Aristocrat (pronunciation)

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The noun aristocrat is pronounced in traditional British RP academic circles with the stress on the first syllable: 'ARR-ist-er-crat', /'æ rɪ stə ,kræt/, whereas in standard American pronunciation, which is increasingly to be heard in Britain, the stress is on the second syllable: 'er-IST-er-crat', /ə 'rɪ stə ,kræt/. (This reflects the original coinage of the word, in revolutionary France around 1789: the French, too, places the stress on the second syllable.)

The adjective aristocratic is pronounced with the stress on the fourth syllable, 'arr-ist-er-KRAT-ik', /,æ rɪ stə 'kræt ɪk/.

The abstract and collective noun aristocracy is always pronounced with the stress on the third syllable: 'arr-ist-OCK-ress-y', /,æ rɪ 'stɒ krə sɪ/.

Etymological note: The English words ‘aristocracy’ and ‘aristocrat(ic)’ come, through French, from the Greek ἀριστοκρατία (aristokratia, ‘rule of the best’), a compound noun from ἄριστος (aristos, ‘best-born, best’) and κρατεῖν (kratein, ‘to rule’).