Pronouncing the Word Blessed



We sometimes receive inquiries from readers regarding the proper way to pronounce blessed. The word blessed can be pronounced in two different ways according to its part of speech in the sentence.

Rule 1. When blessed is used as a verb, it is pronounced with one syllable (blest).
Example: Before we ate, our uncle Tony blessed [blest] the meal.

Rule 2. When the word blessed is used as part of an adverb (blessedly) or a noun (blessedness), it is pronounced with two syllables (bles-id).
Examples:
She hugged him blessedly [bles-id-lee, adverb] upon learning he had quit his bad habit.
The Eucharist is revered for its blessedness [bles-id-nes, noun] within the Christian faith.

Rule 3. When blessed is used as an adjective, it is typically pronounced with two syllables (bles-id). However, in certain cases, it may be pronounced with only one syllable (blest) as an isolated instance of inflection developed through familiarity with American English.
Examples: Annie’s baptism was a blessed [bles-id] moment, particularly for her devoted grandparents.
Blessed [bles-id] are the poor. But The poor are blessed [blest, adjective].

 

Pop Quiz

1. The priest blessed (pronounced blest or bles-id) the candles at the ceremony.

2. The couple was blessed (pronounced blest or bles-id) with a healthy baby girl.

3. I don’t have a blessed (pronounced blest or bles-id) dime to my name.

 

Pop Quiz Answers:

1. The priest blessed (pronounced blest) the candles at the ceremony.

2. The couple was blessed (pronounced blest) with a healthy baby girl.

3. I don’t have a blessed (pronounced bles-id) dime to my name.

 

Posted on Saturday, August 11, 2012, at 2:28 pm

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62 Comments on Pronouncing the Word Blessed

62 responses to “Pronouncing the Word Blessed

  1. Carol R. says:

    Can you give me the words “blessed” and “blest” in a sentence? I know one is a verb and one is an adjective. If one were to say “I have been blest,” would that be correct? Can you use “blest” without the “have been” (such as “I was blest”)?

    • Pronouncing the word blessed was the topic of our weekly e-newsletter on August 14, 2012 (shown above), which should answer your questions. Here is the link for your reference: Pronouncing the Word Blessed. Although we didn’t cover it in the newsletter, when the word is used as a verb (as in Rule 1), it may also be spelled blest.

  2. Jenn H. says:

    So is the spelling “blest” grammatically correct?

  3. Lee Anne Bean says:

    Excellent and quick information

  4. Jeanie says:

    My mother and I both write poems. We need to know how to spell Bless’ed, so that people will pronounce it that way and not blest.
    Can you tell me how to spell Bless’ed or Bless’id in poems and prayers, etc?
    And is it ok to put the ‘ in the word like I did above?
    Thank you for your help,
    Jeanie

    • Writing the word blessed with an apostrophe and a capital letter is not what we consider grammatically correct. As we imply in the blog, readers need to recognize that when used as an adjective, adverb, or noun, the word should be pronounced bles-id, while the verb is pronounced blest.
      Creative writing and poetry do not always follow strict rules of grammar. Even if you spell the word bless’ed, it is possible that readers still might pronounce it blest. Writing bless’id looks like a misspelled word.

    • Jack says:

      Use alt-138 to get the ascii special character:

      blessèd

      If you read John Barth you’ll see he uses it frequently.

      Hope this helps.

  5. Matt says:

    I’ve often seen poetry in which words are split out using a hyphen to indicate a new syllable. In your example, this might mean writing “blessed” like this: “bless – ed”.

    It might stand out and disrupt the flow of the rest of the verses if you didn’t apply this rule to other words, too.

  6. Cari Apostol says:

    So it is a noun, adjective or verb when used in Matthew 5:3-11? I’ve heard it both ways. I want to say Blest…but I know most would say Blessed.

  7. IWANGER TITUS says:

    In this prayer that says “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you, blessed are you amongs’t women and blessed is the fruit of your womb Jesus.”
    How can the first and second blessed be pronounced?

  8. Jane says:

    Has the word blessed ever been used as a noun, meaning “blessed one”? As in, “She was his blessed” (bless-id pronunciation).

    • The only reference we could find for blessed as a noun is the term “the Blessed.” According to Collins Dictionary it is a Christian term meaning “those dead whose souls are in heaven.” Oxford Dictionary defines the term as “those who live with God in heaven.”

  9. Claudia Iuele says:

    I’m one of the readers at the 8am Mass. I’ve noticed that on the responsorial 3rd paragraph of the Fourth Sunday of Easter, it starts with Blessed in the name of the Lord, I am a bit confused whether the word is pronounced Ble sse d or one word Blessed please help. Thank you

    • The Catholic members of our staff are familiar with “Blessed (bles-id) be the name of the Lord.”

      • Laurie says:

        That one actually should be used as a verb, because when it says “blessed in the name of Lord” the meaning that is implied is “[you are] blessed in the name of the Lord” or “[they are] blessed in the name of the Lord.” So seeing as it is used as a verb, it would be pronounced “blest” instead of “bles-id.”

        • Since Claudia luele specifically mentioned the word mass, we interpreted the sentence in her question to be the one used in the Catholic church. In the sentence “Blessed be the name of the Lord,” it is pronounced bles-id. In the sentence “[You are] blessed in the name of the Lord,” you could pronounce it blest.

  10. Barbara Bartels says:

    I have moved from New England to the South where I am often told “Have a blessed day.” It is pronounced 1 syllable “blest.” Is there a regional exception here? A colloquialism? I have not heard this phrase with blessed as 2 syllables.

