Pronunciation of MeFi and MeFite?
March 1, 2006 10:01 PM   Subscribe

MeFi: may-fee [mefi] or mee-fie [mifaɪ]? Mefite: mee-fight or may-fight? I was a little disconcerted at a meet-up to realise that some people pronounce these terms differently than I do. Is there a dominant pronounciation? Any other variants? (idle curiosity of a linguistics student)
posted by heatherann to MetaFilter-Related at 10:01 PM (102 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

For me: mee-fie and mee-fight.

OTOH, I was very disconcerted to discover that the Achewood character "Philippe" was pronounced "fileep" and not "fi-lee-pay".
posted by evariste at 10:03 PM on March 1, 2006 [1 favorite]


I always thought "Meh-fee"

Then I started going to meetups and was roundly corrected to "Mee-fie"
posted by scarabic at 10:05 PM on March 1, 2006


Huh. I always thought meh-fee too, but then I've never been to a meetup. Actually, I don't know that I've ever said it out loud.
posted by danb at 10:06 PM on March 1, 2006


Mee-fie
Mee-fight
Meh-Tah

: >
posted by amberglow at 10:08 PM on March 1, 2006


Me-phi (long i sound).

Remember Me Phi Me, the "fraternity of one" hip hop guy?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:12 PM on March 1, 2006


Me? Fie!
Me fight anyone who pronounce it differently.

I'm the goddamn Juggernaut, bitch!
posted by Eideteker at 10:12 PM on March 1, 2006


Yea I say Me Fie (as in f eye)... and Me-fight...

The way I see it, you can look at it one of two ways:

1) Its own little word, in which case "Mee-Fie" probably makes the most sense for pronunciation.

2) Truly to be prounounced as an abbreviation of Metafilter -- in which case It would be more like Meh-Fih.. which is just so much harder to roll off the tongue that you may as well just spit out "metafilter" at that point.
posted by twiggy at 10:18 PM on March 1, 2006


Noo-cue-lar, it's pronounced noo-cue-lar.
posted by aaronetc at 10:30 PM on March 1, 2006


mee-fie-fo-fum, I smell the blood of an englishmun.
posted by crunchland at 10:32 PM on March 1, 2006


For me: mee-fie and mee-fight.

Ditto. This has come up a few times before, and I was also mildly surprised that other people mentally pronounced (and actually said, I guess, given meetups) them differently.

But then, I imagine my saying maytafilter as opposed to mehtafilter is probably one of the last shreds of my Canadian accent rearing its cheesehead, so who am I to talk.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:50 PM on March 1, 2006


meffy and meffite.
posted by mayfly wake at 11:04 PM on March 1, 2006


So if you go for oysters and I go for ersters, I'll order oysters and cancel the ersters
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:15 PM on March 1, 2006


Sorry, I cant pronounce it as anything other than meh-fee and meh-fite, which is the same as mayfly wake I think but not in heatherann's initial post.
posted by vacapinta at 11:16 PM on March 1, 2006


"Mee-fie"

That's so weird! So does that mean those people pronounce the full name MEEtafilter? I've always said it meh-tah-filter, and the short version meh-fee.
posted by zarah at 11:19 PM on March 1, 2006


It's Meh-TuhFilter not Mee-TuhFilter

So why Mee-fight?
posted by scarabic at 11:21 PM on March 1, 2006


jinx, zarah
posted by scarabic at 11:21 PM on March 1, 2006


It's Meh-TuhFilter not Mee-TuhFilter

So why Mee-fight?


True, but then AskMe would be Ask-Meh, which doesn't have the nice association of asking a particular person for advice (I've always liked the fact that Ask Metafilter abbreviates into something which makes sense on its own). I've always gone for Mee-Fie etc. I think Twiggy has nailed it - Meh-Fi is a lot harder to trip off the tongue, at least for me.
posted by greycap at 11:29 PM on March 1, 2006


One variation is all limp and wispy and gurly-sounding, the other is all (borderline homo-erotic) gladiatorial muscularity. I leave it to you to guess which is which.

Both, however, are just fine. Except the one I don't say. Heh.

So why Mee-fight?

