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Why do the English pronounce a 'eff' sound in this word. I don't disagree with this pronounciation, just wondering about the etymology of it.

The British have pronounced "lefténant" for almost 700 years. The reason is not known. —Stephen 00:46, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Yes, there are a couple of theories. One idea was that the U was sometimes read as a V, but this is not very likely. Probably the "w"-sound in French was from early times sometimes interpreted in English as a v/f. The OED notes the existence of, for example, luef as a variant of lieu even in Old French. Widsith 00:49, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Possibly a folk-etymological association with left, in the sense that the lieutenant would often be standing next (right or left) to the captain? (Compare also German Leutnant, which was folk-etymologically associated with Leute "people, men".) Kolmiel (talk) 17:30, 8 September 2016 (UTC)
IS it right that the first British pronunciation is for the military and the second one for the navy? Ferike333 20:17, 23 January 2010 (UTC)