The Greek Letter Omicron

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How do we correctly pronounce the Greek letter Omicron?

The Greek alphabet names each of the letters in the alphabet (alpha, beta, gamma …), unlike the English language which has no naming (a, b, c…) for the letters. Thus the Greek alphabet is used often in naming things of sequence, from seasonal hurricane names to current Covid-19 variants of interest.

The World Health Organization (WHO) caused a stir recently by seemingly jumping the Covid-19 Variants of Concern (VoC) naming from Delta (4th letter) to Omicron (15th letter). At the same time, there is confusion as  people have difficulty with the pronunciation of “omicron”. Is it o-my-cron or o-me-cron?

Omicron – (uppercase Ο, lowercase ο, όμικρον) is the 15th letter of the alphabet, pronounced as o-me-cron O. Omicron is the smaller letter and the word literally means “little O” (o mikron) as opposed to “great O” (ō mega) uppercase Ω, lowercase ω, which is the 24th letter of the alphabet. Both letters have the same pronunciation as “o, oh”.

Image source & additional information from WHO Tracking SARS-CoV-2 variants  

Watch the funny video on the subject by Angelo Tsarouchas