Me fight you, you fight, we fight each other. It's just funnier that way. Also, it's like the suffix we sometimes use for denizens of cities or states -- Isrealite, Seoulite, Vancouverite, Mefite. Works on multiple levels, doncha know.

True, but then AskMe would be Ask-Meh

Aye. But then again, I say MeTa like I say Meta, which is to say mayta, which is totally not consistent with my Meef-eye pronunciation!

Again, for me, 'Me' sounds like me, which is pretty uncontroversial. 'Fi' sounds like fi - taking the cue from hi-fi, I'd venture.

I can't believe I'm thinking about this again.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:43 PM on March 1, 2006


Meh-ta
Meh-fite
Mehtafilter
Ask-mee
posted by stray at 12:04 AM on March 2, 2006


I think this was discussed this in a London meetup once and at least I gathered that the only proper way was Meh-fee. And Meh-fight. But stavros, why do you say mayta? Have I been wrong all my life or is this a UK/US/Canada difference?
posted by keijo at 12:38 AM on March 2, 2006


But I guess you can say it whatever bloody way you want. And I can't understand that I'm thinking about this again either. Makes me wonder about some words and names though that I have only really read online and then tried to say and wondering how they should be said.
posted by keijo at 12:41 AM on March 2, 2006


Oh sorry stavros, I missed your earlier comment about Canadian accents. Never mind.
posted by keijo at 12:43 AM on March 2, 2006


Mehtafilter (no 'h' sound)

Meh-fi
Meh-tah (slight 'h' sound at the end)
Ask-mee

Meh-fite

Anything else is wrong.
posted by Ryvar at 12:43 AM on March 2, 2006


I've always pronounced it "My Fi". It makes no sense, but sounds a lot nicer than "meh fuh".
posted by Gary at 12:44 AM on March 2, 2006


the 'fi' in Meh-fi is 'fye' FYI

Also Ryvar rhymes with 'guy bar'
posted by Ryvar at 12:46 AM on March 2, 2006


One more vote in the camp of:

Meh-tuh-fill-terr and Meh-Tah (ahh not uhh)
*but*
MeeFye and MeeFite [mifaɪt]

No explanation why, but it's right dammit.

Universal knowledge of IPA would make this so much easier...
posted by SuperNova at 12:58 AM on March 2, 2006 [1 favorite]


Scarabic, I am with you on "Meh-fee". "Mee-fie" is crazy talk.
posted by nthdegx at 1:23 AM on March 2, 2006


Miffy? Nope, can't be "Mee-fee"........them bunnies are over at Metcha.
posted by Iamtherealme at 1:32 AM on March 2, 2006


I can't envision pronouncing any other meta-prefixed word with a long e sound. Meetamorphosis just sounds wrong to my ears, so for me it's definitely Metafilter and Metatalk with short e sounds. Meh.

But MeFi and MeFite have long e sounds over here, simply because I see the word Me in there.
posted by emelenjr at 1:32 AM on March 2, 2006


Hah. Meta-prefixed is a meta-prefixed word. I just blew my own mind.
posted by emelenjr at 1:35 AM on March 2, 2006


Mee-fie. Mee-fight. Ask-Mee. Mettuh.

So says this New Zealander, and we like strange vowels, so I'll be disappointed if this proves to be the consensus.
posted by The Monkey at 2:05 AM on March 2, 2006


True, but then AskMe would be Ask-Meh, which doesn't have the nice association of asking a particular person for advice

I'm sure there must be some Mancunians on the site who pronounce it like that, with the association intact.

Otherwise, consider my gast seriously flabbered - Mee-fee, mee-figh mee-tah!?!?! Really never occured to me that anyone would wilfully mispronounce it like that because the first half of the contraction looks like the word 'me.' Thank God Mark E. Smith isn't a member, or my brain-ah would fall out-ah.

But then again, I say MeTa like I say Meta, which is to say mayta

What, like what a posh person would call their mother? As in, 'Mater, may I bugger the stable-boy after supper?'

