Greek Alphabet Pronunciation

Greek

Greek letters are used in math and science, and so we think we know how they are pronounced. But while some of these will surprise you, this is how the names of the Greek letters are spoken.

Greek Alphabet Pronunciation of the Names of the Letters

Α α – alpha:  al-fah

Β β – beta:  vee-tah

Γ γ – gamma:  ghah-mah (the “gh” sounds similar to the sound of gargling in the back of your throat)

Δ δ – delta:  thel-tah (“th” as in “them”)

Ε ε – epsilon:  eh-psee-lon

Ζ ζ – zeta:  zee-tah

Η η – eta:  ee-tah

Θ θ – theta:  thee-tah (“th” as in “thin”)

Ι ι – iota:  yoh-tah

Κ κ – kappa:  kah-pah

Λ λ – lambda:  lahm-thah

Μ μ – mu:  mee

Ν ν – nu:  nee

Ξ ξ – xi:  ksee

Ο ο – omicron:  oh-mee-kron

Π π – pi:  pee

Ρ ρ – rho: roh (the “r” is rolled as in Spanish. Americans can easily imitate the sound by isolating the sound of the double “t” in the word “butter.”)

Σ σ – sigma:  seeg-mah

Τ τ – tau:  tahf

Υ υ – upsilon:  ee-psee-lon

Φ φ – phi:  fee

Χ χ – chi:  hee but a harsh “h,” more like a throaty sound like Scottish ch in “loch”

Ψ ψ – psi:  psee (like you say “pssst”)

Ω ω – omega:  oh-meh-gah

Greek Pronunciation

Alpha – always like ah

Beta like the letter “v”

Gamma – like the gargled sound described above except before an “eh” or “ee” sound; then it is like the letter “y” – yeh or yee

Delta – “th” as in “them”

Epsilon – always like eh, as in the “e” in the word “met”

Zeta – like the letter “z”

Eta – always ee as in “meet” but shorter; iota and upsilon have the exact same sound

Theta – “th” as in “thin”

Iota – two sounds: like the letter “y” before another vowel; otherwise like ee as in “meet” but shorter, the same as eta and upsilon

Kappa – like the letter “k”

Lambda – like the letter “l”

Mu – like the letter “m”

Nu – like the letter “n”

Xi – “ks” like the “x” in “mix”

Omicron – close to oh, same as the Spanish “o”; omega has the exact same sound

Pi – like the letter “p”

Rho – rolled “r” (see explanation next to rho above)

Sigma – similar to “s”

Tau – like the letter “t”

Upsilon – always ee as in “meet” but shorter; eta and iota have the exact same sound

Phi – like the letter “f”

Chi – a throaty sound like Scottish ch in “loch”; softer “h” sound before an “eh” or “ee” sound; then it is like heh or hee

Psi -“ps”

Omega – close to oh, same as the Spanish “o”; omicron has the exact same sound