How to pronounce bury and buried

How to pronounce bury and buried

The verb to bury generally means to hide or put something in the ground. It is of course often used in the context of funerals, and less frequently in the context of hidden treasures. The pronunciation of the words bury and buried (the simple past of bury) is less straight-froward than expected. The standard (British and American) pronunciations are [ˈberi] and [ˈberid], listen here. Hence, bury is pronounced exactly like berry!

An alternative but much less common pronunciation is [ˈbɜːri] (listed here), with the letter u pronounced as in the American pronunciation of words such as hurry, curry (see also here), or current. This variant seems to be restricted to local dialects. For a brief historical discussion of see here.

Since a number of readers have difficulty believing this to be true (including native speakers), let me remind you that English pronunciation is far from logical or systematic. Just think about the words iron and irony! If you listen closely to the people around you and in the media, you will soon notice what the commonly used pronunciation of bury is.


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