I think we should all intone our personal pronunciations into our computers, upload MP3s and craft some sort of Kurt Schwitters-esque sound poem podcast thingy.
posted by jack_mo at 2:11 AM on March 2, 2006


I avoid the whole thing by sticking with "metafilter".....I tend to think in terms of the two words "me" and "fi" as in hi-fi, but I can't reconcile that with the pronunciation of metafilter. MeTa is easy, AskMe is easy, calculus was easy, but pronouncing "MeFi"? That stumps me.
posted by Iamtherealme at 2:18 AM on March 2, 2006


Am I the only one??

- Mayfie

- Maytafilter

- Mayfight

I thought these were the most obvious pronunciations.
posted by dgaicun at 3:38 AM on March 2, 2006


It's meefie because we write it in shorthand as MeFi. So, long e. Not sure why the i is long; it just sounds better.
posted by onlyconnect at 3:42 AM on March 2, 2006


'MehtaFilter', is just like "Meh", like you're bored off your ass or something, and 'Mee-ta' either sounds arrogant or pornographic. And don't even get me started on "may-fee". "May-fee"? Wha'?

'Mayfie'. 'Mayta'. These are strong, proud sounds.
posted by dgaicun at 3:45 AM on March 2, 2006


meh fee is what I say.
posted by philcliff at 3:46 AM on March 2, 2006


'It's meefie' . . .

It's always about 'meefie' with you, isn't it? Never 'youfie' or 'usfie' or 'wefie', just 'me', 'me', 'me'.

meh fee

Aaaaarghhh.
posted by dgaicun at 3:49 AM on March 2, 2006


To the users who are putting a long a sound on the e in Meta (saying "Mayta") Are some/all of you in the UK?
posted by emelenjr at 3:57 AM on March 2, 2006


I alreays pronounced it (in my head, having never been to a meetup) as Mee-fie. It always reminds me of "hi-fi" when I look at it, so I pronounce it the same way that I pronounce that.
posted by antifuse at 4:42 AM on March 2, 2006


To the users who are putting a long a sound on the e in Meta (saying "Mayta") Are some/all of you in the UK?

Canadian in Korea. But I lived in Australia for 4 years. Then again, those crazy Aussie motherfuckers say 'beeta' for beta (which I, like all miraculous poultry, pronounce 'bayta').

I think we should all intone our personal pronunciations into our computers, upload MP3s

I'm totally uploading some mp3s when wake up tomorrow, you bastards...
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:50 AM on March 2, 2006


According to screenreader software:

MeFi == MeeFye (wrong it likes to try and do camel case as different words which is usually good except in this case.)

Mefi == mehfee (Right)
posted by Space Coyote at 5:00 AM on March 2, 2006


To the users who are putting a long a sound on the e in Meta (saying "Mayta") Are some/all of you in the UK?

Doubt it - that pronunciation would be considered incorrect here, or some sort of odd affectation.

Then again, those crazy Aussie motherfuckers say 'beeta' for beta

Those crazy Aussie motherfuckers are right! At least that's how I was taught to pronounce it when doing Greek at school (by pedants so extreme they'd give you a detention for inelegant use of the semi-colon, so I'm inclined to believe them). Beta rhymes with theta, or do some folk pronounce that 'theyta'?

Shouldn't languagehat be telling us we're all correct around now?
posted by jack_mo at 5:07 AM on March 2, 2006


Meh-ta
Meh-fite
Mehtafilter
Ask-mee


What stray said.
posted by languagehat at 5:30 AM on March 2, 2006


Beta rhymes with theta, or do some folk pronounce that 'theyta'

Yup, and both rhyme with "layta".

MeFi = mee-fie. You people really go around saying "meffie" in your heads? Explains a lot.
posted by gleuschk at 5:31 AM on March 2, 2006


MayFie (I'm not in the UK)

MehtaFilter

MayTa (still not in the UK)

Sorry, but the rest of you are wrong. (Don't feel bad; I'm sure you're right about a lot of other things.)
posted by taz at 5:35 AM on March 2, 2006


Meh-fee
Meh-fight
May-tah
Ahsk-mee

Netherlands.

Let's call the whole thing off.

