How To Pronounce “Bosom”

STUDENTS are way too busy with a mountain of things in school, one gets the feeling that the word curriculum is not fast enough or big enough. It just can’t seem to catch up with all the lessons it needs to spit out for that journey called learning, or is it education?

There are a million and one things our dear teachers have to cover, but how I wish they could squeeze in some reading time and wring out some lessons for the many Eliza Doolittles out there.

Make the kids read aloud, Ma’am! 

That’s right, Sir, they’ve got to, they must, they need to! 

Now, I promise you, it isn’t a luxury. Just hear how we struggle with some of our words, and you’d understand. I’ve heard quite a few in my lifetime, and even tripped over some myself. That’s why I’m frantically gathering all the crankily pronounced words as I hear them, word by word, day by day, for this week-to-week column.

Want to hear what I hear?

Picturesque is picture-skew, horizon is HOR-REE-ZON (accent on all three syllables), bury is BOO-rie, oh, and our poor mother! Mother is MAH-duh, and just when you thought you could seek refuge in Mommy’s bosom, you hear, yikes, BOS-sum!

Let’s back up. That word, it’s true, is a pain. BOS-sum, just like possum, makes sense. Of course, it could conceivably be BOH-sum too, but really, I must stop getting silly at the expense of folks who just don’t know. It is funny, and yet it’s not. It’s the big English challenge, the vast minefield of word bombs that makes the landscape of spoken vocabularies so mind-boggling.

So here is bosom as it should be: BU-zuhm, where the vowel in “BU” is short, as in put and soot.

And here are all the meanings behind the word:

bosom |ˈbʊz(ə)m|(n)

a woman’s chest or breasts: her ample bosom | [ mass noun ]: the dress offered a fair display of bosom.
a part of a dress covering the chest: she had plucked the brooch from her bosom.
(literary) the space between a person’s clothing and their chest used for carrying things: he carried a letter in his bosom.
(literary) a person’s loving care and protection: Bruno went home each night to the bosom of his family.
used to refer to the chest as the seat of emotions: quivering dread was settling in her bosom.

I invite you to write to me at if you have any word ideas you’d like to share.


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