There seems to be some confusion about how the 'were-' stem is pronounced. Traditionally it was pronounced with a long e, as in 'weird', and Larousse lists that along with 'wur-', as in 'world'.
Merriam-Webster lists a third pronunciation, with a long a, which makes little sense etymologically, but is now frequently heard, and maybe more dominant in the US than elsewhere. Does anyone know when this pronunciation first appeared?
- I looked it up. It was first listed in Webster 3, sometime in the '60s. Teh Rote 03:36, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
- I wonder whether the word was used in the 1948 film Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein. I can't recall whether the lycanthropic character is called a werwolf in that film or just a "wolf man". If the word is used in that film, it might set the date back further. I know the "long-a" pronunciation was a common one by the early seventies, or else the joke in Young Frankenstein wouldn't have worked: "Werewolf?" "There wolf." --EncycloPetey 03:45, 10 June 2009 (UTC)