[fuh-net-iks, foh-]
noun (used with a singular verb)
the science or study of speech sounds and their production, transmission, and reception, and their analysis, classification, and transcription. Compare acoustic phonetics, articulatory phonetics, auditory phonetics, physiological phonetics.
the phonetic system or the body of phonetic facts of a particular language.
the symbols used to represent the speech sounds of a language.

1835–45; see phonetic, -ics Unabridged


[fuh-net-ik, foh-]
Also, phonetical. of or pertaining to speech sounds, their production, or their transcription in written symbols.
corresponding to pronunciation: phonetic transcription.
agreeing with pronunciation: phonetic spelling.
concerning or involving the discrimination of nondistinctive elements of a language. In English, certain phonological features, as length and aspiration, are phonetic but not phonemic.
(in Chinese writing) a written element that represents a sound and is used in combination with a radical to form a character.

1820–30; < Neo-Latin phōnēticus < Greek phōnētikós vocal, equivalent to phōnēt(ós) to be spoken (verbid of phōneîn to speak) + -ikos -ic

phonetically, adverb
nonphonetic, adjective
nonphonetical, adjective
nonphonetically, adverb
unphonetic, adjective
unphonetical, adjective
unphonetically, adverb

fanatic, phonetic. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
phonetic (fəˈnɛtɪk)
1.  of or relating to phonetics
2.  Compare phonemic denoting any perceptible distinction between one speech sound and another, irrespective of whether the sounds are phonemes or allophones
3.  conforming to pronunciation: phonetic spelling
[C19: from New Latin phōnēticus, from Greek phōnētikos, from phōnein to make sounds, speak]

phonetics (fəˈnɛtɪks)
(functioning as singular) Compare phonology the science concerned with the study of speech processes, including the production, perception, and analysis of speech sounds from both an acoustic and a physiological point of view. This science, though capable of being applied to language studies, technically excludes linguistic considerations

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

"representing vocal sounds," 1826, from Mod.L. phoneticus (1797), from Gk. phonetikos "vocal," from phonetos "to be spoken, utterable," verbal adj. of phonein "to speak clearly, utter," from phone "sound, voice" (see fame). Phonetics "scientific study of speech" formed in Eng. 1841.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

phonetic pho·net·ic (fə-nět'ĭk)

  1. Of or relating to phonetics.

  2. Representing the sounds of speech with a set of distinct symbols, each designating a single sound.

phonetics pho·net·ics (fə-nět'ĭks)
The branch of linguistics that deals with the sounds of speech and their production, combination, description, and representation by written symbols.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Example sentences
Themes that rely on phonetics can be tricky because of regional differences.
Might be able to learn something about phonetics from it.
With spelling in particular, phonetics were more important than correctness.
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