I pronounce OM-micron, you say OM-micron. You also say OMY-cron. How do YOU pronounce the Covid strain that was named after the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet?

  • BBC pronounced the word as OMMI-cron, with heavy emphasis placed on the first syllable.
  • Mary Beard (Historian) took to twitter to voice her disapproval of the historical process pronunciation
  • However, three experts in language said that the emphasis would be on the first syllable. 

Fears in Britain, and elsewhere around the globe that the global fight against an epidemic which has plagued the country for two years has increased with the introduction of Omicron coronavirus have prompted concern.

Now, however, there is a new conflict: how to pronounce the variant’s names, which are the 15th and fifteenth letters in the Greek alphabet.

It is pronounced as “OM-micron” by the BBC, with emphasis on its first syllable.

Mary Beard, a well-known classicist and historian took to Twitter on Sunday to critique the emphasis placed by the corporation.

She stated that she was not a technical, ancient linguist. It is a little odd to me that BBC News uses omicron without stressing the first syllable.

One Telegraph reader wrote that it was clear that no one at BBC has studied Greek. They said they should pronounce the word ‘oh my-cron’ with emphasis on the second vowel.

Jess Brammar (the BBC’s editor for news) responded on Twitter, “Guilty as Charged, I didn’t do Greek at school.”

But language experts believe it might be better to say Omicron the BBC prefers.

Confusion has broken out over the correct way to pronounce the name of the new coronavirus variant. The BBC has pronounced it as 'OM-mi-cron', with heavy emphasis on the first syllable

The correct pronunciation of the coronavirus type has caused confusion. It is pronounced “OM-micron” by the BBC, with heavy emphasis placed on the first syllable.

Oxford scientist Professor Aris Katzourakis told The Telegraph that native Greek speakers of English should use the word “oh-mecron” with emphasis on the letter o.

Richard Catling is an assistant editor of Lexicon of Greek Personal Names. He stated that it’s more precise to emphasize the first syllable than the second.

Emma Aston from the Department of Classics said: “For a Classicist, such as me, O-mikron pronunciation (emphasis in the first syllable and that syllable an abbreviated o like English ‘box’) is preferred.”

On Sunday, well-known historian and classicist Mary Beard took to Twitter to criticise the corporation's choice of emphasis

Mary Beard (a well-known scholar and classicalist) took to Twitter Sunday to complain about the choice of emphasis by the corporation

A Telegraph reader added in a letter that 'clearly' no-one at the BBC had studied Greek at school, because they said the word should be pronounced 'oh-my-cron', 'with the emphasis on the second syllable'

In a note to the Telegraph, he stated that no one from the BBC had ever studied Greek. He said they should have pronounced the word ‘oh my-cron’ with emphasis on the second.

In response, Jess Brammar, the editor of the BBC's news channel, joked on Twitter: 'Guilty as charged, I did not do Greek at school'

Jess Brammar was the BBC’s News Channel editor and he responded with a joke on Twitter. ‘Guilty to charged, but I did not study Greek at school.

China critics criticized the World Health Organisation after they announced that the Omicron variant was to be called ‘Nu’ and ‘Xi.   

New variants were named by the health agency after Greek characters, rather than May’s location. 

According to them, the names of the new labels were easy to understand and didn’t contain any stigmatizing words.  

The World Health Organisation was criticised by critics of China after it announced the name of the Omicron variant, instead of 'Nu' or 'Xi'

China critics criticized the World Health Organisation after they announced that the Omicron variant was to be called ‘Nu’ and ‘Xi.

Despite the fact that Nu and Xi were the next letters available in the alphabet, to avoid any confusion with the term ‘new,’ the WHO ignored the latter and avoided Xi.

Critics claimed that this decision was more proof that the WHO is “scared” of China’s Communist regime. 

This organization has been accused in the past of leading a whitewash inquiry into origins of pandemic in Wuhan, China.    

Ted Cruz of Texas tweeted, “If the WHO seems so scared by the Chinese Communist Party then how can they trust them to name them the next time they attempt to conceal a devastating global pandemic?”