Conduit

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A conduit is a channel (or pipe) by which water may be led to a different part. The word is sometimes used for electricity, and for intermediaries: "The merchant acted as a conduit for the money to pay the army." (See also the noun conduct.) There is dispute about how to pronounce the word.


The older pronunciation gives this word two syllables, with a slight stress on the first: 'CONNED-it' IPA: /ˈkɒn dɪt/, sometimes with the same first vowel as 'run': 'CUNNED-it' IPA: /ˈkʌn dɪt/. (This pronunciation can still be heard in academic circles). The newer habit is to give the word three syllables 'conned-oo-it', with fairly even stress: IPA: /kɒn du ɪt/. (This pronunciation can also be heard in academic circles.)

LPD (2000) gives three major pronunciations in the UK: 'CON-due-it' IPA: /kɒn du ɪt/ (varying to 'CONNED-jew-it' IPA: /kɒn dʒu ɪt/), 'CONNED-it' IPA: /ˈkɒn dɪt/ and 'CUNNED-it' IPA: /ˈkʌn dɪt/. (Some writers say that this last pronunciation is 'old-fashioned'. It may be that some speakers find it taboo.) OED only records two syllables, albeit with two versions, having different vowels: IPA: /ˈkɒn dɪt/ and IPA: /ˈkʌn dɪt/. In America, LPD only records the pronunciation 'CONN-doo-it' IPA: /kɒn duː ɪt/.

The variation in pronunciation, even in the educated community, is a further illustration that a guide such as AWE, which aims to help you use the language better, is doomed to failure. 'Good' English is often a matter of taste in choosing between different permitted options.