Pronunciation of "www"
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</tr> </table> WWW (or www) is an initialism for World Wide Web. In English, WWW is the longest possible three-letter abbreviation when spoken, requiring six to nine syllables, whereas the twelve letters in "World Wide Web" are pronounced with three syllables. The English writer Douglas Adams once quipped:
The World Wide Web is the only thing I know of whose shortened form takes three times longer to say than what it's short for.
Tim Berners-Lee refuted suggestions to change the World Wide Web name over pronunciation issues, arguing that this peculiar feature of the name would make it memorable. As his invention gradually gained ubiquity, it came to be called simply "the Web", an echo to "the Net".
In standard English pronunciation, www is pronounced by individually pronouncing the names of the letters (/ˈdʌbəl.juː ˈdʌbəl.juː ˈdʌbəl.juː/ or double-u double-u double-u). However, in colloquial speech the name of the letter W is sometimes shortened. In some parts of the United states, the l is often dropped and the u reduced, for /ˈdʌbəjə ˈdʌbəjə ˈdʌbəjə/, whereas in the Southern United States W is reduced to two-syllables, /ˈdʌbjə ˈdʌbjə ˈdʌbjə/. The latter pronunciation is often used by people further north who normally have a three-syllable pronunciation for a single letter W. Since there are three double-us, which multiplies out to six, the abbreviation could arguably be pronounced sextuple u, but this is rarely used.
An abbreviation W3, pronounced /ˈdʌbəl juː ˈkjuːbd/ ("double-u cubed"), is inspired from mathematical notation for exponentiation (W raised to the 3rd power). Many of the original papers describing the World Wide Web abbreviated it this way, and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) was named according to this early usage. The original W3C logo had a superscript 3 and the consortium's domain name is still
In many languages which give the letter W a name that translates to "double V", each w is substituted by a v, so www is shortened to "vvv" instead. Another practice is to use a numeric shortcut that translates w-w-w as triple W. For instance:
In some languages, such as Estonian, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish and Danish, it is common practice to say "ve" instead of "dobbelt-ve" in abbreviations, so "www" becomes "ve, ve, ve". This is also used by Romanian, Serbian, etc. In Danish, it is also usual to say "tre gange dobbelt-ve" ("three times double u").
Most French speakers prefer the "3w" form, pronounced "trois doubles-vés" (most television and radio commercials in French speaking countries use this pronunciation) or - less frequently - "triple double-vé".
In Spanish "3w" can be either "uve doble uve doble uve doble", "tres uve dobles", "triple uve doble", "triple doble u", "doble u, doble u, doble u", "ve doble, ve doble, ve doble" (Latin America), "doble ve, doble ve, doble ve" (Argentina) or "tres uve(s) dobles" (Spain).
In Italian it is commonly shortened to "vu, vu, vu".
In Mandarin Chinese, "World Wide Web" is commonly translated via phono-semantic matching to wàn wéi wǎng (万维网), which satisfies "www" and literally means "myriad dimensional net". (or "ten-thousand dimensional net"?), creating an elegant pun on the three w’s and the original meaning. In daily life, many Chinese speakers also prefer the "3w" form, a combination of Chinese pronunciation of "3" (sān) and English pronunciation of "w" (double you).