Internecine

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The pronunciation of the adjective internecine gives trouble to many readers. The RP pronunciation is 'int-er-NEECE-ine', IPA: /,ɪn tər 'ni: saɪn/.

The word comes from a Latin root internecīnus, used in Butler's Hudibras ("to which also" says OED (1989) "is due the unetymological pronunciation, instead of 'int-ER-ness-ine', /ɪn 'tɜːr nɛ saɪn/"). It means 'deadly', 'destructive', and when it is used of war, as it usually is, means 'to the death', 'aimed at wiping out the enemy'. This is often a mutual goal of the opposing armies.