The mispronunciation of height as heighth (with a th, rather than a t, sound at the end of the word) probably stems from the tendency to confuse it with similar words dealing with dimension, such as length, width, depth, and breadth. However, height is like the word weight in that it ends with only a t and not a th.


Posted in Pronunciation.

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  1. shelley says:

    Does no one know how to use a dictionary? It is definitely a word. Maybe “dialect” but still a word. Who writes these answers?

  2. Mo says:

    For reasons unknown to me, people are natural copy cats and when they hear a word mis-used they will pick it up. Even though they have been pronouncing it correctly up to that point. I have never pronounced it as heighth and it really irritates me when I hear it. English is a difficult language and Americans should take the time to speak correctly. It also itrritates ne when I hear people saying conversate instead of converse and overusing the word bring when they should be using the word take.

    • Christian says:

      People say things like “conversate” because, due to lack of true grammatical understanding, they think adding extra syllables makes it correct.

  3. Mike says:

    I would like to thank you for the post, and Will C for the citation to the OED. It’s somewhat nice to know that I simply didn’t misunderstand the pronunciation as a child, but that there is a very real history to the idiosyncratic way that I’ve pronounced it all these years.

    Thank to you both.

  4. Will C says:

    Please don’t be so ignorant as to post this. It’s not a mispronunciation. Not that I pronounce it heighth, I would be in full support of it being pronounced this way, or even spelt as such. Here’s what OED has to say:

    [OE. híeh_o (also later héah_u) = OLG. *hôhitha (MDu. hogede, hochte, hoochte, Du. hoogte, MLG. hogede, LG. högte), OHG. hôhida (MHG. hoehede), Goth. hauhi_a, f. hauh- HIGH + abstr. ending -i_a: see -TH1. From the 13th c. the final -th after -`, -gh varied with t (cf. drought, drouth). In ME. the forms in -t were predominant in the north, and since 1500 have increasingly prevailed in the literary language; though heighth, highth were abundant in southern writers till the 18th c., and are still affected by some. The stem-vowel has generally been ee, ey, ei, though forms in i occur from 13thc., esp. in northern writers, hicht being the typical Sc. form from 14th c.; in Eng. hight is found from 15th c., and was very common in 16th and 17th c.; highth was also very common in 17th c. and was the form used by Milton. The hei- forms come lineally down from OE. (Anglian héh_o); the hi- forms are due in the main to later assimilation to HIGH. Current usage is a compromise, retaining the spelling height (which has been by far the most frequent written form since 1500), with the pronunciation of hight.]

    (The underscore is that funny ‘b’/’D’-looking character which represents ‘th’ – it wouldn’t copy properly).