over pronunciation

Pronunciation of "www"

WWW (or www) is an initialism for World Wide Web, most often styled in lowercase because it often appears as the leftmost component of domain names. In English, WWW is the longest possible three-letter acronym to spell out, requiring nine syllables, whereas the twelve letters in "World Wide Web" are pronounced with only three syllables. The English writer Douglas Adams once quipped:

Tim Berners-Lee refuted suggestions to change the World Wide Web name over pronunciation issues, arguing that this peculiar feature of the name would make it memorable. As his invention gradually gained ubiquity, it came to be called simply "the Web", an echo to "the Net".

English pronunciation

In standard English pronunciation, www is pronounced as (double-u double-u double-u).

In colloquial or informal speech many other forms may be encountered, often ad-hoc variations to simplify or speed up pronunciation.

More recently, a slurred, single wuh [wʌ] has become common in the computer science community and is rising in popularity.

In New Zealand and sometimes in Australia, the dub-dub-dub variant is widely accepted (for example its use in TV commercials appears standard) and is more concise than other English renditions. Also commonly used is all the double-u's.

In the Southern United States the two-syllable pronunciation of W, is often used even when spoken by persons who would normally use the standard three-syllable pronunciation for a single letter W.

W3, ("w cubed"), is inspired from mathematical notation for exponentiation (W raised to the 3rd power). Many of the original papers describing the World Wide Web abbreviated it this way, and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) was named according to this early usage. The original W3C logo had a superscripted 3 and the consortium's domain name is still However, usage of the W3 form is somewhat deprecated.

Other languages

In many languages which give the letter W a name that translates to "double V", each w is substituted by a v, so www is shortened to "vvv" instead of, for instance:

  • "ве-ве-ве" in Serbian (pronounced ve-ve-ve). Another frequently used way to pronounce it is в-в-в (v-v-v) without any vowels. Correct, but used less often, is "duplove-duplove-duplove".
  • "double vé, double vé, double vé" in French
  • "vé, vé, vé" in Czech
  • "vee vee vee" (commonly used) in Estonian (correct, but used less often, is "kaksisvee kaksisvee kaksisvee")
  • "kaksoisvee, kaksoisvee, kaksoisvee" in Finnish (although "ve, ve, ve" is commonly used (see below))
  • "duplavé, duplavé, duplavé" or "vé, vé, vé" in Hungarian
  • "doppia vu, doppia vu, doppia vu" in Italian, although the shortened form "vu vu vu" is widely preferred despite being technically incorrect (it means "vvv").
  • "tvöfalt vaff, tvöfalt vaff, tvöfalt vaff" or "vaff, vaff, vaff" in Icelandic
  • "dablio, dablio, dablio" in Portuguese
  • "dáblio, dáblio, dáblio" in Brazilian Portuguese
  • "wu, wu, wu" in Polish (pronounced voo-voo-voo)
  • "doble u, doble u, doble u", "doble ve, doble ve, doble ve", "uve doble, uve doble, uve doble", "triple doble u", "triple doble ve" or "triple uve doble" in Spanish
  • "ве-ве-ве" in Macedonian (pronounced ve-ve-ve)
  • "вэ-вэ-вэ" in Russian (pronounced ve-ve-ve). It may be heard in the "WWW" song by the band Leningrad However, the official pronunciation is "тройное дабл-ю" ("triple double-u")
  • "wé, wé, wé" in Dutch (pronounced way-way-way)
  • "дабл ю, дабл ю, дабл ю" (pronounced "double u, double u, double u") in Ukrainian, although "ве, ве, ве" (ve-ve-ve) and (officially) "порійне дабл ю" are also used.
  • "dabıl yu, dabıl yu, dabıl yu" or "çift ve, çift ve, çift ve" or "ve ve ve" in Turkish

In some languages, such as Estonian, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish and Danish, it is common practice to say "ve" instead of "dobbel-ve" in abbreviations, so "www" becomes "ve, ve, ve". This is also used by Romanian, Serbian, etc.

In German, Dutch, Afrikaans and other languages, this problem doesn't occur because the letter W is already uttered as a single syllable.

Most French speakers prefer the "3w" form, pronounced "trois doubles-vés" (most television and radio commercials in French speaking countries use this pronunciation) or - less frequently - "triple double-vé".

In Spanish "3w" can be either "uve doble uve doble uve doble", "tres uve dobles", "triple uve doble", "triple doble u", "doble u, doble u, doble u", "ve doble, ve doble, ve doble" (Latin America), "doble ve, doble ve, doble ve" (Argentina) or "tres uve(s) dobles" (Spain).

In Italian it is commonly shortened to "vu, vu, vu".

In Mandarin Chinese, "World Wide Web" is commonly translated via phono-semantic matching to wàn wéi wǎng (万维网), which satisfies "www" and literally means "myriad dimensional net". (or "ten-thousand dimensional net"?), creating an elegant pun on the three w’s and the original meaning. In daily life, many Chinese speakers also prefer the "3w" form, a combination of Chinese pronunciation of "3" (sān) and English pronunciation of "w" (double you).


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