Pronunciation of words containing “ow”

Introduction

The letter combination ‘ow’ has two sounds: ‘o’ as in ‘go’ and ‘ow’ as in ‘how now cow’.  We will consider the ‘ow’ (how, now, cow) sound to be the standard pronunciation.  Some sample words are presented below in alphabetical order.  The exceptions (‘o’ sounds) are shown below with a 👌🏻 icon.  The other words use the standard pronunciation.

Sample Words

  • bow (bow) = to bend at the waist in respect; the front end of a ship
  • 👌🏻bow (bo) = rainbow, hairbow, bow and arrow; to bend under a heavy weight; a curve (not straight)
  • cow, cowl, cower (like sour, hour)
  • down, dowry
  • fowl, frown
  • how
  • jowl
  • 👌🏻low (lo)
  • 👌🏻mow (mo)
  • now
  • Ow!
  • owl
  • POW (p o w)  = an acronym for “prisoner of war”
  • Pow!
  • row (row) – argument
  • 👌🏻row (ro) – row and column; row of seats; rowboat; row with oars
  • scowl
  • sow (sow) – female pig; fat female woman (insult)
  • 👌🏻sow (so) – to plant crops
  • towel, town
  • 👌🏻tow (toe) – to pull
  • vow, vowel
  • Wow!
  • Yow! (like Ow!)

Sample Sentences

  1. The hotel doorman bowed to the guests as they entered the hotel.
  2. The little girl was wearing a hairbow that looked like a colorful rainbow.
  3. The little boy was carrying a toy bow and arrow in his hands.
  4. The bookshelf was filled with heavy books, causing the shelf to bow in the middle.
  5. A warship’s anchor is normally located near the bow.
  6. While they were rowing their boat down the river, a row broke out among the rowers about when to stop for lunch.
  7. The unfair treatment sowed discontent in the mob.
  8. Sayings:  As ye sow, so shall ye reap.
  9. The car was towing a trailer behind it.
  10. The beach often has a dangerous undertow current that can suddenly pull you far outward away from the shore. If you get caught in an undertow current, do not try to swim against it; you will lose. Instead, swim sideways parallel to the shore to get out of it more quickly.

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