(BTW, the "Meh Fee" can also be defined as "the sum of five dollars".)
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:45 AM on March 2, 2006


Meh-ta
Meh-fite
Mehtafilter



Meh.
posted by dgaicun at 5:48 AM on March 2, 2006


cf. May!
posted by dgaicun at 5:50 AM on March 2, 2006


MehFi, with a short Fi. So, "Methy" with a slight speech impediment really.
posted by fvw at 5:55 AM on March 2, 2006


MaytaFilter, MaytaTalk.
AskMe, MeeFee, MeeFite.

Is the 'May' in my Meta a Canadian thing? Huh. Cool. I never would have guessed.

In reading the responses and thinking about my own pronunciations, I realised that it makes no sense that I use the 'May' sound when I use the whole world, and the 'Mee' sound in the shorthand, but that's just the way I've read it. Now I'm confused about it a bit. I wonder if I'll change it now, or just blindly and stubbornly continue on like this.

Probably the latter option.
posted by raedyn at 6:15 AM on March 2, 2006


I say tom-ah-toe, but only infrequently.
posted by NinjaPirate at 6:16 AM on March 2, 2006


meeeeeeee

I see the shorthands as different words altogether, and pronounce them accordingly.
posted by kosem at 6:24 AM on March 2, 2006


I agree with raedyn, regarding my own inconsistency with Mehtafilter vs. MeFi. But I have to say I'm pleased to know that Vicki doesn't think I've been pronouncing it wrong all this time.
posted by emelenjr at 6:25 AM on March 2, 2006


So does that mean those people pronounce the full name MEEtafilter? I've always said it meh-tah-filter, and the short version meh-fee.

Why would it be meh-fee? You don't say meh-tah-feelter like with a thick terrible Speedy Gonzalez accent, do you? Surely by your logic it should be meh-fih.

Where Mee-Fye comes from, IMHO:

MeFi is a cognate to HiFi, so the Fi is a Fye not a Fee. Then you say the Me as if it were its own word, like with HiFi, so it's Mee-Fye.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:31 AM on March 2, 2006


I use Mehta-filter although I've heard the "meta" prefix pronounced Mayta fairly often. I think it's a Canadian thing that's made it's way into the upper midwest US as well.

I pronounce MeFi how I'd pronounce "Me" and "Fi" alone: Mee-Fie. MehtaFilter. Mehta for MeTa, since it's spelled the same as the prefix. Mee-Fite for the people.
posted by mikeh at 6:32 AM on March 2, 2006


Is the 'May' in my Meta a Canadian thing? Huh. Cool. I never would have guessed.

I've never heard anyone say mayta in my lifetime and I've lived in 6 provinces. Damn, now I'm gonna have to poll everyone I meet today on their pronunciation 8)
posted by zarah at 6:34 AM on March 2, 2006


(saying "Mayta") Are some/all of you in the UK?

Is the 'May' in my Meta a Canadian thing?

I'm a 'Murcan. I'm saying it the 'Murcan way, dammit.
posted by dgaicun at 6:42 AM on March 2, 2006


Look Merriam-Webster dictionary even affirms my way of pronouncing 'Meta': 'mA-tä'.

Click their accompanying sound file. No 'Meh' to be found.
posted by dgaicun at 7:06 AM on March 2, 2006


Is the 'May' in my Meta a Canadian thing?
Not for this Canadian. I've got it down to being meh-fie, meh-fite, but AskMe with a me, not a meh.
posted by Meagan at 7:07 AM on March 2, 2006


It's spelled, "Mefi," but it's pronounced "Throat Warbler Mangrove." /monty python
posted by langedon at 8:14 AM on March 2, 2006


mee-fie
posted by matteo at 8:17 AM on March 2, 2006


one problem too, is that Mehfee (or Miffy) sounds like one of Hello Kitty's cartoon friends, which doesn't fit.

I go with the hi-fi, lo-fi, no-fi, mee-fi, mee-fite reasoning, and Meh-ta just fits better bec it's how you pronounce meta anyway. (i think i would burst out laughing at a meetup if anyone ever said "Ask-meh" tho)
posted by amberglow at 8:27 AM on March 2, 2006


Look Merriam-Webster dictionary even affirms my way of pronouncing 'Meta': 'mA-tä'.