  11. Lauren says:

    How would you pronounce blessed in the following verses: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” and “Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.” Luke 1:42,45

  12. Mackenzie says:

    Why is “blessed” in “blessed are the poor” necessarily an adjective? Is it just that we know based on the original Greek word having been an adjective? It could also be a passive-voice verb. “Blessed are the poor (by God), for they will…”

  13. Judy in Ocala says:

    In hymnals, the two-syllable pronunciation is rendered as “blessèd” (with a grave accent over the second e). Ex: “Blessèd Assurance, Jesus is mine.” You could use that in your poetry.

  14. Barbara says:

    Thank you. I have been befuddled at times. You have clarified for me. I am blessed. Have a blessed day!

  15. Kim Moyer says:

    I have a Hispanic co-worker whose email signature contains the sentence:

    Have a bless day.

    I want to advise him but wanted to clarify that it should in fact be blessed or blest, right? I think that his translation may be incorrect but would like to confirm this.

  16. Grace says:

    For the prayer “Magnificat” there is a part that goes, ” From now on, all generations will call me blessed.”
    I pronounce it in 2 syllables (bless-id). Am I right?

    • According to the book The Sacramental Church: The Story of Anglo-Catholocism by John F. Nash, pronunciation and associated understanding of “blessed” in that prayer is left to individual preference.

    • Laurie says:

      Grace (July 4, 2016 4:00 pm), the pronunciation of blessed in that passage should be “blest” when it says, “…all generations shall call me blessed.” In that one, it is being implied that he is being blessed, so that’s why they will call him “blessed.” He isn’t saying that it would be his name, as a noun, but is implying that everyone will say that he is blessed by the Lord. So it is a verb, because he is saying that the Lord is blessing him so everyone will say he is being blessed by him. It is one of the things that is spoken of in the Bible too. In Malachi 3:12 and Psalm 72:17 it also uses this term and has an explanation for why that person will be called blessed by all nations from then on. And in those meanings, it is also implied that the Lord is blessing them.

  17. Toni Garrett says:

    In Matthew 5:3-7 it seems to me that blessed is an active verb. As in blessed are the poor. They are being blessed by the Lord which seems to me to be a verb. Is there anyone else who agrees with this?

  18. Stacy says:

    If I were to write. I have been…. Would it be blessed or blest?

  19. charmaine alam says:

    when you post and state “feeling blessed…how this one could be read (blest or bless ed) need your reply please

  20. pat walker says:

    Thank you for explaining this to me..people say that I am crazy for using the word blest,that I was making that word up

  21. Aries says:

    A bit confusd on the pronunciation of the 3 words blessed below, how to pronounce them correctly?
    You are blessed, O God of our fathers; blessed too, is your name forever and ever. Let the heaven blessed you and all things you have made for evermore…

    Thanks a lot.

    • You are blessed (blest), O God of our fathers; blessed (bles-id) too is your name forever and ever. The last sentence should read, “Let the heaven bless you and all things you have made for evermore … “

  22. Ash Charlton says:

    I have to admit that if it looks like the pronunciation is in any doubt, I make use of the ‘grave accent approach’ as seen in hymnals and poetry books, where correct pronunciation is vital: blessèd, agèd etc.

  23. Linda says:

    We have created a yard sign. Is this phrase correct. O bless-id Jesus, the way the Southerns may have spoken in the days passed?

  24. Vincent Debrah says:

    1. A blessed (blest or bles-id) family.
    2. A blessed (blest or bles-id) congregation.
    3. Higher Grounds Family Church – Blessed(blest or bles-id) Temple.
    It seems to me that either of the pronunciations fits in any of the sentences.

  25. Tolu says:

    Please can the word Blessed (bles-sid) be used as a name of a person, i. e noun?

  26. Michele Wild says:

    I’ve been asked to read part of chapter 8 from the book of Tobit at a wedding ceremony. I was confused about the pronunciation of the word blessed which occurs twice in verse 5.
    I have listened to these verses being read by others (online) and heard various combinations of the possible pronunciation. It was such a relief to find your website and a previous query on the same topic. Thank you.

  27. Leviathan says:

    Thank you! We were not sure of the difference and wanted to know. This really helped.

  28. Mary Schmid says:

    I have read every comment regarding blessed and blest and the 3 rules. Why can’t they just spell it blessed if they want it pronounced blessed and blest if they want it pronounced blest?
    Our Deacon read Luke 6:17,20-26 on Sunday in which it says “Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours,” “Blessed are you who are now hungry” etc., “Blessed are you who are now weeping” etc., “Blessed are you when people hate you” etc., and each time he used blest. Then we sang a song, “O How Blessed” (the Beatitudes), where each verse begins with “O how blessed” etc. and the pianist sang blest! Why can’t they use blessed when they want blessed and blest when they want blest?

  29. Nuella Luther says:

    “Hail, Mary, blest are you among women.” I believe that Mary was chosen by God to be the mother of Christ. But when I am writing my thoughts on the matter, the word blessed seems to hold a deeper meaning, which I don’t think is there. The Sermon on the Mount “Blessed” are the poor, etc. Can you help me before I make a complete fool of myself?

    • Both blessed and blest share the same meaning, but as we noted in our December 27, 2016, response to pat walker, the spelling blest is now considered archaic. Blessed is currently the preferred and more common spelling. You can pronounce blessed as either one syllable or two depending on the effect or emphasis you wish to achieve. Perhaps this gives more gravity to some of the expressions that feel more solemn to you.

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