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[fon-iks or for 2, foh-niks] /ˈfɒn ɪks or for 2, ˈfoʊ nɪks/
noun, (used with a singular verb)
a method of teaching reading and spelling based upon the phonetic interpretation of ordinary spelling.
Obsolete. phonetics.
Origin of phonics
1675-85; phon- + -ics Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for phonics
Historical Examples
  • From the first day a definite place on the program should be given to phonics.

    How to Teach Phonics Lida M. Williams
  • phonics is not a method of teaching reading, but it is a necessary part of every good, modern method.

    How to Teach Phonics Lida M. Williams
  • Especial attention is called to the system of phonics developed.

  • As new words are met containing known sounds, the pupils should apply their knowledge of phonics.

    How to Teach Phonics Lida M. Williams
  • The real difficulty in phonics lies in the fact that the pronunciation of the English language abounds in inconsistencies.

    How to Teach Phonics Lida M. Williams
  • The attention given to the use of diacritical marks, silent letters, and phonics.

    History of France Charlotte M. Yonge
  • There should be at least two ten-minute lessons in phonics each day.

    How to Teach Phonics Lida M. Williams
British Dictionary definitions for phonics


noun (functioning as sing)
an obsolete name for acoustics (sense 1)
a method of teaching people to read by training them to associate letters with their phonetic values
Derived Forms
phonic, adjective
phonically, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for phonics

1680s, "science of sound," from Greek phone "sound" (see fame (n.)) + -ics. As a method of teaching reading it is first attested 1908, though the system dates from 1844.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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