Basil (pronunciation)

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Both as a proper noun (it is a man's name) and as a common noun (it is a common herb), the word Basil or basil is pronounced in British English with the first vowel like that in 'have' or 'bat', IPA: /'bæ zəl/. This is the only pronunciation recorded in OED. In American English, it is more usually pronounced as though the first syllable were the same as 'bay', /eɪ/. This pronunciation is not recorded in LPD as existing in British English.

It may interest some readers to learn that the word derives from the Greek word for a 'king', βασιλεύς (basileus). See basil- for more.