how do you pronounce kratom

Kratom Pronunciation

Kratom Pronunciation: Uncovering the Variations and Origins

Pronunciation can be a tricky subject, especially when it comes to words borrowed from other languages or those with a complex history. One such word is 'kratom,' a popular herbal supplement, which has generated considerable debate regarding its pronunciation. In this blog post, we will delve into the variations in the pronunciation of 'kratom,' explore its origins, and determine whether there is a "correct" way to say it.

Understanding Kratom's Origins

Before we can fully grasp the variations in pronunciation, it's essential to understand the origins of 'kratom.' Kratom, scientifically known as Mitragyna speciosa, is a tropical tree native to Southeast Asia, particularly in countries like Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. This plant has a rich cultural and historical significance in the region, as it has been used for centuries by indigenous communities for its stimulant and sedative properties.

Variations in Pronunciation of "Kratom"

The primary source of confusion when it comes to pronouncing 'kratom' stems from the linguistic differences between English and the languages of Southeast Asia. The word 'kratom' itself is derived from Thai, one of the prominent languages of the region. In Thai, the pronunciation is closer to "kruh-tum," with the "a" sound being a short, almost schwa-like vowel. However, when the word found its way into English, it underwent a transformation in pronunciation, which is where the variations begin.

  1. "KRAY-tum": The most common English pronunciation of 'kratom' is "KRAY-tum." This pronunciation emphasizes the long "a" sound, akin to words like "crayon" or "crave."

  2. "KRAH-tum": Another frequently heard pronunciation is "KRAH-tum." In this case, the "a" sound is pronounced as a short, flat vowel, similar to the Thai pronunciation.

  3. "KRAH-tohm": Some people opt for a more phonetic approach and say "KRAH-tohm," enunciating each syllable separately.

Is There a Correct Pronunciation of 'Kratom'?

Now, the million-dollar question: Is there a "correct" way to pronounce 'kratom'? The answer is somewhat subjective. Both "KRAY-tum" and "KRAH-tum" are widely accepted, and you'll hear them used interchangeably in everyday conversations. The variation in pronunciation primarily depends on your linguistic background, personal preference, and the regional dialect you're accustomed to.

The important thing to remember is that, regardless of how you pronounce it, the meaning and recognition of 'kratom' remain the same. What matters most is effective communication, and as long as you can convey your message clearly, the pronunciation variation is not a critical issue.

Origins of the Variations

The variations in 'kratom' pronunciation can be attributed to the way words from foreign languages are adapted and integrated into the English language. English has a long history of borrowing words from other languages, and during this process, the pronunciation and even the meaning of words can evolve.

In the case of 'kratom,' English speakers naturally adapted the pronunciation to fit the phonetic patterns and sounds of the English language. This is a common phenomenon when foreign words become part of everyday English vocabulary.


In the world of language, there isn't always a one-size-fits-all answer. When it comes to 'kratom' pronunciation, you have the freedom to choose between "KRAY-tum" and "KRAH-tum" based on your preferences and linguistic background. Remember, the variations in pronunciation stem from the rich history of word borrowing in the English language and the influence of the source language, Thai. The key is to ensure effective communication, no matter how you choose to pronounce this fascinating herbal supplement's name. So, feel free to say "KRAY-tum" or "KRAH-tum" - both are acceptable, and both will get your point across.

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