn", which ended with this message:

In the thread, pronunciations such as [abgaIn] and [abd3In] were discussed, as well as the quasi-acronymic "O-B-jin" and "O-B-G-Y-N". I'm wondering if anyone else has regional or diachronic pronunciation data to throw into the mix. The OED only lists the [abgaIn]-like pronunciations, which I have never heard (though some in the 2002 thread had), while AHD lists only the full "oh-bee-jee-wye-en" pronunciation. 

I'm just wondering how this pronunciation came about. I speculate that it started with plain "O-B" for "obstetrician" (a little like "ID" for "identification", except that the B is in coda rather than onset position), and then "G-Y-N" came along by attraction.

And slightly OT (not OB), I liked the episode of Everybody Loves Raymond where Doris mentioned an O-B-G-Y-N and Frank got angry at perceived patronization: "You don't have to spell it out for me!"

Neal Whitman
Email: nwhitman at ameritech.net
Blog: http://literalminded.wordpress.com

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

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