Even Merriam-Webster has weighed in.
Sym-BYE-ote, or sym-BEE-ote? That seems to be the big question coming out of the first full Venom trailer. Instead of debating about the likelihood of Carnage ending up in the movie or Venom’s potential connection to Spider-Man, it’s Jenny Slate’s character who has been sparking the most discussion because of her pronunciation of “symbiote” — well, at least after people finished talking about that Venom reveal.
In the trailer, Slate repeatedly pronounces the word as “sym-BYE-ote” instead of “sym-BEE-ote,” which has driven such a spike in proper pronunciation search traffic that Merriam-Webster officially responded to the debate.
According to the dictionary’s Twitter account, lookups for “symbiote pronunciation” jumped 35,700% since the trailer dropped. Merriam-Webster didn’t exactly settle the debate, though, simply saying, “SIM-bye-oht is accepted, but you’re free to pretend it’s just an Earth-616 thing.” This perceived mispronunciation especially rankled some of our staff, as you can see in this reactions video below:
Is this all a whole hullabaloo about nothing? Probably, but it’s likely really bothering a lot of Venom fans because the ’90s Spider-Man cartoon repeatedly pronounced the word “sym-BEE-ote,” as you can see in the clip below at the 1:09 mark:
This whole confusion has caused a whole lot of people to take to Twitter to debate what the actual pronunciation is. So if that line delivery got under your skin, at least you know you’re not alone:
I can’t stop thinking about how they pronounced ‘Symbiote’ in the Venom trailer. SYM-BYE-OTE.
— Alanah Pearce (@Charalanahzard) April 24, 2018
So venom itself looks cool in this trailer but I am shook by how they are pronouncing the word “symbiote” in this movie https://t.co/0UF5aMIbnw
— Barrett Courtney (@SadBoyBarrett) April 24, 2018
Things I learned from the new Venom trailer: I’ve been mispronouncing symbiote my entire life. Things I learned after watching the Venom trailer: Actually, no, I’ve been saying it correctly. It’s been a roller coaster of a morning. — Walt Williams (@waltdwilliams) April 24, 2018
Sorry, couldn’t finish the #Venom trailer because Jenny Slate’s pronunciation of symbiote as “Sim-Bye-Oat” is apparently my personal hell.
— Donna Dickens (@MildlyAmused) April 24, 2018
Though the dictionary says both pronunciations are equally accepted, clearly Venom fans have had their say.
For more on Venom, make sure to check out our full trailer breakdown, as well as how Venom is drawing inspiration from the comics. And if all this trailer talk got you excited to watch it again, check out our latest look at Venom below:
Starring Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed and Jenny Slate, Venom hits theaters on October 5th.
Terri Schwartz is Editorial Manager of Entertainment at IGN. Talk to her on Twitter at @Terri_Schwartz.