Discount

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The word discount can be either a noun or a (related) verb. The two have different pronunciations. The general idea is of 'a reduction', usually literally in price, or other monetary terms; but in academic contexts, often figuratively as a reduction in other values, often of evidence, or the importance of an idea. "The statement by XXX may be discounted, as he was protecting his own reputation"; "Mrs Thatcher discounted the idea of society".

  • The noun 'a discount' has the stress on the first syllable: 'DISC-ount', IPA: /ˈdɪs kaʊnt/.
  • The verb 'to discount' is stressed on the second syllable: 'disc-OUNT', IPA: /dɪs ˈkaʊnt/. In American English, according to a 1993 poll reported in LPD, there is a strong preference (82-18%) for pronouncing the verb in the same way as the noun, with first syllable stress.
Note
This pattern of shifting stress in words that look identical but belong to two separate word classes is quite common in English.
Quirk (1985) (Appendix I.56 B) describes the most common: "When verbs of two syllables are converted into nouns, the stress is sometimes shifted from the second to the first syllable. The first syllable, typically a Latin prefix, often has a reduced vowel /ə/ in the verb but a full vowel in the noun: He was con-VICT-ed (IPA: /kən ˈvɪkt ɪd/) of theft, and so became a CON vict (IPA: /ˈkɒn vɪkt/)" [AWE's rendition of IPA].
There follows a list of some 57 "words having end-stress as verbs but initial stress as nouns in Br[itish] E[nglish]." Note that "in Am[erican] E[nglish], many have initial stress as verbs also". Quirk's list is the foundation of AWE's category:shift of stress. Additions have been made from, amongst others, Fowler, 1926-1996.