How do you pronounce the word "G-d"?

Pax Christi!

And to my Jewish friends, Shalom!

Just as the title of this thread asks, how is “G-d” voiced? As in: spoken out loud. Do you pronounce the “G” and then the “d”, like “guh”-“duh”? Or do you simply pronounce it as with the “o” in there, since this English-language word is clearly not the Tetragrammaton?

Thank you. And G-d bless the Jews!

Writing the Name of God

Jews do not casually write any Name of God. This practice does not come from the commandment not to take the Lord’s Name in vain, as many suppose. In Jewish thought, that commandment refers solely to oath-taking, and is a prohibition against swearing by God’s Name falsely or frivolously (the word normally translated as “in vain” literally means “for falsehood”).

Judaism does not prohibit writing the Name of God per se; it prohibits only erasing or defacing a Name of God. However, observant Jews avoid writing any Name of God casually because of the risk that the written Name might later be defaced, obliterated or destroyed accidentally or by one who does not know better.

The commandment not to erase or deface the name of God comes from Deut. 12:3. In that passage, the people are commanded that when they take over the promised land, they should destroy all things related to the idolatrous religions of that region, and should utterly destroy the names of the local deities. Immediately afterwards, we are commanded not to do the same to our God. From this, the rabbis inferred that we are commanded not to destroy any holy thing, and not to erase or deface a Name of God.

It is worth noting that this prohibition against erasing or defacing Names of God applies only to Names that are written in some kind of permanent form. Orthodox rabbis have held that writing on a computer is not a permanent form, thus it is not a violation to type God’s Name into a computer and then backspace over it or cut and paste it, or copy and delete files with God’s Name in them. However, once you print the document out, it becomes a permanent form. That is why observant Jews avoid writing a Name of God online: because there is a risk that someone else will print it out and deface it. See a 1998 discussion of the issue at The Sanctity of God’s Name, Part 1: Erasing Sacred Texts from a Computer Screen if you’re interested, but be aware that the lengthy article is thick with technical religious jargon, not always explained.

Normally, we avoid writing the Name by substituting letters or syllables, for example, writing “G-d” instead of “God.” In addition, the number 15, which would ordinarily be written in Hebrew as Yod-Hei (10-5), is normally written as Teit-Vav (9-6), because Yod-Hei is a Name. See Hebrew Alphabet for more information about using letters as numerals.


Pronouncing the Name of God

Nothing in the Torah prohibits a person from pronouncing the Name of God. Indeed, it is evident from scripture that God’s Name was pronounced routinely. Many common Hebrew names contain “Yah” or “Yahu,” part of God’s four-letter Name. The Name was pronounced as part of daily services in the Temple.

The Mishnah confirms that there was no prohibition against pronouncing The Name in ancient times. In fact, the Mishnah recommends using God’s Name as a routine greeting to a fellow Jew. Berakhot 9:5. However, by the time of the Talmud, it was the custom to use substitute Names for God. Some rabbis asserted that a person who pronounces YHVH according to its letters (instead of using a substitute) has no place in the World to Come, and should be put to death. Instead of pronouncing the four-letter Name, we usually substitute the Name “Adonai,” or simply say “Ha-Shem” (lit. The Name).

Although the prohibition on pronunciation applies only to the four-letter Name, Jews customarily do not pronounce any of God’s many Names except in prayer or study. The usual practice is to substitute letters or syllables, so that Adonai becomes Adoshem or Ha-Shem; Elohaynu and Elohim become Elokaynu and Elokim; Eil becomes Keil, etc.

With the Temple destroyed and the prohibition on pronouncing The Name outside of the Temple, pronunciation of the Name fell into disuse. Scholars passed down knowledge of the correct pronunciation of YHVH for many generations, but eventually the correct pronunciation was lost, and we no longer know it with any certainty. We do not know what vowels were used, or even whether the Vav in the Name was a vowel or a consonant. See Hebrew Alphabet for more information about the difficulties in pronouncing Hebrew. Some religious scholars suggest that the Name was pronounced “Yahweh,” but others do not find this pronunciation particularly persuasive. Historian Flavius Josephus, who was born a kohein at a time when the pronunciation of the Name was still known, said that the name was four vowels (War of the Jews, Book V, Chapter 5), probably referring to the fact that each of the four consonants in the name can serve in Hebrew as a vowel or vowel marker. See Hebrew Alphabet.

