Ate (pronunciation)

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The past tense form of the irregular verb 'to eat' is ate. This is most usually pronounced as it looks, 'ATE' IPA: /eɪt/; but in some accents, and with some speakers, mostly traditional, of RP, it is realized as 'ETT', IPA: /ɛt/. Allen's Fowler (1999) disagrees: "ate is normally pronounced to rhyme with bet, although pronunciation to rhyme with bait is also common." LPD's 1988 survey showed that 55% of British speakers used 'ETT', /ɛt/, and only 45% used 'ATE', /eɪt/. The 'ETT', /ɛt/ pronunciation, however, it observes, "is considered non-standard" in American English.

AWE also has a note on a homograph at Ate (disambiguation).