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“Skein” or “skein?”

How do you pronounce “skein?”

I’ve always pronounced it “skeen.”  I have no idea why.  If you think about the “i before e” rule*, then I should have pronounced it “skane.”

According to Merriam-Webster, you pronounce it \’skān\ (“skane,” to those of us not fluent in linguistics).

Maybe you pronounce skein completely differently, and if so, let us know in the comments!

*(I before E except after C, or when sounded like A as in neighbor or weigh)

Image: Make hay while the sun shines, merino/cashmere fingering weight yarn, by Skein Yarns

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Kekumukula September 29, 2010, 3:16 PM

    "Skane" for me :O).

  • Orion Designs September 29, 2010, 3:54 PM

    I've always said 'skane', mostly because that's how the owner of my local yarn store says it.

  • Riin September 30, 2010, 2:12 AM

    I've always said "skane". That was the only way I ever heard it pronounced until I was in my late 20's, when I heard a woman from another part of the country say "skeen". I figured it was just a regional difference. I've since heard locals say "skeen" but only people who don't know anything about yarn.

  • Brenda September 30, 2010, 3:34 PM

    So interesting! I grew up hearing "skeen" and still hear "skeen" amongst many knitting friends. I've been trying to reteach myself to say "skane" for the last few years … I'll continue my efforts!

  • Summer October 3, 2010, 5:05 AM

    I think that the "I before E" rule has recently been demoted as there are too many exceptions…can't remember where I heard it, but it was within the last couple of months I think. 🙂 Haha…I'm a bit random…and I don't know how the heck I've pronounced it skein! 😀

  • Sharon October 5, 2010, 4:57 PM

    I'm with Websters and have always pronounced the word skein as"skane" to rhyme with a fisherman's seine "sane" (not like the river Seine in France which sounds like it rhymes with "when".)

    Sometimes, I accidentally drop a skein and it gets tangled like a seine.

    As a former English teacher, I remember having many smart Japanese students find exceptions to the "i before e" rule and ask me why there were some exceptions. That led to a lecture on the eclectic development of the English language and why it is such a soup of contradictions.

  • Brenda October 6, 2010, 3:15 AM

    You have led such an interesting life, Sharon! 😀

  • Sharon October 10, 2010, 2:34 AM

    Yes, Brenda, I've had a real variety of jobs. Hated all of them until I started teaching, which I loved. I taught college for 12 years before reaching burn out after my vocal cords were damaged by a virus. They are better now, but don't rely on me to yell for the waiter.

    I should someday write a blog post about all the jobs I've had that now help me in my business. Lots of serendipity!

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