How to Pronounce 'Tumult'

How should you pronounce tumult?

Mignon Fogarty
1-minute read

A few months ago I had a segment about what it means to read someone the riot act, and I told you that the official name of the act starts with “An Act for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies.” But recently, an English teacher in Tehran named Marshall pointed out that I had mispronounced tumult ("too-muh lt") as "tum-ult."

A tumult is riot or uprising or just a loud, disorderly crowd. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, we get tumult from a Latin word that meant "commotion, bustle, uproar, disorder, disturbance,” and Merriam-Webster notes that it may be related to a Sanskrit word for “noisy.”

I’m not sure why I pronounced its as "tum-ult" instead of "too-muh lt," except that I’m not sure I’ve ever heard anyone else say the word, but I have heard the adjective form—tumultuous, as in It’s been a tumultuous week—so I was probably modeling the pronunciation after the word I had heard. Although, I wasn’t exactly saying it like that either.

I’m sorry for the error, and now you too can remember that it’s pronounced "too-muh lt."

how to pronounce tumult

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips and the author of seven books on language, including the New York Times bestseller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing." She is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame, and the show is a five-time winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. She has appeared as a guest expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today Show.

You May Also Like...

The Quick and Dirty Tips Privacy Notice has been updated to explain how we use cookies, which you accept by continuing to use this website. To exercise your choices about cookies, please see Cookies and Online Tracking.