Never Too Old To Learn

A BGG geeklist comment taught me something I never knew. Read aloud the following sentence:

Playing board games is his forte.

How many syllables did you give the word ‘forte’? Wrap me up and call me “hambone” but the correct pronunciation has only one syllable.


for·te (fôr'tā', fôrt, fōrt) pronunciation n.   1. Something in which a person excels.   2. The strong part of a sword blade, between the middle and the hilt.[French fort, from Old French, strong, from Latin fortis. See fort.]SYNONYMS  forte, métier, specialty, thing. These nouns denotesomething at which a person is particularly skilled: Writing fiction is her forte. The theater is his métier. The professor's specialty was the study of ancient languages. Mountain climbing is really my thing.USAGE NOTE   The word forte, coming from French fort, should properly be pronounced with one syllable, like the English word fort. Common usage, however, prefers the two-syllable pronunciation, (fôr'tā'), which has been influenced possibly by the music term forte borrowed from Italian. In a recent survey a strong majority of the Usage Panel, 74 percent, preferred the two-syllable pronunciation. The result is a delicate situation; speakers who are aware of the origin of the word may wish to continue to pronounce it as one syllable but at an increasing risk of puzzling their listeners.

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