Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Nov 20 04:44:45 UTC 2012

On Nov 19, 2012, at 4:35 PM, Benjamin Barrett wrote:

> The Merriam-Webster word of the day (via the Vocabology app) is "lambaste," which MW says can also be spelled "lambast." Only one pronunciation is given: lam BAYST. That was a surprise to me: Probably because it's generally past tense, I assumed "lambasted" is from "lambast," and I pronounce it as "lam BAEST." MW does allow for both pronunciations online (
> Wiktionary ( gives "lambaste" as the main form and gives the "BAEST" pronunciation for RP and US, with "BAYST" also acceptable in the US.
> Despite Wiktionary's RP claim, the OED does not recognize the "BAYST" pronunciation. Also, the OED meanings perhaps need updating as they give "to beat, thrash" as current colloquial terms (Wiktionary says that's dated) and "to scold, castigate" as figurative.
Interesting.  I've always pronounced it (not that often, mind you) as lam-baste, as in turkey-baste.  But for me and maybe others, the pronunciation of choice is a spelling one.  Since I've usually seen it (in the present or infinitive) as "lambaste", I pronounce it that way; if I'd seen it as "lambast", I'd have gone with /ae/.  Of course as BB notes, it's often seen in the past, and "lambasted" doesn't help decide the matter.


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