Some people render the four-letter Name as “Jehovah,” but this pronunciation is particularly unlikely. The word “Jehovah” comes from the fact that ancient Jewish texts used to put the vowels of the Name “Adonai” (the usual substitute for YHVH) under the consonants of YHVH to remind people not to pronounce YHVH as written. A sixteenth century German Christian scribe, while transliterating the Bible into Latin for the Pope, wrote the Name out as it appeared in his texts, with the consonants of YHVH and the vowels of Adonai, and came up with the word JeHoVaH (“J” is pronounced “Y” in German), and the name stuck.


The quoted passages I posted above appear to refer to Orthodox Judaism only. Perhaps one of our Jewish friends can clarify further.

Pronounce it as if the letter “o” was actually between the “G” and the “d”.

Coming originally from a Jewish background, I had one year at Hebrew school. It is primarily the Orthodox (and the Conservative) who will omit the letter “o”, so as to prevent the word of “God” from being defaced at some later date or time. And yes, I do believe that is a bit extreme, but it is their belief, so who am I to question that one?

Pronounce it as if the letter “o” was actually between the “G” and the “d”.

Coming originally from a Jewish background, I had one year at Hebrew school. It is primarily the Orthodox (and the Conservative) who will omit the letter “o”, so as to prevent the word of “God” from being defaced at some later date or time. And yes, I do believe that is a bit extreme, but it is their belief, so who am I to question that one?

Hello Savinggrace.

Although I am not a Jew, I’m Catholic, my father was a Jew as was his father and so on way back…His uncle was a Rabbi and his mother, my grandmother kept kosher. This use of the name of Yahweh was once discussed at our dinner table and it was said that it was bunko. There is no name of God that was "lost’ and then “rediscovered” by Scripture scholars later in history. The use of the term Yahweh as if it is a valid name for God is untrue and that from the lips of a man who knew - my dad. The “scholarship” that came up with it was phoney. Sorry if that seems like a detraction or an insult to those of you who have become convinced that there is some great spiritual benefit to knowing the secret name used by the Jews in the Temple to invoke God. I trust my dad’s instruction regarding the popular use of the term Yahweh to sound as if you know lots about being a Jew and have adapted Jewish culture into your Christianity, and want to seem Jewish friendly, well my dad and those like him found it insulting. No Jew would ever repeat the Name of God outside the Temple, EVER! And that meant discussing it’s use among Gentiles too which all of us are to them. That too would be undoable. Because it is a sin to do so and those who live as Jews wouldn’t even think of talking about God to us least they become the occasion of sin regarding the Holy Name.

As for your original question, how do I pronounce the name of God? I put my lips together and say JESUS!


I am not the original poster. Kindly direct your pompous post to the OP. My first two responses to the OP are direct quotes from as stated at the bottom of each post. If you have a problem with their explanation, I suggest you contact them.

When I was younger, I went to a school that had many Jewish children and I attended about 20 Bat Mitzvah and about six Bat Mitzvah (orthodox and reformed) - and being an uneducated agnostic, I committed may ‘insults’ - I say on the wrong side, I didn’t cover my head and countless other insults and I never ever was presumed to be intentionally doing anything wrong out of spite - I was corrected with great love.

When I arrived early, I say down on the wrong side of a temple and and older gentlemen came and sat right next to me - he struck up a conversation and when he got to know me, he gently said “follow me and come sit next to me, we need to sit over there.”

When I accidentally didn’t cover my head, I had two people come bring me a cover and showed me how to wear it.

And frankly, If I said the tetragrammaton in a inappropriate place, I’m absolutely certain that my Jewish friends would correct me with kindness and not presume that I was falsely being jewish friendly.

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