Unless I'm very much mistaken, dgaicun, MetaFilter isn't named after the river in NE Colombia flowing into the Orinoco on Venezuela-Colombia boundary to which you link ;-)
posted by jack_mo at 8:27 AM on March 2, 2006


But then again, I say MeTa like I say Meta, which is to say mayta

OMG stavros, do you also WARSH your hands :D
posted by scarabic at 8:28 AM on March 2, 2006


I think Americans just go for the long vowels instinctively. Look at the way they warp foreign words and names for more examples.

Iraq: pronounced "ee-rahk" in the Arab world, but pronounced "eye-rak" in America.
posted by scarabic at 8:30 AM on March 2, 2006


It's testing-stage beta
for rendering "MeTa";
so be a dear, Greta,
and fetch me the feta.
posted by cortex at 8:33 AM on March 2, 2006


Unless I'm very much mistaken, dgaicun, MetaFilter isn't named after the river in NE Colombia . . .

Oh, so we can read Matt's mind now too, can we?
posted by dgaicun at 8:42 AM on March 2, 2006


Iraq: pronounced "ee-rahk" in the Arab world, but pronounced "eye-rak" in America

s/in America/by Bush

Moist people I know, in Texas even, call it Ih-rack or Ih-rock, with an ih like in "it."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:46 AM on March 2, 2006


I'm American. I used to pronounce it "mayta-filter," but have since changed over to "meh-tuh-filter," which seems to be more standard. I also say "Mee-fie" and "Mee-fight," and can't imagine saying it "meh-fee" or anything like that.
posted by ludwig_van at 8:47 AM on March 2, 2006


Meh-ta
Meh-fite
Mehtafilter
Ask-mee


What stray said. Or, rather, how he said it.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:48 AM on March 2, 2006


Coke, all fizzy drinks are called "coke" except Coke which is called "co-cola."

Mee-Fie
Meh-Ta
Meh-Ta Filter
Bay-ta Testing
Ask-Mee
posted by Pollomacho at 8:54 AM on March 2, 2006


Me-phi (long i sound).
posted by mathowie at 1:12 AM EST on March 2


Does it get more definitive than that? I would spell the pronunciation differently, but I would say it the same.

Me-Fi, Ask-Me, Meh-Ta, Me-Fight or Metafilltonian (ok, kidding on the last bit)
posted by Hanover Phist at 9:13 AM on March 2, 2006


Reading all the way down here - I'm confused.

This looks like a perfect question for a poll:

-Choice of pronunciation
-Country of Origin
--if US, what state?
-Do you speak any other languages?
posted by vacapinta at 9:23 AM on March 2, 2006


dgaicun said 'Oh, so we can read Matt's mind now too, can we?'

Hee! If it is a site about the Meta river, we've drifted seriously off-topic over the years.
posted by jack_mo at 9:28 AM on March 2, 2006


MuFuh


posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:35 AM on March 2, 2006


And did Jeff Bezos "drift seriously off topic" when he started selling books on Amazon.com?
posted by dgaicun at 9:38 AM on March 2, 2006


*tries to think of joke involving 'eBay' and 'swimming against the tide'*

*fails*
posted by jack_mo at 9:42 AM on March 2, 2006


all fizzy drinks are called "coke" except Coke which is called "co-cola."

I have tried to explain this to Northerners and failed utterly.
posted by gleuschk at 10:10 AM on March 2, 2006


Meh-fee
Meh-ta
Meh-fite
Mehtafilter
Ask-mee
posted by Penks at 10:18 AM on March 2, 2006


everyone around me here says "meh"-fee. But I don't feel so "meh" about MeFi and much prefer the mee-fie pronunciation.
posted by whatzit at 10:23 AM on March 2, 2006


do you also WARSH your hands - scarabic

I've only ever heard one person say that - my Grandfather (Canadian prairie farm boy through and through). That brings up a lot of memories.
posted by raedyn at 10:45 AM on March 2, 2006


Meh-fee

So if you say "meh" because of how you pronounce "meta", does that mean you ordinarly pronounce "filter" as "feelter"?

