How is the word `esoteric’ pronounced?

The first syllable is pronounced like the letter `s’ and the following `o’ is like the `a’ in `china’. The `e’ is like the `e’ in `set’, `pet’, and `bet’, and the final `ric’ is like the `ric’ in `electric’, `eccentric’, and `metric’. The main stress is on the third syllable `ter’. This is how the Americans pronounce the word.

The British, on the other hand, pronounce the `e’ in the first syllable like the `ee’ in `bee’, `fees’, and `geese’, and the following `o’ like the `o’ in `so’, `go’ and `no’.

When you say that something is `esoteric’, what you are implying is that it can be understood and appreciated by only a few people. The word is usually used in formal contexts.

Example: Venkat takes interest in esoteric subjects

Source: ‘Know Your English’ ( The Hindu) – May 15, 2006

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