Abbreviations have their own pronunciations that make sense for themselves and are not necessarily tied to the pronunciation of the root word. If you saw "MeFi" and didn't know it was short for "MetaFilter," how would you pronounce it? Then that's how it's pronounced.
posted by kindall at 10:45 AM on March 2, 2006


May Fi
Meh Tah
Ask Mee
May Fight
posted by squeak at 10:47 AM on March 2, 2006


Come to think of it I usually inexplicably call the blue My Fy. At least in my head. (Because it's mine!)
posted by onlyconnect at 10:53 AM on March 2, 2006


If you saw "MeFi" and didn't know it was short for "MetaFilter," how would you pronounce it? Then that's how it's pronounced.

I'd still pronounce it meh-fee, just like I would pronounce Mephisto and Mend and Mellifluous and, well, any word that begins with "Me" except of course the word "Me" itself, in isolation which it is not in the above cases.
posted by vacapinta at 10:55 AM on March 2, 2006


Actualy sinc the 'fi' comes from 'filter' it should actualy be pronounced something like "MeFih" With the same I sound as in Fish or Fin.
posted by delmoi at 11:16 AM on March 2, 2006


I just say "MayFiy" "may" like day, or clay, or lay "Fiy" like eye or bye or lie.
posted by delmoi at 11:17 AM on March 2, 2006


Hanover Phist says: Me-Fi, Ask-Me, Meh-Ta, Me-Fight or Metafilltonian

For some reason, I sometimes think "Metafiltron." Not sure why.
posted by kosem at 11:36 AM on March 2, 2006


Meffy. With a bit of a Ted Baxter inflection.
posted by jrossi4r at 11:41 AM on March 2, 2006


-Choice of pronunciation
Mee fie, mee fite, mee tah, ask mee, meh tah filter

-Country of Origin
U.S.

--if US, what state?
California, Texas, Washington, British Columbia

-Do you speak any other languages?
Nope

And numero uno agrees, so there!

Although I must admit I like the "may fie" pronunciation.

And, infrequently, the mister (a Canuck) sneaks in an "R" when he says "wash".
posted by deborah at 11:48 AM on March 2, 2006


kosen: For some reason, I sometimes think "Metafiltron."
Does that come in Autobot or Disepticon?
posted by Hanover Phist at 12:02 PM on March 2, 2006


I see the shorthands as different words altogether, and pronounce them accordingly.

The same for me. Although I pronounce Metafilter as meh-tah-filter, I say mee-fie and mee-fight when using the shortened forms. Don't know why.
posted by LeeJay at 12:12 PM on March 2, 2006


-Country of Origin
U.S.

--if US, what state?
California, Texas, Washington, British Columbia
- deborah

waitwaitwaitwait. The state of British Columbia? Did I miss something important? *head explodes*

The state of Alberta at least I could believe...
posted by raedyn at 2:02 PM on March 2, 2006


This is just aboot the best Mee-Tah thread ever.
posted by JeffK at 2:21 PM on March 2, 2006


OMFG! People! Mee-fi (like fee, fi, fo, fum), Meh-Tah, Ask Me,
Mehtuhfilter, Mehtuhtalk, AskMehtahfilter. What could be so hard about that? And, this is making me ROTF: "Moist people I know, in Texas even..." (posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:46 AM PST on March 2) . Hey, ROU, do you know any dry people in Texas?
posted by Lynsey at 2:41 PM on March 2, 2006


Jeeeeooooooooaaarrrb!
posted by danb at 4:54 PM on March 2, 2006


Mee-fi, ask-mee, mee-ta... but I'm an Aussie, so I don't expect to pronounce it the same way as most.
posted by pompomtom at 6:36 PM on March 2, 2006


It's Meef fie/fite. Ya don't like it, take it to Medduh Tawk.
posted by horsewithnoname at 8:32 PM on March 2, 2006


Now I'm wondering about the adjectival form.
posted by tangerine at 12:36 PM on March 3, 2006


The state of British Columbia?

Well, it is known as the "California of Canada"...
posted by deborah at 2:05 PM on March 3, 2006


How about: "that damn website you waste so much time reading" (from my better half) :)
posted by nielm at 1:15 AM on March 14, 2006


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